Offshore banks usually offer accounts with financial and legal advantages including greater privacy (under the Swiss Banking Act 1934); little or no taxation; easy access to deposits, and protection against local, political, or financial instability. An offshore bank is one used by a depositor not resident in the country.
Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg are well known offshore bank locations. While Antigua has offered international commercial banking for many years, offshore banking has only become available on Antigua since 1983, and then grew rapidly over two decades.
Offshore banking has often been associated with the underground economy, with tax evasion and money laundering part of organised crime. Since the early 2000s, the Antiguan government has been working in co-operation with the private sector to improve the state’s offshore company and banking environment. This has included the introduction of new foreign residency, trust, and partnership legislation, including the International Banking Act 2016, that requires all offshore international banks to pay corporate income tax.
In March 2017, the Global Financial Centres Index listed eleven offshore international banks on Antigua and Barbuda, with total assets reported to be just under USD2 billion.
Antigua and Barbuda offshore international banks:
- BOI Bank Corporation: provides personal and corporate banking.
- Davos International Bank: offers banking services for institutions, corporations and individuals, as well as portfolio management.
- Global Bank of Commerce Ltd: founded in April 1983, the bank is the oldest institution on the island offering international financial services and financial services to international clients.
- Meinl bank (Antigua) Ltd: the Financial Services Regulatory Commission currently controls this bank due to alleged involvement in corruption scandal in Brazil.
- North International Bank: International financial and banking services.
- Trium Bank and Trust Ltd: Private and investment banking services.