International Bank License in St. Lucia

International Bank License in St. Lucia

08/05/2018 - 10:08 AM
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international bank license st lucia

Here is everything you need to know about forming an international bank in St. Luca. I will summarize the due diligence and capital requirements that need to be met in order to build an international bank in St. Lucia.

The top three international banking jurisdictions in 2018 are Puerto Rico, St. Lucia and Dominica. Countries like Caymans and Belize have fallen off the list because of difficulties in obtaining new licenses.

For my book on international bank licenses, see Offshore Bank License Guide, 2017 (Amazon Kindle)

For an introduction to Puerto Rico, see: Lowest Cost Offshore Bank License is Puerto Rico

The first question prospective international bank license clients ask is about capital. The minimum capital in St. Lucia is $1 million compared to Puerto Rico at $550,000. We generally recommend $5 million in capital from any offshore jurisdiction to cover the requirements of a correspondent account. In Puerto Rico we recommend $2.5 million  

The second question on international bank licenses in St. Lucia is usually about operations and employees. St. Lucia doesn’t have a minimum employee requirement. In general, you should have an office with some employees. Also, all data must be in St. Lucia and accessible to local regulators.

For your information, Puerto Rico requires a minimum of 5 employees on the island. Thus, for someone planning to operate from a foreign country, St. Lucia might have a lower operating overhead.

An International Bank License in St. Lucia is the International Banking Act. These are the official guidelines that regulate the licensing and operation of an international bank in St. Lucia. Basically, this is the bible that needs to be followed to properly maintain your bank.

Your lawyer should have the International Bank Act memorized to the point where he can recite any article verbatim. When you review the International Bank Act you will find many important key points that need to be looked at and addressed before you start operating your international bank in St. Lucia.

For example, Article 15 which mentions how audits will be performed.

“A licensee shall have its accounts audited, annually or at such other times as the Minister may require, by an auditor who shall conduct the audit in accordance with the international accounting standards.”

Your bank is subject to audits by local regulators and these may be performed at any given time without notice. It is vital to keep your affairs in order as your banking license may be revoked if you fail to comply.

Some of the actions that may cause the relevant authority to revoke your license includes:

  • Fail to comply with a request made of that person by the
    Minister or the Director.
  • Offer of any gratuity, bribe or any other inducement prevent or attempt to prevent the Minister, the Director or any officer in the Director’s department acting under the Director’s authority.
  • Carry on any banking business with a resident unless in connection with the rendering of international banking business services from Saint Lucia, or as provided in this Act or in any other law in force in Saint Lucia governing the operations and activities of the licensee.

It is also important to know that the authority regulating your bank is called a Minister and his involvement in the process is all around. A Minister is responsible for all matters involving international financial services.

Some major activities that the Minister overviews involving your international bank are:

Article 13 (1) A share in a licensee under this Act shall not be issued, and no issued shares shall be transferred or disposed of in any manner, without the prior approval of the Minister.

Article 19 Section 3 (c) the Minister may disclose to another regulatory authority outside Saint Lucia information concerning the affairs of a licensee where the disclosure pertains to actions in violation of any law or with respect to the failure of a licensee to comply with generally accepted principles relating to the international banking business.

The Minister also has the authority to:

  • Revoke the license.
  • Require the substitution of any director or officer of the licensee.
  • At the expense of the licensee, appoint a person to assume control of the licensee’s affairs who shall, with the necessary changes, have all the powers of a person appointed as a receiver or manager of a company.
  • Require such action to be taken by the licensee as the Minister considers necessary.

Other important information that you should know regarding your bank is:

Article 54 (2) A company licensed under this Act, or the dividends, royalties, interest, foreign securities, funds, gains or assets generated or managed by a licensee in the course of its international banking business, shall not be subject to the provisions of the Exchange Control Act, or to any other exchange or currency control legislation in force in Saint Lucia.

You will find all of the application forms necessary to apply for an international banking license in the document. You will also find all of the regulations you have to comply with, they may not be as excessive and controlling as in other countries but still need to be noted.

I hope you’ve found this article on the international banking license in St.Lucia to be helpful. For more information, or for assistance in starting a bank in Puerto Rico or St. Lucia, contact us at info@premieroffshore.com or call us at (619) 550-2743.

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