Antigua & Barbuda Offshore Bank Account

antigua offshore banking

The information below provides details about the Antigua banking system, and details on opening an Antigua offshore bank account. You will find details on the laws and regulations that govern the banking system, as well as a list of local and international banks that operate in Antigua and Barbuda.


The Antigua Banking System

The Financial Services Sector in Antigua and Barbuda is relatively small. The Sector offers service in international banking, trust and insurance in addition to the incorporation of ordinary international business corporations (IBC’s).

The Financial Services Sector is supervised and regulated by the International Financial Sector Regulatory Authority (“The Authority”). The Authority was established as a body corporate under the International Business Corporation (Amendment) Act 1998. Its composition was changed in 1999. The Authority is now managed by four Directors with the Solicitor-General serving as the chairman of the Authority.

The main objectives of the Authority are:

  1. To maintain a well regulated Financial Services Sector and to ensure that investors are protected against fraud and mismanagement of their financial resources;
  2. To ensure that the Financial Services Sector is not used by white-collar criminals such as money launderers;
  3. To cooperate with Regulatory Authorities in other jurisdictions in assisting such authorities to exercise their regulatory functions.

The duties of the Authority include administration of the International Business Corporations Act including the issuing of certificates of incorporation for international business corporations, licensing of corporations to conduct international banking, trust and insurance business and regulation of all entities incorporated and licensed under the Act. The Authority is also responsible for recommending regulations to be made to give effect to the better administration of the Act.

Offshore Banks in Antigua and Barbuda

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has implemented numerous policies and safeguards to properly regulate the Offshore Banking Industry. International concerns about Money-Laundering and other illegal financial activities have promoted the Government to review, and revise the existing laws that apply to offshore Banking. As a result, there have been recent amendments to the International Business Corporation Act and the Money-Laundering (Prevention) Act. The Government’s objective is to ensure that the country’s reputation, within the International financial services community, is not tarnished or compromised.

There are some of the provisions of these Acts which are primarily intended to create, within Antigua and Barbuda, a stable and safe operating environment for Offshore Banks:

  • All Offshore Banking affairs are subject to annual examination by designated Government Examiners.
  • Detailed customer and transaction records must be kept by all Offshore Banks.
  • An “equity to assets ratio” of at least 5% must be maintained by Banks.
  • Changes in the ownership and Board of Directors of Banks will require the prior approval of the Authority.
  • Banks are prohibited from accepting bearer negotiable instruments.
  • Banks are prohibited from receiving or transmitting funds for persons who are not customers or account holders.
  • Each Bank must appoint a Compliance Officer who is responsible for ensuring the Bank’s compliance with applicable laws.
  • A Money Laundering Supervisor has been appointed by Government and given the authority to freeze funds, derived from Money Laundering for up to 4 days with a Court Order.
  • The assets of any person convicted of money laundering can be forfeited.
  • Courts in Antigua and Barbuda are authorized to co-operate with other States in identifying, tracing, freezing or forfeiting property.

The establishment, licensing and activities of offshore Banks are governed by the provisions of the International Business Corporations Act.
Any International Business Corporation (IBC) may apply to the International Financial Sector Regulatory Authority for a license to carry on International (or “Offshore”) Banking. Under the IBC Act, the Supervisor of International Banks is responsible for the issuance of Banking Licenses.

There is a statutory requirement that Offshore Banks must maintain a minimum capital of US$5 million. Of this amount, US$1.5 million must be deposited and kept in a bank licensed to do business in Antigua and Barbuda.

As a condition of its license, an offshore bank is required to submit financial returns to the Supervisor of banks every three (3) months. An audited financial statement must be filed annually, together with a certificate verifying current owners, directors and officers of the Bank.

The Government has endeavored to balance the need for customer confidentiality against its desire to adequately regulate the offshore banking industry. As a result, the law expressly prohibits unauthorized disclosure of certain information relating to the Bank’s operations and violators can be fined and/or imprisoned.

Statutory Requirements:

  • At least one of the directors of an Offshore Bank must be a citizen of, and resident in, Antigua and Barbuda. Corporate directors are not allowed; all directors must be natural person.
  • An applicant for an Offshore Banking License must submit pertinent biographical information on each proposed directors, shareholders (with more than 5% share-holding) and officers of the Bank. Generally, information is required on the business background of these persons.
  • A Banking License can, generally, be issued within four (4) weeks of submission of completed application documents.

Confidentiality Provisions

The IBC Act provides criminal penalties for any disclosure of the business affairs of customers regarding banking or trust matters. The only exception for the disclosure of information relates to sound evidence regarding an alleged criminal offence that is triable in Antigua (or which would have been triable, if it has been committed in Antigua).

Financial Institutions Operating – The main banks are as follows:

  • ABI BANK LTD.
  • ANTIGUA COMMERCIAL BANK
  • ANTIGUA OVERSEAS BANK LTD
  • BANK OF ANTIGUA LIMITED
  • SCOTIA BANK ANTIWUA AND BARBUDA
  • BOI BANK CORPORATION
  • BRS BANQUE S.A.
  • CARIBBEAN UNION BANK LTD
  • DAVOS INTERNATIONAL BANK, LTD.
  • EASTERN CARIBBEAN AMALGAMATED BANK LTD. (ECAB)
  • FIRSTCARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL BANK
  • GLOBAL BANK OF COMMERCE, LTD.
  • RBTT BANK CARRIBEAN LIMITED
  • ROYAL BANK OF CANADA