Dominica Offshore Bank Account

dominica offshore banking

Learn about the Dominica banking system and Dominica offshore bank accounts. We have provided details on the laws and regulations that govern Dominica offshore banking, as well as on the government supervision and regulation of the financial sector.

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The Dominica Banking System

The financial sector in Dominica consists of three foreign commercial banks, Royal Bank of Nova Scotia, Royal Bank of Canada, First Caribbean International Bank, and one publicly owned national bank, the National Bank of Dominica, and several Dominica offshore banks.

Dominica is one of nine members of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB). Its conservative policy of building up exchange cover for the Eastern Caribbean dollar to a much greater extent than required by its basic Agreement has led to monetary stability for member countries and made the EC dollar one of the strongest currencies in the region.

Onshore and Offshore Banking

An unusual feature of Dominica’s banking structure is that an applicant may obtain both an onshore and offshore license but must operate and report on them separately. In addition, an offshore bank can provide loan financing to local entrepreneurs for earmarked projects approved on a case-by-case basis with the Ministry of Finance, Industry and Planning. Under the Offshore Banking Act of 1996 amended in 1997, offshore licensees are limited to conducting banking business exclusively in currencies other than East Caribbean dollars. Licensees are exempt from all taxes and duties connected with their offshore banking business in Dominica. Trust companies formed under the act are exempt from Dominican taxation on offshore trust business carried on from within Dominica.

Minimum required paid-up capital for an offshore bank is $1,000,000 or its equivalent in convertible currency or in readily negotiable instruments, while for an onshore bank regulated by the Banking Act of 1991, it is 5,000,000 East Caribbean dollars ($1,850,000). Trust companies licensed under the Act are either a company incorporated by special Act or a company registered under the Companies Ordinance having share capital of $250,000, of which $125,000 has been paid up in cash. Annual license fees are as follows: offshore banking license, $48,000; onshore/offshore banking, $20,000; general trust, $4,000; and restricted trust, $100. In the year of incorporation, the annual license is charged on a prorated basis depending upon the month in which the license is issued.

Government Supervision and Regulation of the Financial Sector

The Government has considerable power to intervene in a licensee’s affairs. Regulation and supervision of financial institutions is carried out by:

  1. The Minister of Finance, who after obtaining a Court order, has the right to initiate examination of a licensee (sometimes at the licensee’s expense) to determine whether the institution is financially sound and complying with the Act. A Magistrate may grant a search warrant authorizing inspection of the company’s premises, vehicles, vessels and aircraft and may authorize seizure of records, cash and securities.
  2. The Financial Secretary, who is empowered to examine all of a licensee’s records, cash and securities. Should he suspect criminal activity, upon an order of the Magistrate he may obtain the name and title of a depositor or settlor’s account, name and title of a trust, and other necessary information. An individual who fails to comply with Government requests is subject to a $5,000 fine and six months imprisonment.
  3. The Attorney General, if suspicious that an offense against the act has been or is being committed, may take action to preserve assets of trust beneficiaries, depositors, or creditors. Should the Attorney General be asked for information or assistance in connection mutual assistance or criminal matters, the Attorney General has the right to give a licensee notice to furnish the information by a stated time.

Audited financial statements, either composed in English or accompanied by a certified translation, must be submitted to the Financial Secretary and published in the Dominica Official Gazette. Quarterly reports of assets and liabilities meeting similar language requirements must also be filed with the Financial Secretary.

Banking Institutions Operating


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