The information below provides details about the Guernsey banking system, and details on opening a Guernsey offshore bank account. See all the details on the laws and banking regulations, as well as a list of operating banks in Guernsey.
Banks have played a key role in the development of Guernsey as an international financial center. The first merchant bank was established in Guernsey in 1963 and today there are around 55 licensed banks in the island with deposits of around GBP70 billion. They represent a range of countries with concentrations of banks with head offices in the UK and Switzerland. Other banks are from Bahrain, Bermuda, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, South Africa, Qatar and the USA.
Thirty-six per cent of deposits are in sterling, and most banks offer foreign currency deposits. The most recent growth in the deposit base of Guernsey banks has been in foreign currency. In fact, over 35% of currency deposits held by Guernsey banks are US dollar deposits and the euro makes up about 23% of deposits.
The range of services offered by banks in Guernsey is quite diverse. Some provide retail banking services essential to the local community. Others target the affluent expatriate market, primarily attracting their deposits. There are also banks offering “private banking” services attracting high net worth individuals who seek a total wealth management solution to their financial needs. Banks also support the other financial services businesses operating in Guernsey providing custody, foreign exchange and other banking services to the investment, fund administration, fiduciary and insurance sectors. There are also a number of European banks that specialize in providing banking services to the corporate market.
Guernsey’s global location, time zone, political stability and high traditional standards of regulation and service are deciding factors for financial institutions wishing to set up operations in offshore jurisdictions. The following institutions are licensed under Section 6 of the Banking Supervision (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 1994 to take deposits:
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