Learn about the banking conditions and regulations which affect a Turks and Caicos bank account and account opening. We provide all the necessary details on the laws which govern the banking system, as well as a list of Turks and Caicos banks which are currently operating.
As of beginning of 2005, the Turks and Caicos financial sector has six banks (five of which also deal with onshore clientele), approximately 3,000 insurance companies, 1,000 trusts, and 14,000 “exempt companies” that are IBCs. The Financial Services Commission (FSC) licenses and supervises banks, trusts, insurance companies, and company managers; it also licenses IBCs and acts as the Company Registry for the Turks and Caicos Islands. There is no central bank in Turks and Caicos as such. The Financial Services Commission employs a staff of 14 and conducts limited on-site inspections. The FSC became a statutory body under the Financial Services Commission Ordinance 2001 and became operational in March 2002, and now reports directly to the Governor.
The financial system is largely based around two groups, those who primarily reside and/or carry on business in Turks and Caicos and those who live out of the jurisdiction, but who partake in the asset protection mechanisms available in the jurisdiction. This distinction is recognized by the two types of Banking License available in the Ordinance, “A National Banking License” for banking business from within the Islands with people resident within the Islands and “An Overseas Banking License” which permits banking within the Islands, but not with persons resident within the Islands. However, the same institution is permitted to hold both licenses, provided the different businesses have separate accounting arrangements or they are conducted through separate branches.
In January 2004, the government agreed to implement the EU’s Savings Tax Directive, subject to the creation of a level playing field on the issue for all offshore and onshore jurisdictions.
Banking confidentiality and secrecy are governed by the Confidential Relationships Ordinance 1979 which provides for penalties and terms of imprisonment for professionals, including government officials, who make unauthorized disclosure of confidential information. The Companies Ordinance 1981 contains similar provisions in relation to exempted companies. Additionally the common law also imposes civil liability for breaches of professional privilege.
The duty to maintain confidentiality does not apply where it conflicts with the provisions of the Mutual Legal Assistance (USA) Ordinance 1991 which was passed to give effect to the treaty made between the United States and the United Kingdom to give assistance in criminal matters. However, this treaty does not extend to fiscal crime; the Islands have not entered into any double taxation treaties and there is therefore no scope for the local authorities to co-operate with requests by foreign investigators for assistance in investigating tax evasion.
Financial Institutions Operating
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