The right to privacy when doing business!
Everyone has the right to a degree of privacy when conducting their business affairs. Every entrepreneur will have different views when it comes to this subject. Maybe there has been a ‘fall out’ or a ‘disagreement’ with other shareholder or Directors in their past affairs, or simply they want to keep their assets private from competitors. There is nothing wrong or illegal with wanting a degree of privacy.
Many clients who are looking to form an offshore company are wanting just that – to protect their privacy. Some jurisdictions like the UAE, Belize, The Seychelles and the British Virgin Islands all operate a ‘closed registry’ meaning that there is no public information available in order to see who is the Director(s), and Shareholder(s) of an offshore company. The ultimate beneficial owners of the company are also kept private.
Think of this like owning a car. Some people want to show their wealth off to the world and have no issue in owning high value personalised number plates showing their initials. Others would rather keep things private. It is the same when conducting their international business affairs.
In all walks of life, especially in business, their comes a time when the inevitable happens – the fall out, the litigation, the jealous ex business partner who holds a long-lasting grudge. Even families can fall out in business.
The offshore industry can provide anonymity; however you will need to work with an experienced professional to guide you to the right jurisdiction. Hong Kong, Malta, the Isle of Man all have public company registers where individuals and companies can be looked up to see who the owners are. So, any offshore company formation agents out there who guide you to these jurisdictions when requiring a degree of privacy are not doing there job properly.
Another layer of privacy and protection is the use of nominee shareholders. This usually involves an offshore company acting as a shareholder on paper only. The nominee shareholder then issues a document called the ‘declaration or trust deed’. This document states that the shares held by the nominee shareholder are held ‘in trust’ for the beneficial owner. The beneficial owner or UBO as we call it in the industry must be an individual and not a corporate entity. If clients are wanting this structure, then they must ensure that the necessary paperwork is legal and correctly put together.
So, if you are wanting to conduct your business affairs in a private manor then I would recommend creating an offshore company which operates a reputable private offshore bank and keep your assets safe.