Introduction in Offshore
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What is an Offshore Company?
The term “offshore” was termed in the 1980’s and is used to describe a jurisdiction or country that provides corporate and commercial services to non- resident companies.
They are usually small, with financial centres hugely disproportionate to the population, and the attraction for companies and investors is the climate of low tax coupled, in many cases with privacy.
Today the most popular offshore jurisdictions include:
- British Virgin Islands – the largest number of registrations
- Bermuda - probably best known for aircraft registration.
- Cayman Islands - which has the most assets under management in offshore funds,
- Jersey - popular with the banking, fund management and professional services sectors.
- The Bahamas has a considerable number of registered vessels.
- Panama is a famous international maritime centre.
The main reasons companies choose offshore company formation include:
Many corporations include lots of individual and separate companies. It might be sensible for this type of organisation to register offshore simply as an asset holding vehicle.
Companies doing business in politically or financially unstable countries may choose to incorporate offshore to avoid risk, and protect their assets. This also applies to countries where it is not easy to get the money out, or where exchange rates might make business (and profitability) difficult to predict.
Companies involved in complicated financial dealings will also opt to register offshore for a variety of reasons, not least to keep the financial regulations simple.
Offshore jurisdictions are frequently used to set up joint venture companies where two or more organistions from different countries (with different legislations) need to set up a separate entity.
Successful companies who want to become a public company will choose the offshore company formation option to enable them to be listed on the relevant stock exchange.
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