Can Americans Still Open a Bank Account in Singapore?
I land in Changi Airport and a breeze through securities and customs, I catch a Mercedes cab and tell the driver Orchard road. We have a pleasant talk in English (a rarity for cabs in Asia, save for the Philippines) and I arrive at my first destination: the bank.
I had a meeting lined up with a banker to discuss online banking solutions for our international business companies (IBC) offering. I was there to see if they would be willing to put a toxic asset on his balance sheet. The toxic asset being, an American.
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or “FATCA” which forces banks around the globe to report to the IRS on Americans, effectively spying on their own customers, sometimes contrary to local laws, all at the banks own cost.
FATCA forces many banks or FFI’s to step up and meet the additional reporting requirements, or else have 30% of any US transactions withheld. The other alternative is to stop dealing with American citizens altogether, and many bankers have simply said thanks, but no thanks to Yankee clients altogether.
This meeting went quite well, and some Singapore banks, are willing to work with Americans through a corporate entity in Singapore, and other select jurisdictions.
You would need to present paperwork assuring that you are the rightful beneficial owner of the company with signatory authority.
A certificate of incumbency, apostilled should do the trick as well as a certificate of good standing also apostilled. This is of course in addition to the usual requirement as well as satisfy the banks normal KYC and AML requirements.
You can get a Singaporean bank account with a BVI company… even if you are an American, for now. Contact me for more details, and to plant an important flag in Singapore, your banking flag of Flag Theory.
Welcome to Singapore, the Switzerland of South East Asia.
Singapore’s got wealth. In fact, more billionaires reside in Singapore than anywhere else in the world. Furthermore, if you stop a stranger on the street, there’s a one in 6 chance they are at least a millionaire, as a full 15.9% of the population has over 7 figures in net worth.
Walking around the city, you’ll see neatly dressed professionals heading to or from work. You’d be hard pressed to find a vagrant, graffiti or any sort of public nuisance whatsoever.
Despite being one of the most densely populated area’s on the planet, the city doesn’t feel crowded. It’s defiantly not as impressive as say New York, or Bangkok or Hong Kong, but Singapore is fastidiously opulent. Like an expensive living room you never visit, filled with imported furniture you’ve never sat on – Singapore is neat.
Singapore is a place that feels like it doesn’t need more money. A place where I feel very comfortable banking, investing, and doing business.
As far as a living or playgrounds flag, Singapore has a very high quality of life. Around riverfront area of Clarke quay, you’ll find beautiful people out to for dinner or drinks, even on a Wednesday Night.
Overall, the city has a categorically college feel, and reminded me of Cambridge Massachusetts mixed with Geneva Switzerland. Full of potential and higher level thinking, a place that is consciously advancing, and a haven where money can rest safe.
Getting around the small island city state is a breeze. The roads are empty, so cabs take almost no time at all. Furthermore, the city has tolls which actually increase in cost when there is traffic, in an attempt to convince drivers to take another route.
The train system is not a bad way to get around either, and that’s what most Singaporeans use, because taxes on cars are ridiculously high. Otherwise taxes are quite low. Personal income tax is clear – easy to comprehend and is a progressive tax system, with taxes ranging from 0% to 20% which even by PT standards, is really quite low.
It’s very easy to bring money in and out of the country, and there are no exchange controls. You do have to declare any gold you bring in or out, but you are granted a leniency of S$20000 for personal cash.
On the streets, You’ll see only commercial trucks, taxis and luxury sedans and SUV’s, save for the decently commonplace Lamborghini or Ferrari. Although there is a fair share of super cars, most people seem content to walk or take the subways.
If you do have to take the subway, which is a super easy way to get around, you’ll be shocked at the cleanliness, efficiency, and abundance of LCD monitors guiding you easily to your destination. Clear plexiglass doors separate the platform from the track, keeping the herd back and instructing them to ”please mind the gap between the train and platform” in the four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.
Practically everywhere you go in Singapore, you’re reminded that this is a very international city. The culture is a blend of Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and insistently British western influence. You can witness the cultural melting pot in every part of Singapore: In the architecture, the food, the people. But its not like Singapore is trying to find their voice – it seems they know very well who they are, and what their purpose is: Business.
As far as a company or legal entity flag, Singapore companies are some of the most reputable in the world – and they function amazing well as both onshore and offshore tax vehicles.
Truly, if you are looking to start a company, or expand your company you can’t go wrong by choosing Singapore. The Government runs a tight ship, and they do a great job of being clear in compliance requirements and regulation – without creating bothersome red tape.
The country of Singapore is quite inviting to foreigners who can contribute to Singaporean society meaningfully through entrepreneurship, and has made it easy for foreigners to form a Singapore company.
A Singapore company, most commonly a Singapore Private Limited company, (Pte. Ltd.) requires any foreigner to have a resident director. This person can be a Singaporean citizen or permanent resident. There is also a need for a registered office and secretary in Singapore. We can arrange all of these services.
Another highly attractive aspect of starting a company in Singapore is the friendly atmosphere towards residency and immigration.
The short of it is that you can receive immediate residency in Singapore by applying for an ‘employee pass’ and running your own company. You can even achieve a very quick citizenship and passport by getting on a fast track program, also known as entrepass.
This program, which encourages entrepreneurs to come live in the country, expects that you an appropriate amount of time living in Singapore in exchange for citizenship and a passport. Learn more about the Singapore Passport Process.