All companies require a bank account but opening accounts is becoming increasingly difficult due to international transparency and anti-money laundering initiatives. Many banks will no longer open accounts for non-resident companies. Others will only open accounts for companies that have been introduced by a recognised and licensed service provider that is on their ‘approved list’.
All banks now undertake increased due diligence – not just when opening accounts but also on a transactional basis. Account opening procedures differ widely between banks, sometimes even between different branches of the same bank. Applications can be complicated and documents often have to be certified or notarised and translated.
Cyprus has a sophisticated and advanced financial services sector, which is fully harmonised with EU legislation and Directives. Banking is the largest component of the sector. Commercial banking arrangements and practices follow the UK model and there are currently over 40 Cypriot and international banks operating in Cyprus. All banks maintain correspondent networks around the world and carry out both traditional and specialised financial transactions.
The Central Bank of Cyprus, which follows the Basel Committee and European Union banking regulation directives, is the supervising authority in Cyprus. Cyprus’ banking and financial services sector legislation is in line with international best practices and is fully compliant with EU, OECD, FATF, FSF and MONEYVAL standards.
Sovereign Trust (Cyprus) has longstanding relationships with many banks in Cyprus and around the world and it is strongly recommended that we assist with bank introductions and the preparation and submission of the necessary documentation. Clients are, of course, free to choose their own banks but generally an account can be opened more quickly and on better terms at banks known to, and recommended by, Sovereign.