FINANCIAL MARKET OFFSHORE LICENSING

In the financial sector, there are many different types of businesses that require a license from the financial regulator.

In the majority of cases, it is a difficult and slow process that demands much effort and time. However, by providing trustful information through our business support, that process will be easier, faster, and more efficient.

If you would like to operate in a regulated financial market, such as the banking, gaming, cryptocurrency industry, international trust, money service industry, or investment fund industry, Antigua and Barbuda will be the perfect place to make your business grow.

If you wish to have professional assistance as well as advice about regulated financial market licenses and be assisted in every step of the way, feel free to get in touch with our team.

Banking License

An international bank is a corporation established under the IBC Act and granted a license to conduct international banking business.

1. Persons desiring to carry on international banking business in Antigua and Barbuda shall apply in writing to the Commission for the granting of a licence under any of the following categories:

  1. Class I International Banking Licence;
  2. Class II International Banking Licence;
  3. Class III Composite International Banking and Trust Licence.

A licensed institution holding a Class I International Banking Licence shall maintain a minimum capital as may be determined by the Commission from time to time, but not being less than three million United States dollars in paid up capital, of which five hundred thousand United States dollars shall be deposited with the Commission or in a manner approved by the Commission on the recommendation of the appropriate official, as the case may be.

A Class II International Banking Licence permits the licensed institution to carry on international banking business for a restricted list of customers, approved by the Commission from time to time, or specified in the list issued as part of the terms upon which the licence is granted. A licensed institution holding a Class II International Banking Licence shall maintain a minimum capital as may be determined by the Commission from time to time, but not being less than five hundred thousand United States dollars in paid up capital, of which one hundred thousand United States dollars shall be deposited with the Commission or in a manner approved by the Commission on the recommendation of the appropriate official, as the case may be.

A Class III International Banking and Trust Licence permits the licensed institution to carry on international banking and trust services for an unrestricted list of customers. A licensed institution holding a Class III International Banking and Trust Licence shall maintain a minimum capital as may be determined by the Commission from time to time, but not being less than three million United States dollars in paid up capital, of which five hundred thousand United States dollars shall be deposited with the Commission or in a manner approved by the Commission on the recommendation of the appropriate official, as the case may be.

2. Any corporation in Antigua and Barbuda licensed under the IBC Act is required to maintain a physical presence. The physical presence requirement provides that licensed corporations must conform to the following minimum requirements:

  • A licensed corporation must have its own separate office large enough to comfortably accommodate a staff of at least two (2) persons, computer equipment and facilities to accommodate clients.
  • The time of the opening of the corporation may be flexible but it must open each day, Monday to Friday, for a minimum of six (6) hours per day. Opening hours should be posted outside the corporation notifying any interested person of the schedule.
  • Licensed corporations must have at least one (1) full-time employee.
  • The person mentioned above, or at least one other person employed with the corporation, must have relevant experience, that is, capable of understanding the operation of the corporation. The person must be responsible enough to recognize the process or otherwise of due diligence so as not to be unwittingly caught up in money laundering.
  • Finally, physical records are to be remitted at the latest on a monthly basis to Antigua and Barbuda and stored in a manner that can be easily reproduced. This would facilitate inspection of transactions in the event of an inquiry. In addition, the facility to avail of current information must be established.

  1. An international bank is subject to annual on-site examination to ascertain, among other things, compliance with the relevant laws, regulations and international standards; observance of Know Your Customer (KYC) standards; and maintenance of details of transactions and customers. Examiners may also investigate procedures for reporting and filing suspicious transactions with the appropriate supervisory authority under the Money Laundering (Prevention) Act 1996; the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 and the Money Laundering (Prevention) Regulations, 2007. 

For more information visit Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC)

    Cryptocurrencies & Digital Assets Business

    Antigua and Barbuda is blockchain-friendly territory and is considered a pioneering state in the field of digital assets business.

    The Digital Assets Business Bill, 2020 , which was passed by the Antigua and Barbuda House of Representatives is one of the policies that could stimulate the entry of digital asset investments into the historic island state.  The digital asset businesses’ activities would be included in the system are “issuing, selling, or redeeming virtual coins”, operating as a payment service, operating as an electronic exchange, and for providing custodian wallet services. The Bill introduces a tiered licensing system for digital asset businesses, comprehensive obligations on companies when embarking on digital asset sales, and a host of clauses fleshing out and strengthening the digital currency regulatory infrastructure in Antigua and Barbuda. With the implementation of the bill comes the authority of the Financial Services Regulation Commission (FSRC) oversight to impose the legal regulations among significant companies.

    Gaming

    The Division of Gaming is the regulatory body under the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) responsible for the oversight of all aspects of the Offshore Gaming industry in the jurisdiction of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua and Barbuda was one of the first jurisdictions to license interactive gaming and wagering companies in 1994. The internet gaming companies are classified as “Financial Institutions” and are subject to all the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) requirements of the jurisdiction. The regulatory framework for these companies has been provided in the International Business Corporations (IBC) Act and the Interactive Gaming and Interactive Wagering Regulations (IGIWR).Today, FSRC, Division of Gaming continues to be home to a significant portion of the industry and some of the largest i-gaming companies due to our pursuit of being a tier one regulatory jurisdiction.

    Antigua and Barbuda has been very proactive in regulating the offshore gaming through its IGIWR that enforces corporate probity and international best practices. The Division of Gaming is committed to ensuring that Antigua and Barbuda is internationally regarded as a Tier 1 jurisdiction of choice, and its regulations and regulatory enforcement remain first rate. The jurisdiction’s regulatory regime comprises a three pronged focus on “Money Laundering Prevention”, “Player Protection” and “Industry Enhancement”. All gaming activities within the State are subject to the Money Laundering Prevention Act (MLPA) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA, 2001).

    In an effort to ensure the industry remains in conformity with the international best practices we amended the IGIWR in May 2001, to have our gaming companies establish clear internal procedures regarding “Know Your Customer”. In addition, all gaming companies are required to have their accounts audited by external auditors who also have to certify their solvency, safety and soundness, player protection and compliance with AML/CFT regime in Antigua and Barbuda.

    For more information visit Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC)

    International trust corporations

    Persons desiring to carry on international trust business in Antigua and Barbuda shall apply in wririting to the Commission for the granting of a licence under any of the following categories:

    1. Class I General International Trust Licence.
    2. Class II Restricted International Trust Licence.

    A general international trust licence permits carrying on of international trust business without restrictions. A licensed institution holding a Class I General International Trust Licence shall maintain a minimum capital as may be determined by the Commission from time to time, but not being less than two hundred and fifty thousand United States dollars in paid up capital.

    A Class II Restricted International Trust Licence the licensed institution to carry on international trust business for a restricted list of customers, approved by the Commission from time to time, or specified in the list issued as part of the terms upon which the licence is granted.

    All trust corporations licensed in Antigua and Barbuda must maintain a physical presence. The physical presence requirement provides that licensed corporations must conform to the following minimum requirements:

    • A licensed corporation must have its own separate office large enough to comfortably accommodate a staff of at least two (2) persons, computer equipment and facilities to accommodate clients.
    • The time of the opening of the corporation may be flexible but it must open each day, Monday to Friday, for a minimum of six (6) hours per day. Opening hours should be posted outside the corporation notifying any interested person of the schedule.
    • Licensed corporations must have at least one (1) full-time employee.
    • The person mentioned above, or at least one other person employed with the corporation, must have relevant experience, that is, capable of understanding the operation of the corporation. The person must be responsible enough to recognize the process or otherwise of due diligence so as not to be unwittingly caught up in money laundering.
    • Finally, physical records are to be remitted at the latest on a monthly basis to Antigua and Barbuda and stored in a manner that can be easily reproduced. This would facilitate inspection of transactions in the event of an inquiry. In addition, the facility to avail of current information must be established.

    A trust corporation is subject to an annual on-site examination to ascertain, among other things, compliance with the relevant laws, regulations and international standards; observance of Know Your Customer (KYC) standards; and maintenance of details of transactions. Examiners may also investigate procedures for reporting and filing suspicious transactions with the appropriate supervisory authority under the Money Laundering (Prevention) Act 1996; the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 and the Money Laundering (Prevention) Regulations, 2007.

    For more information visit Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC)

      International insurance

      An IBC intending to carry on international insurance business in Antigua and Barbuda is required to be licensed under the IBC Act. The Articles of Incorporation must provide that the Board must give its approval for the conduct of any international insurance business. A licensee is prohibited from establishing any subsidiary or branch and/or providing any services on the Internet without prior approval of the Commission. The licensee is also required to maintain a physical presence in Antigua and Barbuda and be subject to an annual on-site examination.

      The incorporation of an international insurance business in Antigua and Barbuda can be achieved in as little as six weeks and involves the following: 

      1. The applicant must submit an application in the prescribed form, along with the Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Continuance, the Memorandum of Association, and a non-refundable annual fee of US$10,000 plus an annual registration fee of US$300. All documents are required in triplicate. 

      2. The minimum paid-up capital for setting up an international insurance company is US$250,000. 

      3. In order for approval to be granted, the Commission must conduct a due diligence search on the proposed director(s). The cost of the due diligence, which may vary depending on the extent of the search, is borne by the applicant and must be paid in advance. The Commission may also carry out such investigations and inquiries of the applicant corporation, its directors and officers or proposed directors and officers, its financial circumstances, and its affiliates or associates, as it deems necessary. 

      4. The law requires that the Commission must issue or refuse a license within three months of the receipt of an application. If additional information is required, then within fourteen (14) days of its receipt, the Commission must render a decision. The Commission may attach such terms and conditions to the license as is necessary in the public interest. The Commission may revoke the license if a licensee does not commence the international insurance business within six months of the issuance of the license

      For more information visit Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC)

      Money Services Business

      Under construction

      Investments Funds

      Under construction