Saint Lucia banking license can be established under the International Banks Act, Cap. 12.17 (the Act). This is the legislation that governs the operation of international banks doing business from St. Lucia.

The first step is an application to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) for consent to incorporate an international business company in St. Lucia for the purpose of carrying on international banking business from St. Lucia. This process is essentially the due diligence exercise on the parent company and the individuals involved and is carried out by the FSRA.

Key Features

  • Class A Licence – This is a general banking licence without restriction as to with whom the bank can do business. The minimum paid up capital requirement is $1,000,000.
  • Class B Licence – This licence restricts the persons with whom the bank can do business. The application for a Class B licence must include a list in the form of an undertaking of the persons with whom the bank will be doing business. With the permission of the FSRA, this list may be modified after the bank has been established. The minimum paid up capital requirement is $250,000.

The FSRA reserves the right to vary the level of initial capital required in certain circumstances e.g. where deposits or loans are expected to be extremely large at or near inception, or where the nature of the capital is sufficiently illiquid so as to give rise to concern in this regard.

In addition to the capital requirement, each bank is also required to maintain a deposit of $100,000 in an approved bank (not necessarily in St. Lucia). The licensed bank will be required to give a written undertaking that it will keep and maintain that deposit free and clear of all encumbrances during the currency of the licence.

Legal Requirements

Requirements

Description

General

  • Corporate  vehicle permitted

St. Lucia International Business Company

  • License application fee

USD  25, 800 (Class A)

USD  15, 800 (Class B)

  • Annual license fee

USD  25, 300 (Class A)

USD  15, 300 (Class B)

  • Local physical office required

Yes

Share capital or equivalent

  • Minimum paid up capital

USD 1,000,000 (Class A)

USD 250,000 (Class B)

Directors

  • Minimum number

2

  • Corporate directorship allowed

No

  • Local director required

Yes

Shareholders

  • Minimum number

2

  • Corporate shareholder allowed

Yes

  • Local shareholder required

No

Service Providers Required

  • Company secretary

Yes

  • Auditor

Yes (from anywhere)

  • Legal adviser

Yes (from St. Lucia)

 Tax Treatment

An international bank would normally be exempt from taxation in St. Lucia. There is an option however, to elect to pay income tax at the rate of 1% which may have advantages in some situations.

Duration to Set Up

Around 3 months

Distinctive Benefits of Licence

  • Fast licensing process
  • Tax exemption of an international bank
  • Relatively friendly regulatory requirements

The Valsen Advantage

  • End to end comprehensive service
  • Speedy and efficient service
  • Expert advice on structuring options
  • Dedicated ongoing compliance support
  • Extensive network pool of service providers