How to choose the right offshore service provider?

How to choose the right offshore service provider?

As we are an international offshore incorporation service provider ourselves, this might perhaps not be the best question to speculate on, for fear of a biased opinion. Nevertheless, just some considerations for Your own judgment.

To start with – what is an offshore service provider anyway? They tend to differ, but generally all do the same type of job. The 'product' or, rather as the name suggests, the 'service' being offered by an offshore service provider is the incorporation and registration of an offshore company or an offshore trust at a request of a client, who would be the "beneficial owner" of the offshore company.

The offshore corporate service provider is also supposed to take care of the administration tasks necessary to maintain the offshore company in good legal health (also known as "good standing") in its country of registration. This support usually includes the provision of the Registered Address and Registered Agent for the company, following up the annual renewal formalities of the company by acting as official intermediary between the Government and the owner of the offshore company, taking care of the mandatory annual filing and reporting requirements (if any), keeping and updating such books and records pertaining to the company as the law prescribes. Similarly, the support and administration services would be provided to offshore trusts.

The offshore service provider would also provide various optional services which enhance the confidentiality and functionality of the offshore company. Such services include provision of individual and corporate directors, provision of nominee shareholders, mail and fax forwarding services, document custody and re-mailing services, telephone call handling services, bank account introductions. In some offshore jurisdictions the corporate service providers also assist the client through the more complicated matters of licensing the company to carry out some of the specifically regulated activities – offshore banking, offshore insurance, mutual funds, online gaming. On top of that, some providers would offer certain legal assistance or tax advice, although not many do that.

Overall, the offshore corporate service providers fall into two broad groups – the specialized providers, and the universal providers.