Royal Bank (owned by Canadian parent company), Rathausstrasse 20, (or PO Box 306) Austria 1010, Wien (Vienna). Our preferred contact there: Peter Zipper, Senior Vice-President. Mention the Hill Reports and they will be glad to send you a packet of brochures in English about their services. Note: Because of local regulations, the services that banks offer tend to be similar in each country and any innovations that attract business are soon copied by competitor banks.
RTB offers asset management, their own stable of bond and stock funds, and all types of accounts in all currencies, plus multi-currency high-interest checking. You can write checks in any currency. Offers credit cards such as VISA without detailed application forms if a client keeps a balance in assets or cash of over US $30,000. Has many American clients. Most (if not all) officers speak perfect English.
Bank charges in Austria are about half that of Swiss charges. There is a 10 per cent government withholding tax on interest. This tax is paid by the bank out of your account without compromising bank secrecy, ie your name is never known to the government. Austria rates an A+ for bank secrecy in general. Withholding tax on interest is commonly avoided by holding long or short term bonds, or “Fiduciary Accounts” held outside of Austria which pay more interest and are not subject to this 10 per cent tax. Currency switching costs one-quarter of 1 per cent. They will accept instructions by fax or phone if a code word is agreed upon in advance. Numbered accounts are also assigned. They will also assist in the formation and administration of Manx or Liechtenstein trusts and foundations.
Gibraltar: Home to many banks and recommended as a place to form and domicile corporations cheaply. Letter to any of these banks at simply “Gibraltar” will be delivered.
Jyske Bank – Danish bank offers very liberal policy with regard to loans for currency speculation, and also many unusual services. A progressive and accommodating bank. Perhaps too unconservative for any mother-lode deposits, but good for doing business with and for use as a transit account. Offers multi-currency check writing and fast arrangements for credit cards.
Guernsey: Along with Jersey (the other Channel Island) is a major offshore banking center: A letter addressed to any of these banks at St Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands, Great Britain, will get there. Note: This is only a selection of banks. There are many others!
Bank of Bermuda (highly recommended).
Guinness Mahon Bank (big British bank – pays highest bank interest rate on deposits of over £50,000).
Midland Bank National Westminster.
Isle of Man: A preferred location because they don’t co-operate with any tax authority including the UK’s and are well known for making life tough on creditors from abroad who seek to use Manx courts to collect anything from local investors or depositors.
A letter addressed to any of these banks at Isle of Man, Great Britain, will get there: Anglo-Manx Bank Barclays Bank Lloyds Bank
Midland Bank (subsidiary of Hong Kong Bank)
Robert Fleming Bank Royal Trust Bank к Tyndall Bank.
Jersey, Channel Islands, Great Britain. If you plan to visit, Jersey is more charming, lively and interesting a place than Guernsey. But these islands are close together and you can see both by hovercraft from St Malo, France in the same day. Jersey has a bit more class, and more banks than Guernsey.
Bank of Scotland Bank of Wales Barclays Bank Cater Allen Hill Samuel Midland Bank
Luxembourg, Duchy of (In Europe). The Duchy of Luxembourg (one of the three original founding nations of the EC – Benelux) is said to be replacing Switzerland as the favorite banking haven of many wealthy individuals who desire maximum confidentiality, good service, and more reasonable charges – about 40 per cent off Swiss service charges. Accounts in Luxembourg may be held in any currency, and unlike Switzerland, there is no withholding tax on interest paid to foreign depositors. Thus, the use of fiduciary accounts to circumvent national withholding tax is not necessary in Luxembourg. Luxembourg is both a city and a country. A complete list of all banks can be obtained by writing to Lucein Thiel, General Manager, Association of Banks in Luxembourg, Luxembourg. The biggest banks in Luxembourg are:
Bank Internationale a Luxembourg (BIL) and Banque Generate du Luxembourg; the two locally owned and operated banks. They are both very solid and like all banks have plenty of staff members who speak English. In fact, the general job requirement for any bank officer in Luxembourg is fluency in English and German.
The other major players are the Deutsche.
Bank and Dresdner Bank, both German owned. But there are a total of 187 international banks which have opened offices in Luxembourg. Thus it is hard to name one major player which does not have a branch or wholly owned subsidiary there. There are no Spanish banks. However, you will find all the old standbys including Barclays, Lloyds, and Citibank. A letter addressed to “Name of Any Bank, Luxembourg” will get there. This comes in handy if you forget the address of your bank.
Luxembourg, like Switzerland, now has a ‘money laundering law’ providing that any banker who knowingly or without checking properly on his customer handles criminal-source money faces five years in the pokey. The practical effect of this is that most bankers are paranoid about new accounts materializing off the street. They want new customers to come to them with letters of reference from lawyers, accountants, bankers, or other customers.
Luxembourg bank accounts are insured by the government for up to Luxembourg Francs 500,000. In US dollars this is around $15,000 (or £8500).
Luxembourg Investment Funds: Luxembourg is also home to a vast number (over 1000) of investment funds. Many of these are sponsored by major banks. Some are “no-load” which means there is no front-end commission and most of your money goes into the actual investment, while others charge as much as 7 per cent commission to get in and up to 5 per cent per year off the top for management. Luxembourg is in fact the leader by a large margin of the offshore banking and financial centers with over £55bn of other people’s money held there. The second place in Europe is held by Jersey, with a mere £6bn. One of the leading funds (performance-wise) in Luxembourg is Fleming. The Fleming Flagship fund, for instance has outperformed stock market indexes by about 80 per cent since it was started around 1989. But as of 1996, some fund managers express the fear that many stock indices are poised to follow Japan in a downward mode. I caution my readers that any fund that has been the leading performer in recent years is statistically more likely to be near the bottom next year than a consistent mid-level performer. Indifferent Fund Managers’ performance is what makes many of our readers decide to let a bank manage their funds with the main objective being “capital preservation” rather than capital gains. The best and cheapest way to find out about investment opportunities is to request a free subscription to The International, Greystoke Place, Fetter Lane, London. EC4A1ND, UK. But remember this: any brochure or magazine you get for free is an advertiser supported sales tool. You can expect such a publication to say mainly nice things about their advertisers. The International is a very good little monthly magazine for investors and the price (free) is right! But don’t expect them to pan their advertisers’ products. When you pay a fairly hefty price for a Scope International Special Report (no advertising accepted) you can expect more objective and critical reviews.