There is a high level of respect in Belize for the privacy and confidentiality of the client, be it an IBC or a Trust. In the case of an IBC, the client’s information is not filed with the IBC Registry and is not available to the public. It is even more confidential with a Trusts because the trust deed is not even filed with the Trusts Registry; the only jurisdiction recognized by the trust arrangement is the Belize Supreme Court, and there are even excluded claims of action against the Trust Deed. But a relatively new offshore instrument, the International Foundation, is gaining favor over the traditional offshore trust.
International Foundations – An Alternative To Offshore Trusts
Belize International Foundations are a recent addition to the arsenal of offerings under Belize law. One of the last pieces of legislation for the calendar year 2010, it is quietly proving to be an attractive alternative to Trusts, particularly for persons who hail from civil law jurisdictions.
In this Act, it is statutorily provided that “.’. no person shall disclose any of the documents … their contents or the information contained therein relating to the establishment, administration, maintenance, business undertaking, affairs or property of a foundation to any other person.”
That section, Section 103, goes on to identify the documents as the Foundations Charter, By-Laws, rules and regulations, any document relating to the exercise of any function or duty conferred upon a Foundation council, or council member, or protector, or disclosing deliberations of the council, member, protector, or directors of members or protectors.
It also covers any documents relating to the finances, investments, assets, income, expenses, profits, losses, appreciation, depreciation, value, net worth, or business activity of a foundation, its founder, or any beneficiary.
What is of note is that it also defines information to include any papers, deeds, declarations, appointments, minutes, notes, etc. Even electronic and computer data are covered by the definition; essentially anything that informs another party not privy to the details of the Foundation is covered.
Offshore Financial Instruments Offered By The Belize Jurisdiction
The Foundations Law was one new law passed to widen the scope of services available to the ultimate client by service providers in Belize. But the International Financial Services Commission of Belize (IFSC), has wisely opted to furnish us with a more robust listing of services to choose from. The IFSC has put together a slew of licenses that are most relevant to the clients for whom they were created.
· Formation or management of international business companies or other offshore companies’ This covers both IBCs and the recently enacted International LLCs Trust formation and management of offshore trusts and provision of trust services. This also covers Foundations, enacted in 2010
· International asset protection and management
· Money transmission services
· Payment processing services
· Trading in foreign exchange
· Trading in financial and commodity-based derivative instruments and other securities (e’g’ futures, options, interest rates, foreign exchange instruments’ shares, stock, contracts for differences, etc’)
· Money brokering
· Money lending and pawning
· Money exchange
· Safe custody services
· Brokerage, consultancy, or advisory services in any of the above services
Each of these licenses attends to different needs, but, ultimately, the needs attended to are those of the clients that the providers service’ The IFSC is to be commended in the work that it does. No doubt there is more development in store for the future, but the present is far from Mother Hubbard’s cupboard. The shelves are fully stocked and ready for the sampling.
– Excerpted from ‘Belize’s Financial Services Industry – A Review by The Belize Bank International’ February 2015, BELTRAIDE.