Structure and Registration Procedures of Offshore Companies


What is more confidential - a bearer-share company or having a nominee shareholder?

Both options are about the same in terms of secrecy. However, usage of nominee shareholder is more viable in long-term, as there is a general tendency in the offshore financial services industry all over the world to restrict or entirely prohibit the usage of bearer shares. In particular bearer shares have been phased out in Seychelles and, as of 2014, Seychelles IBC's are prohibited from issuing bearer shares.

Even in those few jurisdictions where bearer shares are still allowed, they are mostly in process of being phased out. Also, in such jurisdictions, the registered agent of the company must create and keep an internal register of bearer shares, where the names and addresses of all individuals, to whom the bearer shares have been issued, are recorded. A subsequent transfer of a bearer share will not be effective until the name of the new holder of a bearer share is recorded in that register. This effectively negates the main perceived benefit of a bearer share - the anonymity of holding and transfer. Another particular drawback for bearer shares is that many banks outright refuse to open accounts for offshore companies featuring bearer shares.Thus, even when theoretically possible, the usage of bearer shares is not recommended at this point in time.