The offshore world, like many industries, has its own vocabulary and terminology. As such, a few definitions will help our viewers understand the terms used in the industry and on the website.
We encourage clients who have had business relationships with offshore providers to review those providers. Anyone can leave a review. However, we give extra weight to reviewers that prove that they have indeed had a relationship with the provider they have reviewed. Proof of a business relationship includes canceled checks, receipts, certificates of incorporation, online banking screenshots, etc.
A review marked as a "Verified Review" on the website indicates that the reviewer has proved his or her relationship with the reviewed offshore provider. As such, these reviews carry more weight than reviews that are not verified reviews.
It is important to be aware that OffshoreReviews.com does not keep proof of business relationship documents on hand. After a document has been confirmed, it is securely deleted.
A provider is a business that offers offshore services. Those services can take the form of banking, investing, setting up offshore structures such as companies and trusts, offering accounting and legal services, etc.
Offshore incorporators are offshore providers that perform many different services in many different offshore jurisdictions. For example they may offer incorporation services in dozens of different countries. An offshore incorporator may also assist clients with opening bank and investment accounts for the legal entities it has set up. In a sense, offshore incorporators are a "one-stop shop" where a client can set up an offshore entity such as a corporation or trust (or both) offshore banking and investments, a virtual address and other related services.
Registered agents are offshore providers licensed to form offshore companies and trusts, usually in a specific location or jurisdiction. Whenever an offshore Corporation is formed, the company must have a registered address. The registered agent provides this registered address for as long as the offshore Corporation is in existence. For example, a registered agent in the British Virgin Islands is licensed to form corporations and trusts in the British Virgin Islands. And for those corporations that it forms on behalf of clients the registered agent provides the registered address. All that to say: A registered agent is an offshore provider that establishes offshore entities in a specific location.
Offshore banks offer banking services to non-residents. That is, an offshore bank operating in a particular location will offer banking services only for clients that aren't citizens of that same jurisdiction. For example, a bank licensed in Belize to offer offshore banking services will only offer those services to clients that are not citizens of Belize. Offshore banks include banks that have one location as well as large multinational banking conglomerates that have been in existence for hundreds of years, have tens of thousands of employees and dozens or hundreds of branches worldwide.
Offshore brokerages are businesses that offer investment services to offshore clientele. Offshore brokerages may offer online trading of stocks, bonds, options, futures contracts, foreign-exchange contracts and the like. Offshore brokerages may also offer investment and asset management services whereby the client's assets are professionally managed for the client.
Offshore precious metals providers give clients the ability to purchase, hold and sell precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum. Metals may be purchased as bars or coins or both. While there are many businesses in many countries that offer precious metals exchange and storage; offshore precious metals services enable the client to securely store precious metals outside of his or her own country.
Offshore attorneys and legal services are accounting and legal services provided to clients with offshore interests. These services can be bookkeeping or accounting in nature as well as complete legal, planning and tax advice including filing of any applicable tax returns and disclosure statements. As with offshore banks, offshore legal providers include everything from firms with a single office to multinational law firms operating in numerous jurisdictions.