March 20, 2014
By: Bobby Casey, GWP Managing Director
Two weeks ago I met with one of the European banks, with which our firm has worked closely for more than four years. This meeting was to update us on the bank’s new policies and procedures for bringing on new clients.
As we discussed several items relating to their procedures, I asked if there were any changes to the bank’s policy on accepting American clients.
The answer was yes. They no longer accept Americans as of March 1st, 2014. The reason – FATCA.
We have another Caribbean bank we work with that has, as of February 1st, stopped accepting American clients.
Just this week one of my business partners walked into a local bank in Latvia to open an account and they rejected him. Why? He is American.
A few months ago I was in Singapore. I visited with four banks there and found only ONE bank willing to accept American clients. And this one would only allow an SG dollar account, not multi-currency like they allow for every other client.
Back to the original question, “Do I REALLY need a 2nd passport?”
I suppose the answer depends on you. Do you possess one passport? Is it an American passport? Do you enjoy having the freedom to conduct business anywhere in the world? Or, do you prefer to have the US government employ extraterritorial banking laws on the world in order to subtly apply currency controls?
My guess is, if you are reading this article, you are more liberty minded and don’t appreciate having massive restrictions on your ability to live your life and conduct business.
The reality is, if you have a 2nd passport, the investment doors are wide open to you. As an American, banks and investment firms around the world cannot even discuss business with you due to FATCA and SEC regulations.
Have you ever considered living in Europe? Be careful. If you overstay your 90 day tourist visa you can be permanently blocked from ever entering the EU again.
Or maybe you would prefer to live somewhere in Central or South America. Ever hear the expression, “I’m doing a visa run”?
I’m not even discussing the albatross of American taxation. That is another topic altogether. But if you want to renounce your US citizenship and never worry about filing or paying tax in the US again, you really need to have citizenship (or at the very least residency). That will entail a 2nd passport, in another country before you consider that option.
Purely from a business point of view, having a 2nd passport opens up a whole new world of opportunity.
Those banks I mentioned specifically told me they will accept people who hold a non-US passport. When asked if it mattered if they were dual citizens, they stated, “We really only care about the passport you provide for account opening”.
In a subtle way, they have told me, they will take Americans as long as they show their non-US passport.
I have heard the same story from investment firms, mutual funds, asset managers and even private businesses around the world.
If you are an American passport holder, they don’t want your money. Period.
However, getting a 2nd passport need not be as difficult as you might imagine. There are options for every budget.
In just 3 weeks we are hosting our annual spring conference – Global Escape Hatch – in Panama City, Panama from April 8-13 at the Radisson Decapolis.
At this event we will have 20 of the world’s foremost experts on:
- Asset protection
- Offshore investments
- Foreign real estate
- Offshore banking
- Data privacy
- Global income strategies
- 2nd passports
- and much more
For those of you serious about getting a 2nd passport, this is an event you don’t want to miss. We have speakers doing presentations about the details on how to obtain citizenship and a 2nd passport in:
- St. Kitts
Some of these are economic citizenship programs. Some are residency leading to citizenship through investment. Some are simple residency leading to citizenship.
But for each one, you will hear from the experts who have navigated the waters. The ones who have the inside government connections. The ones who take donuts to the officials’ office weekly to ensure their applications are placed at the top of the pile for expediency.
Even more importantly than hearing their detailed presentations on how to obtain citizenship in these countries, you will have the opportunity to pull each one of them aside, buy them a beer and chat about your own personal situation to find out what makes the most sense for you.
As much as we hate to admit, the old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, is 100% true.
Until next time, live well.