How to choose the right offshore service provider?

Considering that we are an international offshore incorporation service provider ourselves, this might not be the best issue to speculate on, for fear of a subjective opinion. Nevertheless, just some considerations for Your own verdict.

To begin with - what is an offshore service provider anyway? They tend to be different, but generally all do the same kind of job. The "product" or, to a certain extent as the name suggests, the "service" that is offered by an offshore service provider is the incorporation and registration of an offshore company or an offshore trust at a request of a client, who would be the "beneficial owner" of the offshore company.

The offshore corporate service provider is also aimed to take care of the administration tasks essential to maintain the offshore company in good legal health (also well-known as "good standing") in its country of registration. This support mainly includes the provision of the Registered Address and Registered Agent for the company, following up the annual renewal rules and regulations of the company by acting as official intermediary linking the Government and the owner of the offshore company, taking care of the obligatory annual filing and reporting requirements (if any), keeping and updating such books and records pertaining to the company as the law prescribes. Likewise, the support and administration services would be provided to offshore trusts.

The offshore service provider would also endow various optional services which improve the functionality and confidentiality of the offshore company. Such services include provision of individual and corporate directors, provision of nominee shareholders, document custody and re-mailing services, mail and fax forwarding services, telephone call handling services, bank account introductions. In various offshore jurisdictions the corporate service providers also assist the client through the more complex matters of licensing the company to carry out some of the specifically regulated activities - offshore banking, offshore insurance, mutual funds, online gaming. Moreover, some providers would offer certain legal assistance or tax advice, although not many do that.

In general, the offshore corporate service providers fall into two extensive groups – the specialized providers, and the universal providers.