Simple facts about opening an Isle of Man bank account.

By March 29, 2023No Comments

Open an Isle of Man bank account for an Isle of Man Company.

Setting up an Isle of Man company is relatively simple – if you are local you can follow the steps set out here and if you are a non Isle of Man resident then you can engage a local corporate service provider to assist you.

See our article Selecting a corporate service provider – you will love.

The reality is that opening an Isle of Man bank account for your new company is frequently a limiting factor for clients with Isle of Man Companies.

This short guide sets out relevant information to help you; alternatively; if you would like us to assist you to open a bank account for your Isle of Man Company then you can contact us directly by email – [email protected] or by WhatsApp +44 1624 777900.

Isle of Man banks – an overview.

The Isle of Man is a successful international financial centre, but our banking universe is limited as we only have a small number of locally licenced banks. You can find these listed in our ‘Isle of Man banking universe’ article.

Understanding the requirements for opening an Isle of Man bank account.

Each of our banks has a different appetite with respect to clients that it will open accounts for but the high leval criteria they use are reasonably consistent. The three typical typologies are set out below:-.

Type 1 – ‘Local business’.

 ‘Local business’ typically means companies with a real presence in the Isle of Man – e.g. with premises, staff, resident directors and usually owners based here on the Island and most likely not involving a corporate service provider. 

Examples include – local shops & hospitality businesses, local professional firms such as architects or accountants, & property investment companies that are owned and controlled by Isle of Man residents.

‘Local businesses’ are generally considered to be ‘low risk’ by our banks and will generally be able to apply for and open Isle of Man bank accounts. Most of our local banks have a dedicated team dealing with ‘local’ business.

Type 2 – Managed business

Managed business typically means Isle of Man Companies which are usually undertaking ‘international’ business – they are usually owned by non Isle of Man persons and a local professional firm called a Corporate Service Provider (CSP) is engaged to administer them. Managed businesses are controlled by professional directors appointed by the CSP and the CSP are also the bank signatories.

Provided the business is not considered ‘high risk’ then “Managed businesses” are usually able to open an Isle of Man bank account with one of our local banks.

High risk indicators include the factors that you would expect:- these include but are not limited to  – Involvement of PEPs –  Risky business sectors (eg Crypto, Adult, Payroll), Risky geographic involvement (eg Russia / Syria etc) and High volume cash movement (ie money laundering risk). The list goes on but you get the picture.

Type 3 – Unmanaged business.

Unmanaged businesses are also Isle of Man Companies which are (usually) owned by non Isle of Man persons and where a local professional firm (Corporate Service Provider) is engaged to administer the company – however – in this case the client themselves is appointed to the board of directors and they also control the bank account.

Unmanaged businesses have great difficulty in opening Isle of Man bank accounts. In practice it is virtually impossible to open an Isle of Man bank account for this type of Company. 

This is because it is the banks’ policy not to open accounts for CSP client companies unless the CSP themselves is engaged to provide professional directors and their staff control the bank account. The reason for this is that the bank (& our regulator) prefers a regulated local party (the CSP) to monitor account activity and be ‘responsible’ should something go ‘wrong’ with the account.

A final word – usually there is a solution.

If you are having difficulty finding a banking / payment solution for your Isle of Man company – maybe its unmanaged or perhaps its higher risk or both – either way please contact us and ask for help. 

We have relationships with alternative banking / payment institutions who may be able to assist. Contact Martin Katz or WhatsApp +44 1624 777900.