Is the Marshall Islands an ideal jurisdiction we would recommend to everyone? Not at all. It has its own strengths, but there are cases when you’d better keep away from it. For example, if you engage in insurance/reinsurance activities or banking, it would be wiser to choose another destination as an IBC in the Marshall Islands will not reveal its full potential – or it will be impossible to set it up at all. And if you need a company to deal with gambling as a business activity, forget about the Marshall Islands. The country is influenced by the US, and this is yet another reason to consider: an offshore company dependent on the US may be unacceptable for your goals. Finally, if you set confidentiality as your main priority, opt for a different jurisdiction.
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Suitable Businesses for the Marshall Islands
If you are going to set up a company that will own ships and yachts, you will hardly find a better jurisdiction than the Marshall Islands. Though the country is tiny and there are not many people living here, its ship register is one of the largest ones in the world (there are more than 1,600 merchant ships in it!). The Marshall Islands is a respected jurisdiction known to all ship owners, and it provides top-notch services to them.
If your company is planning an IPO procedure, the Marshall Islands would be a perfect jurisdiction for your IBC. A successful IPO implies meeting a number of stringent requirements, and the legal framework of the Marshall Islands fully complies with them. There are more than 40 companies that were set up in the Marshall Islands and are now publicly traded at the world’s largest exchanges. You could join in!
The Marshall Islands could also be an excellent jurisdiction for you if you want to establish a startup and raise funds. The fact of registration in this respected destination will be an advantage for investors as the procedure is more transparent and they can easily exit the project if they want to.
Both in the cases of the IPO and startup, we recommend having a well-thought-out business plan that describes a clear way to the desired goal. If you do so, your IBC will stand out from other projects and will be taken into consideration by venture capitalists on a priority basis.
Finally, if your company engages in international trade in physical goods, e-commerce, or provision of services, the Marshall Islands could be a great destination to establish your IBC.
Marshall Islands – A Jurisdiction for Serious Business!
The legal framework of the Marshall Islands that regulates business setup is similar to the one adopted in the American state of Delaware. It is often called the main offshore territory of the United States, and the procedure of company incorporation and engaging in business activities is pretty straightforward.
Let’s look at the main aspects of IBC establishment in the Marshall Islands:
- The management structure should include at least two positions, a director and a secretary, and these can be individuals or legal entities.
- The Marshall Islands is not the best jurisdiction for those who put privacy first, as we said above. However, there is a solution as the country officially allows the use of nominees. You can hire a nominee director and a nominee secretary and enjoy more confidentiality! We can help you with this (keep in mind, though, that this is an additional service not included in the standard package).
- If you are on a tight budget, you can combine the director’s and the secretary’s positions and occupy them both as the company’s beneficial owner.
Name and Share Capital
Here are the main requirements for the Marshall Islands company name:
- You can register the company name in any language on the condition that you use the Latin alphabet.
- Come up with several options as the main one can be unavailable.
- You can add any corporate suffixes to the name (Ltd. Corp. Inc., or their full forms like Incorporated), but this is an optional requirement.
- There are words whose use in the company name is restricted: Trust, Bank, Assurance, Charity, Insurance, Re-insurance, Foundation.
You can provide your options to us, and we will check them with the Marshall Islands register.
Let’s look at the requirements for the share capital:
- There are no limitations: you can start your company with any amount.
- The share capital can be nominated in any currency.
- You will need to pay a small one-time tax upon IBC registration if the number of shares without par value is more than 500 or the share capital is over 50,000 US dollars (and this is the main reason why a typical share capital of a Marshall Islands company is lower).
- Mind that the use of bearer shares will limit the number of banks that will be willing to work with your company.
Some Additional Aspects
- Be prepared to provide the information on beneficial owners as soon as the registration agent or the government requests you to do so.
- New and registered IBCs in the Marshall Islands are subject to annual certification. The authorities will meticulously check the lists of managers, directors, beneficial owners, as well as any other persons connected with the company. Any violations result in fines (up to 50,000 US dollars) or even company liquidation in extreme cases.
- If you decide to use bearer shares, you will need to keep a register of owners.
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