Private banking includes investment, financial, and other day-to-day banking services provided by banks and other financial institutions to high-income and other wealthy individuals, commonly referred to as high net worth individuals. In general, the term retail banking refers to the more personal approach and services provided by the bankers as part of the private banking service package compared to mass market retail banking. Private banking is typically a subset of wealth management and encompasses numerous services, such as general banking, brokerage, discretionary wealth management, wealth structuring, insurance, advisory, lending, investment services, and even tax planning.
Historically, opening a private bank account was only possible for very wealthy individuals with over $2 million in liquidity. Even now there are banks that require an even higher amount to be deposited into your bank account to join their exclusive private banking. Typically, the largest deposit amounts are required by the offshore private banks and they can easily exceed the $5 million level. There are now banks that offer to open a personal, or sometimes referred to as a prime bank account, with significantly smaller deposits. Certainly, the personal attitude as well as the scope and quality of the services offered will differ accordingly.
Customer service is essential for personal bank account holders, among others. When you entrust your wealth to professionals to manage, you want to be confident that they are making the right decisions, working in your best interests and keeping your money safe.
Banking in Malta overview
Malta, with its rapidly growing banking sector and specialized niches such as trustee services, wealth management and private banking, has managed to establish itself as the international banking center in the Mediterranean. Banking has been the backbone of Malta, supporting the growth of numerous other sectors. Domestic banks' capital buffers are among the highest in Europe and solvency ratios are consistently maintained at levels almost twice the EU average. The average core capital ratio of Maltese banks is almost double the ratio required by Basel III. Thanks to a significant transformation over the last decade, the Maltese banking sector has shifted from a tightly controlled public sector to a liberal and privately owned sector. This has helped attract international companies to set up operations in Malta and continue to expand into Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Whether you are looking to open a personal or corporate account, Malta offers numerous benefits. The country's banking sector was ranked 10th most solid among 144 countries in the world by the World Economic Forum in its 2014-15 Global Competitiveness Report. The diverse banking industry is not only a trusted and safe place for your savings, but also offers its customers a wide range of quality services, including commercial and project finance, custodian banking and specialist wealth management services. And this is carried out by highly experienced English speaking legal and financial professionals. In addition, Malta's fiscal policy is one of the main drivers for creating an attractive investment environment. The country's tax system complies with EU non-discrimination principles and shares around 70 double taxation treaties, allowing both businesses and individuals to achieve considerable tax efficiency if structured and planned properly.
Private bank account in Malta
If you are a Maltese resident or planning to transfer your funds to a Maltese bank from abroad, you should consider the personal attitude and professional services guaranteed by the Maltese private banking. Malta is rich with banks, especially considering the size of the country, therefore you are able to choose among numerous possibilities. In case you are a foreign investor, you might choose the biggest international bank in Malta – HSBC (or maybe you already have an account in this bank in your home-country, which would significantly ease the process of bank account opening in Malta). HSBC also offers highest quality private banking for private individuals with capabilities to deposit at least 70,000 EUR.
Being eligible for private banking opens a whole new world of benefits for you and your family. Interestingly, all these benefits are for free as long as you hold at least 70,000 EUR in your account. The benefits include preferential rates and terms of overdraft and debit cards, free internet and telephone banking, exclusive services from other banking divisions, such as loans and insurance, and of course – dedicated relationship manager available to you and your family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In order to open a private bank account, the main criterion is the set minimum amount of deposit you need to keep in your bank account. Other requirements are related to Know Your Client procedures in order to make sure that your funds are not coming from illegal activities. Upon opening a private bank account you would need to declare your passport, a proof of residency and documents verifying the legitimacy of your income (such as inheritance certificate, financial statements, proof of sale of real estate or business, etc.). Generally, the opening procedure takes more time in comparison to traditional checking account due to the compliance procedures carried out by the bank. After you apply for a private bank account online or via telephone and provide all the necessary documents, a special committee will evaluate your eligibility as their client and your personal banker will defend your interests.