An excellent alternative to set up a brokerage operation, is under a Vanuatu Forex License. Regulated and supervised by the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission (VFSC), the license gained a lot of respect and interest in recent years mainly due to the low operational cost, more lenient requirements and tax incentives.
The Securities Dealer license application can be prepared and submitted by an international company or individual that must be a Director/officer of the company.
Before moving ahead, it is important to note here that Vanuatu along with Iraq have been commended by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the international organisation that lists countries with inefficient measures to combat money laundering, for their efforts to ensure that their framework is strong enough and relevant to current AML/CFT requirements. As a result, in June of 2019, Vanuatu was removed from the FATF Grey List.
Firstly, to answer the most frequently asked questions we receive regarding a Vanuatu Forex License:
- Local office (after the amendment act of 2018) is a requirement. The office must maintain software for filing, management and accounting, a business continuity system and server.
- No capital requirements – instead the law requires brokerages to hold a securities bond of $50,000.
So how does someone start the process to obtain a Vanuatu Forex License?
Through a comparatively fast procedure, the company is required to register a Vanuatu company, prepare and submit for evaluation all documents pertaining to its ID and activities (current and past activities), a detailed business plan, an AML manual as well as a corporate bank account.
In this regard, the documents required are:
- Notarised copy of Passport
- Recent notarised government Utility Bill (water, electricity – no older than 3 months)
- Criminal record
- CV and reference letters for Shareholder(s) and Directors
- Bank statement not older than 3 months, confirming the where the funding is coming from
- A certified copy of Academic qualifications (true copy stamp from the university/college is enough) for Shareholder(s) and Directors
Important note: The documents must be in the English language – if they can’t be provided in their original form in English, a notarised English translation must be sent as well.
Information on the corporate structure requirements of a Vanuatu Forex License
The Shareholder of the company can be a legal person, unlike the minimum of 1 Director (that must be pre-approved by the VFSC) and appointed on the board. The Shareholder(s) and Director(s) must have proper backgrounds and experience and their approval is at the discretion of the regulator. The Shareholder(s) and Directors are not required to be residents of Vanuatu.
The Director(s) must have a minimum of 5 years’ experience (proved by the reference letters needed to accompany the application) and shall reside for 6 months of a calendar year in Vanuatu. There must be an AML officer approved and appointed as well as a procedure in place that specifies the officer’s replacement.
Quick note here, it’s also common practice under MiFID2 where brokers are required to maintain a replacement policy for all the key personnel of the company, to avoid any setbacks in their duties due to resignations/removals.
After announcements on guidelines, changes and updates on the conduct of business of forex brokers (that came into effect on January 1st, 2019), a more clear understanding of reasons for possible application rejection or license revocation is set, minimum professional indemnity insurance for partners, employees and consultants, financial statements are required to be prepared by an independent auditor that is approved by the Commissioner 3 months after the end of the year.
Moreover, the amendment introduces the new classification system that obligates applicants to choose between Class A, B and C Principal’s license, depending on the activities the broker intends to conduct. This classification will further support the VFSC in its supervising duties and control.
Why a Vanuatu Forex License?
Some key characteristics of the Vanuatu Forex License include but are not limited to the very low costs compared to most regulated jurisdictions, the recognition it receives on an international level for its efforts in combating money laundering (important if later the broker will apply for a license with another jurisdiction), the swift adaptation in controlling and supervising uninterrupted relative to the increase in demand for its forex licenses, the favourable tax conditions (no tax on profit or capital gains).
If you have Institutional business as a network and operate through a forex IB or White Label program, jurisdictions like Vanuatu are a great option to start your own brokerage, before moving forward into more complex and expensive alternatives. Unlike working unregulated, Vanuatu will provide comfort to your clients who need a regulated broker to support their trading needs.
Time frames to get the license:
Although people/offices will try to convince you that they can get your setup up and running within 4 months (or less), we will refrain from making any promises since it’s in the discretion of the national regulator to approve, ask questions or even reject any application depending on its complexity and structure. Usually our initial internal assessments are enough to identify problems (if any) in the early stages, thus maintaining excellent time frames.
How allFX-Consult can step into this picture:
allFX-Consult is a boutique forex consulting agency, catering to quality rather than quantity. For over a decade, our Directors have been connecting with some of the best individuals/professionals, service providers and brokers the industry has to offer so that we can meet any forex corporate challenge.
Because of this, allFX-Consult always has a counterpart/partner for any corporate structure. Before we make any recommendations, we thoroughly examine all possibilities. We’re chosen for being discreet, detail oriented and deadline driven.
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