Jordi Comas, the chief executive of Andbanc, describes 2011 as a “particularly unfavourable year from an economic and financial perspective”. In private banking, Andbanc’s speciality, profit margins were pressurised as clients are unwilling to invest actively in the uncertain conditions.
“The current climate convinces us that in order to be more competitive, we must become more global,” says Mr Comas.This led to the bank buying the Monaco subsidiary of Italy’s Monte de Paschi, purchasing a 51% stake in Brazil’s largest independent financial management group, LLA Investimento, and entering the neighbouring Spanish market through an agreement with the Medical Association of Barcelona to run its investment management agency. While the Spanish economy may be suffering, the attraction of Andbanc’s strong balance sheet for risk-averse high-net-worth individuals is clear.The results have been impressive, with Andbanc profits up almost 33%, giving the bank an increased return-on-equity of 12.6%. This is especially notable given a capital-to-assets ratio of more than 10%.
“We achieved historical growth both in assets under management and profitability in an environment where the industry is having trouble maintaining its performances,” says Mr Comas.
Product development has included expanding the bank’s range of financing services to its private clients and offering multi-custody to clients to diversify their deposit counterparty risk. The bank has also launched a small business lending scheme called ‘Andbanc Emprenedors’.
“We aim to consolidate our international expansion, to increase profitability and to continue capitalising on the opportunities that the present economic situation has to offer. We will reinforce our commitment towards capturing the best talent in the sector with one sole aim: to offer the best service in private banking,” says Mr Comas.
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• Capitalisation is high with a “solvency ratio” of about 23% compared with a worldwide legal requirement of 10%,
• Liquidity is good with an “aggregated loan to deposit ratio” below 70% compared with over 100% in most European commercial banks,
• Stress test results in 2010 were as good as any other financial centre,
There are 5 main banks in Andorra, but one will notice the absence of the usual array of UK and foreign institutions. However all banks are efficient, online, and subject to due diligence and anti-money laundering directives there is no exchange control. It takes minutes to open an account here only the applicant's passport is required. The account will be numbered, possibly the last country in the world with numbered accounts. Once a resident, including passive resident, you may change the account in to your name or by choice maintain the anonymous numbered account for a fee of about 115 Euros every 3 months.
The five local banks are:-
andbanc - Grup Agricol Reig
Providing a personalised service in asset management for customers all over the world for over 120 years.
Asset Management Service, BIBM offers a personalised solution to customers with a significant volume of assets,
requiring active and professional management for their financial assets.
Banca Privada d'Andorra
Personal and corporate banking.
Banc de Sabadell d'Andorra
Private and commercial banking, plus online banking and other services.
Commercial & Private Banking
There are no exchange controls but due diligence of documents and funds is becoming closely monitored. Andorra is probably the only country in the world where bank employee liability runs parallel with corporate liability. there is a maximum prison sentence for a bank employee of seven years and a fine of € 500,000 if he is proven to be acting negligently in accepting funds from a fraudulent or criminal source. For that reason importing money to Andorra may require further proof of the source of funds before the transfer is accepted.
Once a resident, including passive resident, you may change the account in to your name or by choice maintain the anonymous numbered account for a fee of about 115 Euros every 3 months. Operation of non-resident accounts are now becoming increasingly restricted in most banks here, there is a quarterly fee and interest on all deposits and profits attributable to bank investments will be liable to an EU withholding tax at source of 35%.
Foreign company accounts also can be opened subject to presentation of proof of ownership of the company with the power to open accounts on behalf of the company. Copies of such documents will require to be apostillised, and once again the more documents to prove legitimate company business the more the chance of successfully opening a company account. I can provide further information on this on request.
You must be here in Andorra and in person with your passport to open an account (there are few exceptions involving representative overseas offices), I have read on the internet offers to open an Andorran bank account by filling in online forms with your personal details. I can assure you that under no circumstances will you be the proud owner of an Andorran bank account, so beware !
Accounts here normally operate as multi-currency which means you can transfer any currency such as Sterling or US Dollars to your Andorran bank account and it will be credited in the currency received.
I advise anyone transferring money in Andorra to change the currency here upon receipt and not to change to Euros in the country from which you are sending.