Anyone new to the Principality of Monaco might need guidance to navigate through Monaco’s administrative challenges.
There are many businesses specialised in Monaco when it comes to topics such as administration assistance, personal relocation and business incorporation. The benefit to work with them is the fact they they have a full overview about every aspects of your needs. For example, if you are looking for advise on personal relocation you might need more than an address and a bank account. The above mentioned businesses can point you to the right professionals in all areas, such as estate planning, enrolling your child(ren) to school, they can help you with transportation, insurance and advice you on the best way to integrate with ease into the local community.
You will also notice that multiple businesses in the Principality involved in the residency process such as banks, wealth managers, lawyers, notaries and real estate agencies who offer advisory services, however, many have limited knowledge of the full relocation process. They often look for their own financial interest first, rather than the fulloverall needs of the clients. Obviously the bank is more interested in the bank account than the schooling; and the school is more focused on the enrollment than the size of your apartment etc.
For this reason, having an independent and unbiased advisor can help you to create a smooth and stress free integration.
Unfortunately, there are some unofficial advisors from the surrounding of Monaco targeting the wealthy individuals in the hope of gaining some fast profit. Therefore, in many cases it is extremely important for your own protection to double-check their licenses whether they are allowed and authorised to deal and advice in the territory of the Principality of Monaco or not.
When you are choosing an advisor, be sure it/he/she actually lives, works and maintains government approved licenses to deal in the Principality. Obviously, I do not have to write about the significant risks by accepting any advice from an advisor who is not even located or does not maintain a business license in the Principality of Monaco.
My most important advice is: do not sign anything without having yourself backed with a licensed lawyer from the Principality of Monaco. In case anything bad happens without them, it is very hard to enforce your rights, however, with them it can be smooth as silk.
Of course, in many cases, you can save time, energy and money by involving legal advisors or administration assistance service, but be sure that they have the licenses to fulfill their services under the Monégasque law.
In general, a person who is proficient in English or Italian might able to deal with the local administration without learning French. The Principality of Monaco offers various sources to protect your best interests and to help your relocation to Monaco. At the end of this book you can discover some of the selected and highly recommended sources.
I also would like to highlight again that in Monaco you can always approach the Monaco Welcome & Business Office which offers a free of charge guidance for new residents and new business owners. This can be a highly valuable service compared to the independent professionals who are charging 10,000 Euro for a company registration and further 400 Euro/hour on average for the consultancy and preparation works.
However, to have the best possible outcome and support for yourself and your family during this transition, it is highly recommended to engage an independent advisor after your first consultation with the Monaco Welcome & Business Office. Normally, they can recommend you someone who can walk you through the relocation by taking into consideration your individual requirements. This way the process of relocation can be smooth and free from any burdens.
There are companies offering their supporting guidance for you and your family regarding your relocation to the Principality. A good administration assistance partner can expedite and simplify the process because they are working closely with the right service providers to achieve your goals.
I always say that there are two benefits to using an administration assistance partner:
- Sometimes a good administration assistance partner is able to fasten up the processes because they are working closely with the Avocats-Défenseurs and they are able to save serious administration time.
- Furthermore you can also secure the best outcome from your perspective by using the administration assistance companies, because it is always easier to enforce the law on them for a possible underperformance. When you have an administration process related case, Avocats-Défenseurs have no responsibility whether your permit will be granted or not, meanwhile you can make the administration assistance company responsible for the successful execution of your request. This should be one of the milestones reached before the payment of their fees.
Few months ago I was contacted through LivinginMonaco.com by a guy who lives in the USA and wishes to relocate to Monaco. He told me that he already talked with his US bank, Goldman Sachs and he aims to open a Monaco based bank account with them.
I suggested him that he should have a local advisor to guide him through the process to avoid surprises. I also pointed out to him that Goldman Sachs (Monaco) S.A.M. has been closed since 2016. So whoever advised him this bank in 2020, they had a very outdated knowledge. I also sent him the reference statement from the government to prove it from a valid source.
The guy came back to me with a very angry tone, saying that he only trusts his bank and he does not trust any local advisor with his wealth.
I promote Monaco since more than ten years and I have helped hundreds of people and businesses, so I thought I send him some reasonings why to hire an unbiased advisor. I explained to him that if he opens a bank account with a foreign bank, he will still face personal income taxes. This is quite understandable, since the bank is not in Monaco. I also highlighted that administration assistance has nothing to do with handling the wealth. Banks and wealth managers will deal with his assets, not the relocation advisors.
Just to top it up, I also highlighted to him that most of the banks will prefer an investment account. Only a handful of banks offer commercial accounts in Monaco. For example many people from the UK believe that they can have a Barclays or HSBC commercial account, just as in the UK. But in reality, these branches in Monaco hardly open a bank account under a million Euro starting deposit.
What I forgot is that in some cases you can not change the preconception of people. They have to learn it in a hard way. Nevertheless, in many cases people are open to listen and to make conscious steps for their own best interest.
Relocation assistance usually costs around 2,000 – 3,000 Euro, which is nothing compared to the further amounts one has to pay during the process. One should not forget the risks without local guidance versus the benefits. Benefits such as experience, connection and in-depth knowledge. It is not just about money, it is guided help to develop and integrate into the community.
Working with an independent administrative assistance company, you can also create a strong base for your future plans. Some business owners plan to have their Monaco residency at a later point; and many Monaco residents might incorporate later a company for business activities. It is good to be prepared and make steps that will fit the long-term goals.
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Interested in Relocation or Business formation in Monaco?
Zsolt Szemerszky is an independent Monaco Advocate & Revenue Specialist with 10 years experience in the Principality of Monaco. As an author of multiple books on Monaco, Zsolt is guiding new residents through the relocation process. He also helps businesses to navigate on Monaco's "water" and to create revenue productive strategies in order to capitalise their highest potentials.
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