After the world economic crisis of 2008, the Portuguese economy is recovering at an amazing pace. Probably no other Western European country looks so inviting to foreign investors today. A business company registered in Portugal and a bank account opened in Switzerland will allow entering a huge consumer market and thus growing your income.
Portugal: an overview
People have lived on the territory of contemporary Portugal since times immemorial. Different tribes and nations inhabited the land before the middle ages. However, the country remains very much within it present borders since mid-thirteenth century. Very few states on the planet are as old as Portugal.
The country is located on the Iberian Peninsula in the southwest of Europe on the Atlantic shore. The only country it borders is Spain but foreign businesspeople residing in Portugal note that the country is not to be thought of as ‘western Spain’ as the mentalities and the cultures in these two countries are quite different.
The population of Portugal currently exceeds ten million people and its GDP per capita is above the European average. The salaries are generally lower in Portugal than in other Western European states. The minimum wage allowed by law is 580 EUR. However, the cost of living in Portugal is also lower, which makes residing in Portugal as comfortable as anywhere else in Europe. Life in big cities such as Lisbon and Porto is more expensive, of course, but anything close to 1,000 EUR per month will suffice to live a relaxed life in other parts of the country.
The economy of Portugal is truly diversified: you could not pick one industry and say that it contributes more than any other industry to the national budget. Agriculture and heavy machinery manufacture, fisheries and textile factories, vineyards and electronic production – Portugal has all of these and much more. Thus, the choice of business areas in Portugal is immense indeed.
Another important factor that should set you thinking about moving to Portugal is its climate and its natural attractions. No other country in Europe is warmer than Portugal and the coastline is simply gorgeous. A boat trip along the Portuguese shores would be an unforgettable experience without doubt.
Invest in Portugal
It must be admitted that Portugal incurred heavier losses than some other countries when the world economy nearly collapsed about ten years ago. More bankruptcies occurred and more jobs were lost in Portugal in than in Europe on average.
What looks promising, however, is that Portugal is recovering from the heavy economic blow of a decade ago much faster than some other European states do such as Italy or Greece, for example. First of all, the country’s authorities now see the need for a mentality change and they are working in that direction. As many other warm-climate nations, the Portuguese have generally been rather relaxed and not overly industrious. The new economic reality is making them change some of their old habits and adjust to the tougher challenges of today.
Besides, the Government of Portugal have taken several notable measures to attract more foreign capital to the country’s economy. A number of legislative acts have been altered to make Portugal more inviting for businesspeople from abroad. In addition to that, there are multiple business acceleration Government programs in the country and around seventy business incubators that provide all sorts of support to start-up companies. Large-scale foreign investors can also benefit from some serious tax incentives in Portugal.
To conclude, the Portuguese economy is on the rise and its future looks promising. With the government-initiated incentives in place, with the people’s determination to work harder, and with the comparatively lower operational costs, establishing a business company in Portugal sounds like a good idea indeed.
Register a company in Portugal
Different forms of company ownership are available in Portugal but we recommend that you set up an LLC, or LDA, as it is abbreviated in Portuguese.
The most obvious and undeniable advantage of an LLC is that your personal assets will remain intact in case your company goes bust (God forbid!). However, there are other reasons to incorporate a limited liability company in Portugal.
First, unlike in many other countries, the Portuguese legislation allows establishing a one-owner LLC. Such a company can be established in two slightly different ways but the essence will remain the same: the single owner’s liability will be limited to the amount of his or her company charter capital. The company can be registered in the name of a private individual or a legal entity. The charter capital cannot be less than 5,000 EUR but this limitation certainly does not sound overwhelming.
You can also set up a private LLC where several people or several legal entities act as company constitutors. Again, the financial liabilities of each constitutor will not exceed his or her contribution to the company funds. The minimum required amount of the charter capital is the same as in the previous case – 5,000 EUR.
These two forms of company proprietorship will suit small- and medium-size businesses in Portugal. However, if you are thinking of starting a larger-scale business in the country, you should consider establishing a public LLC. The minimum required charter capital will be ten times more with this type of company – 50,000 EUR – but this company ownership form has an important advantage over a private LLC. Since it is a public company, its shares can be listed on the Portuguese stock exchange. This can let you raise additional funds for company development and business expansion.
Theoretically, you can also establish a Sole Proprietorship or a Partnership in Portugal. However, a sole proprietor’s liabilities are unlimited, which surely does not make him or her feel comfortable when making business decisions. For partnerships, the same is true: in a General Partnership all Partners have unlimited liabilities, while in a Limited Partnership at least one Partner has to put his or her personal assets at stake.
Whichever form of company ownership you prefer, we will be happy to assist you in company formation in Portugal.
With our assistance, you will not have to turn any heavy stones in order to have a business company registered in Portugal. This is not to say that you will have to do absolutely nothing but not too much.
Actually, we need only three documents to start the process of company registration in Portugal. These are the following ones:
- Passport copies for all company constitutors;
- Proofs of addresses for all of them (any document carrying your name, your address, and the date of issuance can serve as proof of your address; utility bills are most often used for this purpose);
- Articles of Association for the prospective company.
While supplying the first two documents on the list is easy, compiling the third one is a little more complicated. The Articles of Association shall contain all the basic information about the company that you intend to establish in Portugal. The name of the company has to be provided (see below on choosing the name for your Portuguese company) and the names of all company constitutors need to be specified as well. Besides, the company management and ownership structures have to be clearly described in the Articles of Association as well as the responsibilities and the rights of the company management personnel. Besides, the prospective spheres of business activities need to be specified and the decision-making process described. If the company is going to be owned by more than one individual or legal entity, the share transfer procedures need to be described as well, and so on.
Shortly speaking, compiling the Articles of Association for your future Portuguese company is going to take some time and effort. At the same time, we have several standard samples of Articles of Association that we have obtained from the Portuguese Trade Registry. That is to say, these samples represent the types of Articles of Association that will be accepted by the Registrar without any reservations provided that they are completed in a proper way. We will be happy to help you draw up the right kind of the Articles of Association for your prospective company in Portugal.
In case you are planning to set up a company in Portugal registered in the name of a legal entity rather than a private individual, the list of the required documents is going to be longer. In addition to the personal documents of all existing company owners, directors, and other beneficiaries, you will have to supply the full package of the constitutive company corporate documents. When applying for our services, please inform us how you want to proceed and we will tell you what documents are needed if you want a legal entity to be the owner of your Portuguese company.
As far as the company official name is concerned, the Portuguese Trade Registry treats this issue in a manner that is a bit unusual. This agency has a list of preapproved names and you can select one of them to serve as the official name of your company. If out of vanity you want to use a unique company name that you have invented yourself, you will have to pay 1,200 EUR more for the registration and wait 15 days longer until your new Portuguese company is registered with the authorities (this time is needed for them to approve the name). We would vote against this option but it is up to you to decide. What may comfort you is that the registered name can appear on the official documents only while you can use any other brand name (or ‘shop window name’) in your business operations.
Another important point to bear in mind when establishing a company in Portugal is the necessity to acquire a TIN (Tax Identification Number) in the country. The company owner(s), its director(s), and all other beneficiaries shall have personal Portuguese TIN’s. What is more, the company itself shall have a corporate TIN as well. Unless a company in Portugal has a TIN, the banks cannot open accounts for it.
We know where to go and what to do in order to acquire personal and corporate TIN’s in Portugal. This is what we do: we assist clients with all sorts of administrative matters.
A bank account in Switzerland for your Portuguese company
We can register the company in Portugal for you remotely but in order to set up an account with the Swiss bank that we are promoting here you will have to meet with the banker in person. You can go to Zurich and have a meeting with him or her there. Otherwise, it may be possible to organize your meeting with the banker in another European capital as the bank managers are often on the road.
Switzerland’s reputation as the world banking center is unshakable and your Portuguese company will undoubtedly gain a lot of benefits when it opens a corporate account with a Swiss bank. It is true that today many banks, especially those located in reputable jurisdictions, want to be double cautious when accepting new clients. However, we will help you collect and submit the application documents in a way that will maximize your chances of being serviced by the bank that we are bringing to your consideration.
This bank has several clear advantages over other Swiss banks. First, it does accept US dollar deposits while many others do not. Second, with this bank you can acquire credit cards from three different world-renown card issuers, which is also a rarity.
Currently, you can be issued the following pay cards if you open an account in the Swiss bank:
- VISA cards (Classic, Premiere, or Prepaid);
- MasterCard (Classic or Premiere);
- American Express cards.
The third factor that makes this bank specifically inviting is that its commissions and fees are relatively low. In our opinion, the combination of these factors should make the bank your first choice.
There are some additional advantages that the Swiss bank offers. These include the following:
- Instant access to the account information via the Internet;
- Technical support in multiple languages;
- High level of financial information confidentiality.
With all the benefits that the bank offers, it implements very strict due diligence procedures, as client identification is vitally important for the bank’s operations. The managers will want to develop a clear understanding of what business your company is engaged in and what its management structure is. They will want to know who your suppliers, consumers, and partners are. Especially in the case of a complex company ownership structure, the bankers will also want to understand who the ultimate company beneficiaries are.
You have to submit quite a large number of corporate and personal documents in order to be serviced by this bank. This is where our assistance will come in especially handy. We have collaborated with the Swiss bank for many years and we know what kind of information they require and how they want it presented. We will help you compile all the documents in a way that will maximize your chances to pass the stringent security check and have a corporate account opened for your Portuguese company.
Documents required for opening a corporate account in the Swiss bank
In order to set up a corporate account with this bank you will have to submit the originals (they will be returned to you) or notarized and apostilled copies of the following official documents:
- Company registration certificate;
- Company Charter or By-Laws;
- Directors’ appointment protocol;
- Certificate of Incumbency issued not earlier than six months ago;
- Power of Attorney in the name of a trusted agent (if the account is to be managed by such an agent);
- Passport copies for the director(s), representatives/ trusted agents, and all company beneficiaries.
In addition to these documents, you will have to fill out several bank forms that we will supply to you. We will also guide you through the form completion process, as filling out these forms can be tricky. It is important to realize that the information you provide must be true and exhaustive.
The exact time required for the bank compliance procedures is impossible to predict. The bank treats every application individually. Judging by our experience, setting up a corporate account with this Swiss bank usually takes about one month.
Bank fees, commissions, and other service conditions
Being serviced at this bank is both lucrative and convenient. You will have to have a personal talk with a bank representative only once and all the subsequent communication will be done via facsimile or electronic messages. Besides, you will be given a special coding device that generates unique keys that are used as the client’s signature.
You can open a Swiss franc (CHF), a Euro (EUR), or a US dollar (USD) account with this bank. On a special agreement with the bank, opening accounts in other world currencies is also possible. Thus, both incoming and outgoing payments can be made in the currency of your choice. If a payment is made in a different currency, the bank will convert the sum at the rate effective on the day of payment.
In addition to your corporate account, you can also set up a current and an investment account with this bank.
You can access your account information via the Internet. Payments can also be done remotely but only under the supervision of the bank manager as all payments are subject to control. The bank assigns a personal manager to every client.
This minimum required security deposit for a corporate account with this bank is CHF 250,000 or the equivalent in another currency.
Some bank tariffs
|Type of payment||Commission amount and frequency|
|Account opening fee||1,000 CHF (single payment)|
|Account maintenance fee||500 CHF a year (written down once per quarter)|
|Outgoing payments commission
0,20%, min. 300 CHF, max. 500 CHF
0,20%, min. 20 CHF, max. 350 CHF
|Outgoing payments to recharge the pay card||25 CHF (for every payment)|
|Incoming payments||FREE OF CHARGE|
|Investment account opening fee||250 CHF|
Please note that these tariffs and other requirements are effective on the date this text is written. They are subject to change so you will be advised to contact us at email@example.com for updated information.
Additional services that the bank provides
Once you set up a corporate account in this bank, you can use some additional banking and financial services that are available. You are welcome to open the following types of accounts:
- A broker’s account;
- A precious metal account;
- A fiduciary account;
- An investment account for asset management.
The minimum first deposit for each of these accounts is CHF 100,000.
The bank’s corporate clients can also make use of the following services:
- Currency exchange operations;
- Special accounts for the settlement of payments against separate commercial operations;
- Secured loan issuance;
- Trade guarantee provision.
The bank can also help you enter the Swiss market if you wish.
You can use any of the abovementioned currencies to make a fixed-term deposit with the bank for up to five years. The interest rate is calculated individually as it depends on the deposit term, its amount, and its currency.
To help you optimize the interest rates the bank offers fiduciary services to its clients. On an agreement with you, they can put the capital outside Switzerland in other country’s banks with faultless credit histories.
To conclude, what you have to do in order to obtain service from the Swiss bank is meet with a manager and submit the document package specified above. If you are an honest businessperson with a transparent company registered in Portugal, you should have no problems setting up a corporate bank account in Switzerland. Especially if you use our assistance in this matter.
What you should do to start a company in Portugal and open a bank account in Switzerland
First, drop us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org if this text has arisen your interest in incorporating in Portugal and acquiring banking services in Switzerland. Next, we will have to have a thorough discussion with you about your current standings and your precise goals and intentions. If this discussion shows that we are unable to provide the services to you, we will tell you so in plain language.
If we are, however, we will ask you to cover the cost of our services that starts at 6,299 EUR (you can pay us in any way you like) and supply all the necessary documents to us. When we have both, we will launch company incorporation in Portugal first. This process should take no more than two weeks in a normal case. When the company is established, we will file the application for the corporate account opening with the Swiss bank. You will have to stay in touch with us during the whole time until the account is set up in case the bank requires some additional information from you.
Registering a company in Western Europe may be not so easy, let alone opening an account in a Swiss bank. But we have done it before and we certainly can do it again. This time – for you.