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Numbered Account

Some banks offer Numbered Accounts as an alternative to the Named Account. The purpose of the Numbered Account is to reduce to a bare minimum the bank employees who have access to the name of the account holder.

The classic Numbered Account is legendary in the popular culture, as expressed in countless movies and books. Every self-respecting spy, mercenary, or other financially astute international criminal always demands a substantial advance deposit in his Numbered Account before performing the requested services. The Numbered Account is like home base. It represents the ultimate in safety and security. Funds tucked away in the Numbered Account are home free.

In this case the reality is fairly close to the popular conception. Numbered Accounts do offer increased privacy. In the usual case, the customer’s name and address will be provided on the account opening agreement together with the customer’s signature. The difference with the Named Account is that the information, other than the account number, will not be entered in the general bank system which most employees can access. Instead, the account will be assigned for personal handling to an individual account manager. The file with the customer’s name is maintained separately from the Named Accounts, with access available only to key personnel. Normally, the investment of the funds and any withdrawals or deposits are based upon some agreed form of communication between the account manager and the customer. When the communication is not face to face, such as by telephone or written instruction, a secret code will be applied in addition to the account number.

Unlike the Named Account, the true Numbered Account requires a higher degree of special handling which not all banks are equipped to supply. And since every bank is justifiably averse to providing special services without compensation, the Numbered Account will be more expensive to maintain and may only be available to those with substantial sums to deposit.

As a word of caution, an offer of an alleged Numbered Account in Antigua, Nevis, or Belize should be met with a high degree of skepticism. Numbered Accounts are the exclusive province of the banks with strict standards and specialized training for management and account executives. These banks can generally be found in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg, with a tradition and culture of personal service and professional expertise. Caribbean branches of the European banks may also offer properly skilled and trained staff who provide high quality private banking services. Any prospective customer should carefully investigate the reputation and performance of any offshore bank before placing lifetime savings in their care.

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