One of the things I really enjoy about my job is its global nature. Every day I work with clients around the world. Having been unable to leave Johor Bahru, Malaysia (where Healy Consultants has an office) for more than a year, I value the daily connections I have with clients, suppliers, government departments and banks in other countries.
And so it was that I was recently assigned a case to assist a client to register a simple limited liability company, and open a corporate bank account, in Canada. It was my first engagement in the country, and one for which I anticipated few major challenges. Canada is, after all, one of the world’s easiest places to start a business. There are no language barriers, and most procedures are clear, transparent and quick.
And so it proved during company registration. Our Client’s company offers road safety-related products, in-car safety devices and driving aids to customers in Canada. Our Client wanted to pay the engagement fees in instalments, which was no problem.
We received the certificate of incorporation and other corporate documents from the registrar just a week after applying. Next step, opening the bank account.
This is typically the most challenging part of any engagement, particularly if – as was the case with this engagement – the shareholders and directors live outside the country where the account is being opened.
One potential deal breaker: some banks insisting on the bank signatory travelling to the bank branch for a one-hour interview (even if they want to, few clients can hop on a plane at the moment).
Another challenge: bank compliance departments everywhere are asking for more and more information on shareholders and directors, the company’s activities and its potential clients, before onboarding them. Canada is no exception.
One effective strategy to accelerate bank account opening, and to avoid our client having to travel, is the use of a nominee resident director. We’d raised this solution with our client before they had officially engaged us, and the client agreed this would work for them. For peace of mind, we have a detailed nominee and indemnity agreement in place for our clients.
The nominee therefore attended the bank interview in person in Canada. The account was opened in just one week, albeit without a Visa debit card which our client wanted. The nominee approached a second bank, and within two days another account was opened, plus a Visa debit card. Our Client was able to sign contracts, issue invoices, receive funds and pay suppliers.
It’s satisfying to know that, in an increasingly complex and unpredictable world, our practical, simple solutions are still the basis of success in any engagement. That’s something that our clients really value.