Small by design. Built on Expertise. Panama’s base for traditional British service from specialists in the formation and management of offshore corporations, trusts, wherever domiciled, and foundations, providing services to professional firms, institutions and individuals since 1981. Our international public and private sector experience in fiduciary and corporate administration is unrivalled in Panama.
PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS SERVICES
“A failure to guard against optimism and build in a margin for prudence against unexpected events.”
British Government Treasury Report
Trust Services, S.A. can help provide that margin of prudence against unexpected events when making your offshore financial plans. An independent trust company, we are firmly rooted in Panama without any representation or offices outside the country, ensuring the insulation of our client’s affairs. Fiduciary assets for administration should be at least in the six-figure range with our focus on the management of your personal, rather than business, affairs. We offer a limited service in respect of commercial activities where foreign companies wish to conduct business in Panama and need local tax, secretarial, banking, accounting and administrative assistance. After more than 30 years in business in Panama we have become very familiar with the country and the region, so offering an experienced guide for foreigners who find themselves in virgin territory is an immense help. “Latin Primer: A Practitioner’s Perspective” is a useful aid and is also available in print. Being in, but not of, Panama is important because we understand many of the pitfalls you might face. Our first language is English and we have a leading role in supporting both the British Embassy and the British Chamber of Commerce Panama in promoting, in particular, British business in Panama. Both our Fees Schedules and Client Application Form can also be found in the general section of our Articles web page. You can contact us either by:
- Telephone (+507-263-5252)
- Fax (+507-269-4922)
- E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What clients are we looking for? The careful and the conservative is the short answer and this welcoming page has been designed accordingly. Reading all of it will provide you with the preliminary information you require. We are the British face of corporate and fiduciary services in Panama, displaying a level of craftsmanship with handmade solutions that reveals our expertise. We do not want a lot of clients, we want a lot of good clients. Good service means satisfied clients and good clients are the bedrock of our business.
MUSLIMS, POLICEMEN AND SILENT DOGS
DANCING WITH BEES
Read what’s behind the headlines above in the latest issue of our newsletter, Offshore Pilot Quarterly, which has been offering news and views on matters offshore since 1997. Previous issues have been re-printed in whole or in part by professional publications and it is written by our Managing Director, Derek R. Sambrook, an offshore trust and estate practitioner since 1979 and who is a former member of the Latin America and Caribbean Banking Commission as well as a former offshore financial services regulator for the British government. It’s free to subscribers (request your subscription via our Information Request) and all new clients are automatically placed on our mailing list. The current and previous issues can be found on our Newsletter web page.
Similarly, you can read what's behind that headline in the latest issue of Latin Letter which provides a regional roundup of developments as does our Private Client Adviser blog. Current and previous issues are on our website. It's important to avoid appointing Blue Beards rather than grey beards to represent your offshore interests. Learning the ABC of offshore financial services can be hard and hazardous and to request information before reading any further, please click on this link: Confidential Information Request. Trust Services, S.A. has been helping clients since 1981, presenting the facts in black and white, just like this website (except for a dash of blue and red) designed and written by us. You’ll find no fancy graphics or frills here, because our philosophy is to put substance before style and performance before presentation. We rely on that most enduring source of publicity: personal recommendation. Here are examples of what some of our clients have said:
"In military citations for medals, there is the standard phrase of "for services above and beyond the call of duty" and you certainly satisfy that criterion". "I would like you to know that I am truly happy and can think clearly now as well as sleep like a baby thanks to your advices and services that you provided me with".
"... and just wanted to add that his [Derek Sambrook] company is the best I have ever worked with - by far. They are hands down the greatest company I have ever had the pleasure of doing business with".
"I know some people may find it counter productive to ask their lawyer if they should or shouldn't start another corporation or not. With the thinking being that of course the lawyer would like that...for added business. However, I trust your recommendations explicitly and appreciate your candor. I know that you have my best interests in mind...and for that I appreciate it".(This reference mistakenly refers to our Managing Director as a lawyer, but the sentiment expressed is unchanged).
"I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and would like to tell you how impressed we are, not only with your professional services and knowledge but also with your personable and comforting presentation. Once again, after going over the material provided and reading through the web-site information – we are convinced that your organisation is the one that we would like to assist us…”
“Your results have consistently matched your word, which is a rarity in today’s business environment”.
"At the risk of boring you, I must once again tell you how comforting and simply terrific it is to deal with such professionals like Trust Services! Your prompt replies and excellence of service and knowledge of offshore protocol are simply unmatched!"
"The next time that Greek philosopher Diogenes "lights his lantern looking for an honest man", I will mention your name".
One local International Living (www.internationalliving.com) seminar prompted an attendee to comment:
“I’ve been to many conferences and seminars in the past, because I believe that it’s worthwhile to pay for personal education. But this is the best because it’s not just one speaker or one point of view but a wide array of information. The presentation by Derek Sambrook of Trust Services was worth the price of the seminar alone. He’s the first person that I want to talk to when I return to Panama.”
Trust Services, S.A. is a licensed independent trust company which reached its 30th anniversary milestone in 2011, and although many changes have taken place in the offshore financial services industry during that time, the one constant for our clients has been our standard of service. We do not accept commissions from any third parties and so any introductions we make are for the sole benefit of our clients. Any lawyers, bankers, investment institutions that we recommend, therefore, are given in your best interests. It's not what they can do for us, but what they can do for our client that counts. Reputation comes before remuneration. We follow the credo: “Never ask for, or think of, commission when tackling a business”. These wise words were spoken by Antony Hornby who, in the 1950s and 1960s, ran Cazenove & Co., a British investment bank and whose clients included the Queen of England. To quote from Othello: "Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial". Professionals recognise that it is also the immortal part of business.
Our offices were purchased in 1993 and are conveniently located on the City’s sea front in the premier commercial location of Marbella.
You can confirm our licensing status by visiting the website of the Superintendency of Banks at www.superbancos.gob.pa (empresas fiduciarias) and reviewing the list of licensees in good standing.
Every independent trust company needs not only adequate financial, but intellectual, capital as well. A dedicated, trained and bilingual staff (with most senior staff having worked for the firm since the 1980s) has given our clients efficiency and continuity. The next generation of managers is already in place so that our clients need not have any concerns about the continuity of our representation. As a family business we understand the importance of managing wealth and attention to detail. Our auditors for more than twenty years have been Deloitte. What is the first step? Where do you turn? We hope that answers to these and other questions will be found in our compilation of essays, which can be read on our Articles web page. They are the distillation of decades of experience in the field.
Despite popular belief, not all business has taxes as the raison d´être for going offshore. Very often, unique investment and business opportunities are available offshore where access to foreign markets, currency diversification and a broader selection base of mutual funds are available. It is also where a greater degree of business privacy can be found. Centralising international wealth management under the control of specialists means that financial institutions such as Trust Services, S.A., for example, are able to offer co-ordination of bank and investment accounts, administration, bookkeeping and liaison with other professional providers. And if Panamanian tax or accounting advice is needed, we can provide that also in-house with qualified accountants on our staff. Then there’s litigation, often a reason to place assets offshore without any regard to tax savings. Litigation is a feature of every stratum of society, especially in the United States where a common belief prevails that, no matter the circumstances, someone else is to blame for an individual’s personal adversity. No longer is a plaintiff even required to demonstrate actual injury. In January, 2000, the United States Supreme Court (Friends of the Earth vs. Laidlaw) introduced a standard that permits a plaintiff to claim on the grounds of possible, and not just proven, injury. This blame game avoids issues such as personal responsibility or self-reliance and is the reason why litigation looms large in everyday life in America today. Thus the attraction of insulating assets from lawsuits through a legitimate offshore structure which may well be tax-neutral and provide little or no privacy whatsoever. It is not surprising that some people, caught unwittingly in the grip of litigation, may feel that the Statue of Liberty is right where it should be: offshore. That’s where an increasing number of Americans in particular are seeking the protection which they feel they need. Most of them probably agree with the poet Robert Frost’s sardonic statement that a successful lawsuit is the one worn by a policeman. More in-depth commentary on the litigation epidemic will be found in Volume 6, Number 4 and Volume 8, Number 1, of our Offshore Pilot Quarterly under the titles of "A Boy Named Sue" and "The Nervous and the Naked", respectively. (Click on the Offshore Pilot icon.)
In many cases we serve as advisers (particularly in the case of foundations and trusts) offering solutions and designing structures that are architecturally sound for implementation by overseas parties. The firm provides similar fiduciary services to those offered in the British offshore centres, which makes us unique in Panama. As our Managing Director described us during the course of a paper he presented on Latin America at Oxford University in UK in 2010: "Cayman on the Isthmus" We have been simplifying the complex for more than 30 years and we offer a package, not just a product. We can, in turn, structure a corporation with bank and brokerage accounts, including debit and credit cards, which can be managed by a trust or foundation to complete your estate planning. All our activities are protected by the strict confidentiality laws of Panama that impose fines, imprisonment and, where applicable, revocation of licences for those professionals who breach them. Continuity is guaranteed with additional protection afforded under the fiduciary laws of Panama. Our 3 directors and long-serving skilled staff are qualified to deal with your fiduciary, corporate, accounting and banking requirements within the confines of our secure offices. The PGP encryption system is available for those clients wishing to use it. Please go to our Services web page for full details of our fees and when reviewing them, always remember that services, like wine, may appear the same, but price is usually commensurate with quality. To quote John Ruskin, the Victorian art critic: "It's unwise to pay too much, but it's unwise to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that’s all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought is incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.” And he added: “There is hardly anything in the world which someone can’t make a little worse and sell a little cheaper – and people who consider price alone are this man’s lawful prey.”
We have adopted the Code of Professional Conduct of The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners in the United Kingdom, of which our Managing Director and Trust Officer are members. The full text of the code can be found at www.step.org.
Panama is a bridge between two oceans. Trust Services, S.A. is a bridge between two objectives: successful planning and implementation of an offshore strategy. It is delivering the service that counts and you must look beyond the gloss and sheen so frequently encountered. Put us to the "e-mail efficiency test" - see how long it takes us to reply to your message and then make comparisons. You'll find it reassuring. Whether you choose Trust Services, S.A. or not be sure to do your research and avoid what we call the 7 Deadly Sins (enter our website and click on our Company icon). The advice is priceless.
Important Note: Remember when you're telephoning us to first dial your country's international dialling code (011 in the case of the United States, for example) before our country code (507). The time zone for Panama is -5 hours GMT(summer) and -6 hours GMT (winter).