IBC in the Marshall Islands: Thumbs up or Thumbs Down?

One day you just want to stay at home and have a lazy evening, drinking your tea with marshmallows and watching the night city lights switch on one after another. But another day is different, and you feel like joining some active party with shining eyes around and loud music playing… Well, each way of having a good time fits its purpose if you know what you are doing and why. In this post, we are going to talk about the registration of an offshore company in the Marshall Islands, which is by no means a universal choice – like there is no one right way to spend the evening.

However, it may be a great opportunity if you take it in the right circumstances.

The legal form typically registered in the Marshall Islands is an IBC (international business company). Here we will consider the cases when a Marshall Islands IBC is a good or bad choice, and focus on some aspects of the company setup and operation. If you feel that this may well be a good choice for you and you need more information, read a longer article on Marshall Islands International Business Company formation on our portal or find an expert there who will answer any of your questions.

Let’s start by admitting that a Marshall Islands IBC would definitely be a poor choice in some cases:

  • We don’t recommend it if you intend to establish a bank or trust or engage in insurance or reinsurance activities. In these instances, registration of an IBC is either impossible or senseless as it will not demonstrate its full potential.
  • Gambling as a business (like an online casino) is an absolute no-go for the jurisdiction of the Marshall Islands.
  • Finally, this is not the best destination for those seeking anonymity as it is heavily dependent on the United States, the world’s leader in matters of transparency and information disclosure.

However, some entrepreneurs still opt for the Marshall Islands, and they have reasons to do so that we are going to look at.


When is the Republic of the Marshall Islands an optimal choice for your business?

  • You are going to start a company that owns yachts and ships registered in the Marshall Islands. The jurisdiction is a popular choice for this purpose, which is evidenced by its extensive ship register – actually, it’s one of the largest ones in the world!
  • You are planning an IPO to ensure your company is listed on the largest global exchanges. This is the case when you don’t need privacy as it conflicts with the requirements set for the IPO procedure. On the contrary, you will need a detailed company audit, which is in line with the laws of the jurisdiction. About 40 companies registered in the Marshall Islands have successfully completed the IPO procedure to date, so your company may be on the list, too. If you have (or are going to develop) a financial plan leading up to the IPO stage, an IBC in the Marshall Islands may be considered a priority option.
  • You intend to launch a startup and attract investments. In this case, investors will have more trust in you as a company set up according to the requirements of the Marshall Islands is obliged to have a clear exit strategy. And this is the cornerstone of any relations, business relations included: you and your partners should know how to withdraw.
  • You know that you will sell a part of your business in the future with the highest degree of probability, and you want to do it easily.
  • Last but not if your company sells goods or services and/or works online only, chances are that the Marshall Islands may be the destination of your choice that will suit your needs perfectly.

If you see at this point that the Marshall Islands IBC may be a good option for your business, you could be interested to take a look at the main aspects of the entity setup:

  • The IBC’s management structure requires two positions, a director and a secretary. These can be held by individuals or legal entities.
  • If you still want to preserve as much privacy as possible, you can legally use a nominee service in the Marshall Islands and engage a local nominee director and secretary.
  • If you are on a tight budget, the positions of a director and a secretary may be held by one person (who can be a beneficial owner at the same time).
  • You will need to invent a unique name for your company (written in Latin letters) – and it’s better to come up with several options in case the main one is unavailable.
  • There are no requirements for the size or currency of your share capital. You can choose even a symbolic amount of $1.
  • If you decide to use bearer shares, some banks may refuse to work with you.

Transparency and compliance are set as priorities in the Marshall Islands, which gives rise to certain requirements to be mindful of:

  • Be ready to provide the data on beneficial owners as soon as you receive a request from the registered agent or the government.
  • All IBCs in the Marshall Islands are subject to mandatory annual certification.
  • The list of the company’s key employees is subject to checks, and any violations detected may entail a fine or even company dissolution in extreme cases.
  • If you decide to issue bearer shares, you will need to maintain a register of owners as part of the island’s efforts to increase transparency.

As you’ve probably managed to see, the Marshall Islands is a special jurisdiction, and you need to know its peculiarities before you decide to form a company there. This is not just another offshore destination, but a country with a special legal framework whose requirements have to be respected.

You can read our longer article by following the link above to find out the list of documents submitted to establish an IBC in the Marshall Islands and the price of this procedure, get the expert you need, ask questions, or look at the list of additional services you may require along with the registration, like opening a bank account.

We wish you to find a perfect jurisdiction to realize all of your business plans!

About Carolyn Lang