Adrienne Carter has found what looks very much to be the first — but surely not the last — of banks which won’t withstand much if any scrutiny in the wake of the Stanford collapse. Does any of this sound familiar?
- It’s offering interest rates of 7% on 1-year CDs.
- It’s based in a small Caribbean tax haven (in this case, St Vincent & the Grenadines).
- It’s another bank which doesn’t make loans; instead, "Millennium Bank has its own affiliate asset management company with highly seasoned professionals who invest meticulously on a global scale in carefully selected real estate markets and equities as well as viable private investments."
- It’s part of an opaque international financial network. (cf Stanford’s many iterations.)
- Its reassurances are far from reassuring:
Deposits in Millennium Bank are safeguarded by established laws and regulations strongly enforced by the International Financial Services Authority (IFSA). This strict regulatory audit and monitoring system ensures that private or offshore banks are financially viable at all times therefore eliminating the requirement for deposit insurance.
If you haven’t heard of IFSA, don’t worry, it’s a purely domestic institution in St Vincent & the Grenadines, whose full name is actually International Financial Services Authority of St Vincent & the Grenadines.
It’s not clear how many people were greedy or foolish enough to invest their money in Millennium Bank: this is surely a much smaller operation than Stanford. It’s also unclear whether anybody outside St Vincent & the Grenadines has any jurisdiction over this bank: although it claims to be a subsidiary of something called United Trust of Switzerland, that doesn’t mean it has any Alpine connections:
The regulators in Switzerland haven’t heard of United Trust. A spokesperson for the Swiss banking authority said: “The United Trust of Switzerland is not a registered/licensed bank in Switzerland and has also no other license of the Swiss Financial Supervisory Authority.”
If anybody has had any dealings with Millennium Bank, or has a vague idea how big they are, do let me know. Now that the MSM is all over Stanford, the blogs have to move on to the next kill.