We recently invested in a Mercan project by wiring funds directly from the US to Mercan.
Our (non-Mercan) lawyer is now suggesting that we open a Portuguese bank account as the SEF may inquire on this. Is there a certain minimum balance we should keep in the account. We will not be living in Portugal in the immedite future.
The bank that our lawyer is suggesting has a EUR 30,000 minimum deposit which seemed high.
Thanks for the advice and input!
You will need an account to pay for the SEF fees both initially and over the years. It would also be useful to have a debit card for your visits. Mercan should be able to help you open an account but as a US person, ensure the bank is FATCA compliant for US IRS purposes. 30K seems high unless that’s going to be your SEF payment when your GV gets approved. Find out what the min balance is and start with that.
There are several issues here that I would like to point out:
- You’d need a bank declaration certifying the inbound transfer of GV funds from outside PT. Has Mercan confirmed to you that their bank will produce this? Normally you’d have your own PT-based account, where you transfer the money first, and then pay out your GV investment. You then receive the declaration for SEF from your own PT bank.
- 30k min balance is ridiculous. I don’t exactly remember what the min was on my account opening but it was around EUR100 or smth. To be clear, there is no such GV requirement at all to maintain any min balance.
- Stemming from the above, especially #2 - I suggest you may consider changing your lawyer…
We also wired to Mercan directly. It worked fine and I wouldn’t be hesitant to do it.
We used Mercan’s lawyers and they recommended also opening a bank account for the aforementioned reasons but they recommended one with no limit that I’m aware of at Novo Banco. We put in a few hundred euros to make sure it wouldn’t get overdrawn for at least a year as Portuguese banks seem to be extra happy to charge a monthly fee compared to the US where I’ve never paid a fee to my bank outside of trading and wires.
I agree with the other poster that you’re paying extra for a lawyer who recommended a bad bank account so they don’t seem to be providing much or any value
Thanks all for the quick responses. To be fair, it was the bank they had a connection with that showed the EUR 30k in their information packet, but I totally get it.
Mercan’s bank did provide the certification that was required for our GV application, so we’re good there.
For our initial application fees, I wired funds to our attorney and they then paid SEF which is how we got around the delays in opening a bank account.
I’ll politely let our attorney know that the EUR 30.000 is too high, and we’ll go elsewhere.
Maybe your lawyer isn’t communicating the offerings well. 30K is the minimum requirement to have a premium services from a bank, this can be kept in any sort of instrument like cash, investments, bonds et al., Regular bank accounts do not have a good quality services and sometimes non-existent from abroad. I am not sure about the legal structure of Mercan if that qualifies as a fund or not, if you have invested in any of the GV qualifying funds that is more than enough for a premium account with lots of perks attached to it.
On the other hand IAS do a very good job at posting informative GV news updates on their website.
If GV investment is in return for shares of a Portuguese fund, the shares may be required to be “held” by a Portuguese bank. They will show as investment account on annual reporting statements and at liquidation taxes will be likely withheld. I think there are also tax implications related to annual appreciation (gains) and if capital is repatriated. I don’t know if this is relevant to Mercan. Our investment was in a different fund.