private fundations

What are the characteristics of Panamanian Private Foundations (PIF)?

Panama Private Foundations

Founder: Is the person who establishes or subscribes to the foundation in the Public Registry of Panama, owner of the funds and goods that will be transferred.

The founder can be one or more natural persons or a juridical person of any nationality.

Foundation council: To operate, the foundation must have a foundation council, which is the one in charge of managing the foundation before the government and third parties.

Our clients have the option to choose two types of foundation councils:

  • Natural persons: To do business, the foundation shall have a minimum of three persons of any nationality to form the foundation council. The council members’ names and addresses will appear in the foundation charter that must be registered at the Panama Public Registry. The client appoints three persons for the foundation council, or, if preferred, we may appoint members of the nominee council. We offer this service to protect our clients` privacy and anonymity.
  • A legal person: A national or foreign juridical person can be the foundation council. For example, it can be a Panamanian Corporation or a Hong Kong Corporation.

The founder could likewise participate in the foundations’ management, with all the majority of the juridical person’s shares acting as council being issued in his favor (as registered or bearer shares).

Protector: The client might choose to appoint a protector, who will be appointed to ensure strict compliance with the objectives and purpose of the foundation, as well as the interest of the beneficiaries.

The protector can be a natural or juridical person, the client, or a trusted person named by the client. There are two ways to designate a protector:

  • By the foundation council during the incorporation process and appearing in the foundation charter.
  • Through a private document authenticated by a Public Notary, the client holds complete control of the foundation in a private manner.

Beneficiaries: These are the persons or institutions receiving benefits from the foundation.

In Panama, the beneficiary of a foundation can be the founder. It is not required to list the foundations’ beneficiaries in the foundation charter (A legal document registered in the Public Registry). You can list them in the “Regulations of the Foundation” (A private document that is not registered).

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