Rich in history and ancestral linage, the Mauritius Banking Sector has been at the service of the economy since 1838. Mauritius is in fact eulogized as having the oldest banking institution of the south of the Sahara, and one of the oldest banks of the Commonwealth.
Today, the Mauritius IFC is made up of 22 local and international banks, offering a wide array of services, from traditional retail banking facilities to specialized services such as fund administration, private banking, structured trade finance, Islamic banking, investment banking and custody services. All the banks are licensed by the Bank of Mauritius to carry out banking business locally and internationally.
Besides traditional banking facilities, banks offer card-based payment services, such as credit and debit cards internet banking and phone banking facilities. Specialized services such as fund administration, custodian services, trusteeship, structured lending, structured trade finance, international portfolio management, investment banking, private client activities, treasury and specialized finance are also offered by banks.
Banks in Mauritius are provided with a single banking licence which entitle them to conduct both domestic and international transactions, and transact in all currencies, including the Mauritian rupee. In practice, the banking business of a licensed bank is divided into two segments; Segment A relates to all banking businesses with the exception of businesses which give rise to “foreign source income”, which is termed as Segment B.
The Mauritius banking sector has been the recipient of a number of international accolades and awards over the past few years.
• Retail & Corporate Banking
• Private Banking & Wealth Management
• Investment Banking
• Global Business Banking
• Islamic Banking
The fast expanding Mauritian economy and the buoyant regional opportunities present a lot of opportunities for investment in banking in and through Mauritius in the following fields:
Global Business Banking – leveraging on its set of innovative products for investment structuring targeting the emerging countries of Asia and Africa, the Mauritian banking sector offers lucrative opportunities in ‘global business banking.
Private Banking – the increasing pool of High Net Worth Individuals in Mauritius as well as in the region, makes the jurisdiction an ideal platform for private banking and wealth management services.
Investment Banking – the growing need of investments in the region positions Mauritius as the platform of choice for the structuring of financing needs.
Islamic Banking – boosting from a dedicated set of guidelines for Islamic Finance and Banking. Mauritius offers a neutral and competitive platform for the provision of Shariah compliant banking services. Mauritius is rapidly becoming an active player in the global Islamic finance industry. The combination of fiscal and non-fiscal factors has made Mauritius a very attractive jurisdiction to structure Islamic products.
Other Opportunities & Services
- Treasury services, including foreign currencies, risk management and investments
- Funds, including Shari’a-compliant investment funds
- Trade Finance, including letters of credit, bank guarantees and collection and discounting of bills
- Representative offices of foreign banks in Mauritius
The banking sector in Mauritius is governed by the Banking Act 2004 and the Bank of Mauritius Act 2004. The regulator, the Bank of Mauritius, was established in 1967, and was modelled on the Bank of England, the central bank of England. The Bank of Mauritius also governs non-banking deposit taking institutions, and publishes guidelines and guidance notes on all matters pertaining to the commercial operations of banks.
The banks in Mauritius have to adhere to Basel II of the Basel Accords, as well as certain additional elements relating to the strengthening of the capital framework relating to Basel III, as per the reform package issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. It is noteworthy that the banks in Mauritius largely exceed, nearly around 35%, the minimum Tier I capital requirements recommended by the Basel Accords. This explains the resilience of the Mauritius banking system against shocks arising from financial and economic stresses.