Active Bank Account
The first requirement to start up a company (please check the chapter on types of companies for more information) in Belgium is an active bank account at a bank based in Belgium, which must be different and separate from your own private bank account.
To open a bank account in Belgium, you have to present your passport and/or work permit or other documents that cover your stay in Belgium, to a bank in Belgium.
It is always advisable to make an appointment in advance with the bank you wish to join in order to be informed regarding the required documents to open a new bank account because the exact procedure in order to open a bank account will vary according to the bank chosen.
As a result of the Belgian Anti-Money-Laundering legislation banks are obliged to conduct an inquiry into their potential clients. Furthermore they are obliged to develop a policy in relation to the acceptation of clients. Apart from the information concerning your identification (e.g. address of the registered office, stipulations regarding the competence to bind the company etc.) all other information which is relevant to implement the policy in relation to the acceptation of clients may be requested. This may be among others: the activities of the company, the sources of revenue and the sector of industry.
Finally, as a start up company or sole trader, you should also bear in mind the actual changes concerning the SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) and it’s implications towards trading companies. As from the 1st of February 2014, the 28 EU member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Monaco and San Marino can only apply the SEPA system.
This means that, as from the 1st of February 2014, if you are a creditor and you wish to apply a direct debits (automatic payment), you will need to arrange it yourself instead of your bank. For more information you can contact your bank (see contacts).
 Wet van 11 januari 1993 ‘tot voorkoming van het gebruik van het financiële stelsel voor het witwassen van geld en de financiering van terrorisme’, BS 9 februari 1993, 2828; Reglement van 23 februari 2010 van de CBFA ‘betreffende de voorkoming van het witwassen van geld en de financiering van terrorisme’, BS 23 maart 2010, 18568.
Helpdesk Bank Accounts
In 2015, AWDC set up a Bank Account Helpdesk, providing assistance to diamond dealers in their efforts to find banks willing to open a USD bank account.
As the diamond industry rises and falls on the waves of the global economy, the economic slowdown in the BRIC countries – particularly China, the second largest market for polished diamonds after the United States – had a huge impact on the diamond trade.
While the dramatic downturn in the diamond industry resulted in a slight decline in prices for rough diamonds for the first time in decades, soft prices for polished diamonds made it increasingly difficult for diamond traders to turn a profit. As a result, the average profit margins for wholesalers were between 0.11% and 0.37%, the same as in 2014.
Additionally, the banking and sovereign debt crises led to drastic changes in the availability of bank lending to businesses. As a result, many industries found it difficult to obtain financing. For diamantaires, this means that they had fewer resources available for purchasing rough diamonds, which has an impact on the global trade.
In 2015, two FinTech companies, Uphold and FX4Biz, gave a presentation to the Antwerp diamond community on the services they offer during an AWDC Café.
You can download the presentations of both companies in the menu below.