Offshore financial centers (OFCs) are usually referred to as:
- Jurisdictions that have relatively large numbers of financial institutions engaged primarily in business with non-residents;
- Financial systems with external assets and liabilities out of proportion to domestic financial intermediation designed to finance domestic economies; and
- More popularly, centers that provide some or all of the following services: low or zero taxation, moderate or light financial regulation, banking secrecy, and anonymity
However, the definition is by no means clear-cut. OFCs range from centers such as Hong Kong and Singapore with well-developed financial markets and infrastructure, and where a considerable amount of value is added to transactions undertaken for non-residents, to centers with smaller populations, such as some of the Caribbean and European centers, where the added value is limited to the provision of professional infrastructure.