- Buy bonds or shares from publicly-held companies which provide quarterly reports and are regulated by a Government securities administration, sometimes traded in a stock exchange after disclosing the names of their principals, or
- Sending money to a company with unknown promoters after receiving an email (or a "tip" from a "friend") promising double- or triple-digit returns on investment.
The largest Panama corporations trade their shares in the Panama Stock Exchange - Bolsa de Valores de Panama (http://www.panabolsa.com/ - which has Spanish versions of their prospecti). Dividends and return from securities listed in the BVP are free of Panama tax. The operations of the companies listed can be seen all over the city: Banco General - Empresa General de Inversiones (BVP: EGI), Melo (BVP: EMEL), UNESA - Panama owners of TGIF and other franchises (BVP: UNEM) or the companies which shares are owned by the Panama Fixed Income Fund (BVP: INPFIF). A registered Panama stockbroker must be retained to buy these investments.
Other regulated investments are not listed with the Stock Exchange but are registered with the National Securities Commission (http://www.conaval.gob.pa/). As the Commission has become more stringent, the number of unlisted shares in the current list of registered issuers has been reduced.
Many of those businesses are scams which conceal their activities under the name "forex", "trading accounts" and high yield investment accounts.
Before wiring money for one of these "investments", due diligence is important. Check that the company is listed with one government entity (beyond the usual Public Registry incorporation and Ministry of Commerce Business License). Seek references from locals about who runs the business and ask a local person to check out the physical address of the company.
National Securities Commission Warnings about Unlicensed Investments
# GENEVA ASSET MANAGEMENT S.A.
# SCOTT FITZGERALD GROUP
# PROSASK TRADERS CORP
# PDR EXCHANGE (PANAMA), INC. y FUNDACION PAN AMERICA
# Sens CFD Trading, S.A.
# Brics International Capital Inc.
# SECURE ONE INVESTMENT GROUP SECURE ONE HOLDINGS PANAMÁ, INC.
# Global Finance Corporations, S.A.
# Alliance Asset Management
# Guardian & Associates, Inc.
# First Global Ventures, S.A.
# HARLEEM UNIVERSAL CORPORATION
# BRITEX INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
# TIME PUBLISHING
Superintendent of Banks Warnings about Unlicensed Banking Activities