Being a foreigner myself I get a lot of people asking about opening limited companies in the UK. The answer is always the same - the company bit is easy but getting a bank account is difficult. Last time I looked into this was about two years ago when a South African investment company wanted to set up a UK entity through which they would invest in UK companies. The RSA based company had twelve shareholders and every bank I spoke to wanted all the RSA shareholders to tip up to London so they could be KYC'd. They didn't bother so maybe they weren't serious.
So my standard response when I am approached is always, 'if you are serious about the UK then you need to invest in trip over here to open the bank accounts.'
Does anyone know of any banks that allow the KYC to be done at the local branch on behalf of the UK bank? HSBC has offices all over the world but as far as I have been told by them, they don't allow this. I have been approached again today and I was wondering if anything has changed and if anyone else has any solutions.