Many have defined citizenship by investment (CBI) as the ultimate global mobility asset; a means to obtain a travel document that opens up the world and gives its holder freedom of travel and cement their status as a true global citizen. The ultimate luxury for those who can afford it and a resilient Plan B for those who need it.
But CBI has transcended the stamp of global mobility to offer its holders something more; financial freedom. But how does CBI undo the shackles of rigorous financial structures and give the elite the ability to maintain and grow their wealth?
Financial freedom can come in many forms and sizes, but CBI offers the most complete package a global investor can dream of. The first shackle CBI breaks investors from is that of tedious taxation. Many of the elite see their finances bleed due to merciless tax regimes, and they have no choice but to abide by a tax structure that takes a lot, and in many cases, does not offer much in return.
The Coronavirus pandemic has astutely highlighted the fragility of the global economic system. Some made money off the pandemic, but many others lost hefty amounts, and the bigger you are, the harder you fall. As governments scramble to deal with the economic fallout of a worldwide crisis, the first reaction is to take a gander at their imposed taxes with an eye on raising them to cope with the financial burden thrust upon them. Then we hear the dreaded but familiar term of “wealth tax”. CBI remedies that by offering investors another option, one more lenient and understanding that allows the elite more control over the wealth they have amassed through sweat and tears.
CBI also gives investors the option to open bank accounts in countries that have more user-friendly banking procedures. For investors coming from countries that have financial sanctions or complicated banking regulations, this could give them more freedom in moving their money throughout the globe without needing to worry every time they conduct a transaction.
Even doing business becomes easier, as Caribbean CBI countries, which we will cover in more detail below, allow for simple registration of companies as well as a simple process for establishing corporations that allow for simpler business transactions than those you would find in some nations throughout the world.
Countries such as Turkey and Montenegro offer CBI, but it is the nations in the Caribbean that offer the greatest financial freedom to investors through their citizenship by investment programs (CIPs) Let’s take a look at how Caribbean CBI can not only grant you the freedom to travel the world, but do so for your finances as well.
Heroes of the Caribbean
Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, and St. Lucia house some of the world’s most prominent CIPs. Their CIPs have reasonable prices (investors could get a passport starting at 100,000 USD), process applications quickly (as little as three months), and provide applicants and their family members with solid passports.
What is more interesting, however, is that these countries are tax-havens. While that term may not be uttered with endearment by government-driven media, they are the last resort for investors to safeguard their wealth from the greed of some governments and their crushing tax regimes.
Tax-havens are plentiful worldwide; the likes of Ireland and the UAE are considered by many to be among the list, but neither offer CBI nor do they meet the favorable tax regime you’d find in the Caribbean.
Global income tax, inheritance tax, capital gains tax, and wealth tax are not imposed in the Caribbean, meaning you are truly free to enjoy the wealth you have worked tirelessly collecting. No greedy government hands dipping in your pockets every time something goes wrong.
The Caribbean nations go a step further, building upon their CIPs to create a sustainable economic landscape that forgoes the need for debilitating taxes. These are countries that have the UK’s expertise in setting up their operations but make up for the lower resources by being extraordinarily innovative. These Caribbean nations not only took UK expertise but adopted the UK’s common law (with the exception of St. Lucia which has a hybrid of UK common law and French civil law), meaning investors can rest assured they are protected within a familiar legal structure. They are also members of the CARICOM and the OECS, robust unions in the Caribbean. Investors who obtain CBI of one of the nations are free to live, work, and take advantage of the economic landscape of all members of these unions.
Caribbean nations rely on the touristic sector as the base of their economy. That status shifted a bit in 1984 when St. Kitts & Nevis introduced its CIP. At first, the idea of the CIP was to bring in unencumbered foreign funds to boost the economy, but it has since then evolved drastically into something much more.
CIPs in the Caribbean pour investments into either government-managed development funds or real estate investments. The former helps governments diversify their economy, create sustainable economic ventures, or raise the living standard within its shores. The latter comes in the shape of five-star resorts that help boost tourism and create jobs for the local population.
The countries also set a standard for CIP applicants, as they want to bring in the best the world has to offer. By selecting specific criteria and a robust due diligence process, they can ensure they bring the elite to their shores. These countries are sensible. They know that bringing in the best investors worldwide and giving them the financial freedom they need may result in more significant benefits than just bleeding them dry through unreasonable taxation.
High net-worth individuals have a habit of making money right and left. The Caribbean nations want them to continue doing so in a relaxed environment, which may lead to higher job creation, attracting more businesses to their shores, and overall economic diversification and growth.
And herein lies the truth about tax-havens; they are not countries that are not strict or regulated enough which resort to cheap tricks to bring in the wealthy, but the exact opposite. Tax-havens are nations that identify the true benefit of letting businesses and people thrive; they have the foresight to see the actual benefits of a lack tax regime. Many speak about Ireland attracting companies such as Google, Pfizer, and others to its shores, and the effect was the transformation of the country into a global economic hub. Tax havens are suitable for all the parties involved, except for the government that doesn’t want to stop feeding off your wealth.
The true tradeoff of the Caribbean CIPs is much more than just a passport for a pile of cash. Investors get enhanced global mobility unhindered financial freedom. They also get the peace of mind knowing that even if something does go wrong Caribbean nations use their ingenuity to make up for lost funds by evolving their CIPs (St. Lucia’s CIP COVID bond option is a great example here). As CIPs continue to grow, so does the nation’s economy. With that disappears the need for unwarranted taxes, which attracts more investors; it’s a domino effect that benefits all parties.
The Caribbean countries of Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, and St. Lucia may not have the resources of the UK or USA. Still, they make up for it with their innovation and without bleeding their population dry. Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda, highlighted the importance of the CIP stating: “In 2017, the Citizenship by Investment Unit processed a total of 321 applications, which should yield an estimated 64$ million in direct revenue to the central government and capital injection of $198.7 million into hotels, residential developments, and other business interests”.
At Hepta Global we understand the citizenship by investment is much more than global mobility; it is financial freedom, safeguarding your wealth, providing the best future possible for your future generations, and peace of mind. Our team, spearheaded by our CEO Chirag, works tirelessly to provide you with the best options that suit your needs and elevate your financial setup. We have the unique standing of a financial advisory firm armed with unique insight and expertise within investment migration, and our customer-centric approach means we provide you and your family with world-class service.