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AfricaMoney | August 18, 2017

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Wealthy Europeans and Asians turn to Mauritius to plan investments

Wealthy Europeans and Asians turn to Mauritius to plan investments

It has successfully emerged as a trustworthy international financial services centre over the past two decades, has collaborated with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and is positively assessed by the Financial Action Task Force, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. (Image: Anglo)

Mauritius is increasingly turning into a mecca for wealthy families from both Europe and Asia. Its diversified economy, presence of international law firms and banks as well as a robust and commercially aware regulator are attracting more and more High Net Worth individuals (HNIs) to the island economy for investment planning.

Nowadays clients from mature European markets are using Mauritius trusts despite the fact that clients and families in those markets often favour using succession means accessible in the established European centres where wealth has reached third, fourth or fifth generations.

Besides European clients, private clients from emerging markets are also attracted by the well-structured dynamics of Mauritius’ financial services industry as they are the first generation of wealthy families and need to preserve their wealth for future generations.

Consequently, India and China are seeing a spike in the number of high net worth individuals (HNWI) approaching Mauritius to structure their investments as a new generation of wealthy families rises in these emerging economies.

Mauritius has a well-diversified and structured economy with agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, financial services and the seafood hub being the important sectors of the island economy.

It has successfully emerged as a trustworthy international financial services centre over the past two decades, has collaborated with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and is positively assessed by the Financial Action Task Force, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Mauritius is used for collective investment schemes in India, China and several African countries for investing and clients from mature European markets are now using trusts based out of the island economy as well.

In spite of the global financial slowdown, the island’s economy continues to perform well and has been the only African country which figured in the top 40 economies worldwide for doing business on Forbes’ eighth annual survey released in December 2013.

The fact that Mauritius has competent people and excellent infrastructure at a lower cost has spurred some of the leading corporate trustees in established jurisdictions to use it to perform their back-office operations of trust administration.

Moreover, as wealthy families are influenced by personal circumstances, cultural and religious beliefs and other practices, Mauritius has an edge due to its diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

Clients from Africa, Asia and the Middle East are concerned about disclosure of information regarding their trusts and the risks of losing control over their assets. Trust law in Mauritius addresses any concern relating to control of assets and has powers that can be set out in the trust deed including appointing and removing a trustee.

The Financial Services Commission (FSC) is committed to carry out customer due diligence on all its clients according to norms recognised internationally and the trustee need to be licensed by the FSC.

Besides, regulations allow for setting up a private trust company (PTC), which is licensed by the FSC and authorised to act as a trustee to a certain number of family trusts.

Mauritius has ratified an act for foundations, which is a vehicle with features common to both a trust and a company, for clients from civil law countries.

Currently, Mauritius plays a fundamental role in the private client world as a new generation of HNWIs is rising, and it offers them necessary facilities and resources to ensure they are sufficiently protected, receive professional advice and quality service

The jurisdiction comprises of a good number of private client professionals and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Mauritius branch has over 200 members and a growing mass of students.

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