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Diversify your portfolio with residence- and citizenship-by-investment

Wealth managers across the world are realizing the potential of residence-by-investment (RBI) and citizenship-by-investment (CBI) as a new asset class for global citizens. In light of increased global and regional market volatility, South African investors and asset managers should be following suit.

Amanda Smit, Managing Partner and Head of South, East and Central Africa at leading investment migration firm Henley & Partners, says, “We have entered a new phase of portfolio planning.” She adds that “Recent market turbulence is only accelerating the desire among wealthy individuals to include alternative citizenship as a necessary component of their portfolios.”

RBI and CBI, also known as investment migration programs, enable nations to grant residence or citizenship rights to individuals in exchange for a substantial investment. Savvy investors are embracing investment migration as a new asset class and strategy for unlocking novel risk management and optimization for the high-net-worth portfolio. The attractiveness of RBI and CBI lies in their ability to expand investors’ corporate footprints and market reach, offer them greater influence and additional business, lifestyle, and educational opportunities, and protect them from the dangers of volatile markets and political instability.

Diversified risk, increased opportunity 

Unlike traditional asset classes such as equities and cash equivalents, the benefits that accrue from acquiring multiple citizenships and/or residencies through CBI or RBI generate unique value for the investor that goes beyond simply providing political risk insurance. For business owners, it can also foster business expansion and facilitate overseeing international operations. 

This has a major impact on wealth planning and financial services providers, and advisors who don’t recognize the power of investment migration as a key risk diversification tool for their clients will ultimately lose market share to those who do. Given the unequivocal value that wealthy individuals see in residence and citizenship planning, including this innovative asset class alongside more traditional wealth management option is a highly advisable move.

Given the global stature of the region, the strength of its markets, and the incomparable level of security and opportunity it provides, Europe is the most appealing destination for wealthy individuals seeking an alternative citizenship or residence.

Global Citizenship Seminars 

The upcoming Global Citizenship Seminars, hosted by Henley & Partners South Africa, are exclusive events that bring together leading professionals from across Europe, Australia, and South Africa, wealth managers and keen high-net-worth individuals to discuss residence and citizenship acquisition and the power of CBI as an asset class. Each panel will present first-hand insights into the various programs and will feature experts on migration, real estate and investment. 

These highly anticipated events will be taking place from 2–6 March 2020 in Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, Durban, and Stellenbosch, respectively. 

Europe’s leading citizenship programs

Considered the industry ‘gold standard’, the Malta Individual Investor Program (MIIP) allows successful applicants to acquire citizenship of an EU country within 12 months, for a minimum contribution of approximately EUR 1 million. The Maltese passport, which is the 9th most powerful in the world according to the latest Henley Passport Index, facilitates travel to 183 destinations including Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, the USA, and all 28 EU member states. This advanced Mediterranean country also offers an RBI program for a minimum mixed capital contribution of EUR 330,000. The Malta Residence and Visa Program grants full residence rights and access to Europe’s Schengen Area.

Like the exceptional MIIP, the Cyprus Investment Programme offers applicants an attractive balance between the economic contribution they make and the many benefits they receive. The minimum contribution is EUR 2.15 million, which can be channelled into real estate, land development, or infrastructure projects. The Cypriot passport is the 16th strongest in the world, providing visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 174 destinations, including Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and all EU member states. The Cyprus Permanent Residence Program, which is the nation’s RBI program, is accessible at a contribution of EUR 300,000 and grants full Cypriot residence status. 

Austria Citizenship-by-Investment allows investors to access highly respected Austrian citizenship, which offers its holders visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 185 destinations and the right to reside anywhere in the EU as well as Switzerland. Contributions begin at EUR 3 million, and successful applicants can acquire citizenship within 24–36 months. 

Meeting the increasing demand for business and lifestyle travel to Europe, additional European countries have introduced CBI programs. Montenegro, an official candidate country for EU membership, has become a key strategic destination for some of the world’s most important industries, and the Montenegro Citizenship-by-Investment Program is the newest CBI program in the region. For a minimum contribution of EUR 350,000, successful applicants are granted citizenship within three months, facilitating travel to 124 destinations, including the countries in Europe’s Schengen Area as well as Hong Kong, Singapore, and the UAE. 

Attractive residence programs

Greece has become a major European business center and is one of the world’s top leisure destinations. Successful applicants to the Greece Golden Visa Program acquire Greek residence permits within two months for a minimum economic contribution of EUR 250,000 under the real estate option. Successful applicants secure an indefinitely renewable residence permit that can lead to full citizenship after seven years. 

An excellent option for job-creating entrepreneurs, the Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program is accessible for a minimum contribution of EUR 250,000. Successful investors acquire five-year Portuguese residence permits within three–eight months, and the permit enables one to apply for full citizenship after five years.

The exemplar of stability, Switzerland is renowned for its leading financial and innovation sectors. Successful applicants to the Swiss Residence Program obtain residence status within two–six months by contributing net taxes ranging from CHF 200,000 to over CHF 1 million per year in any of the country’s 26 cantons. 

With its capital London regarded as one the world’s most influential financial centers, the United Kingdom is a highly desirable option for alternative residence. For a contribution of GBP 2 million under the UK Investor Immigration Program, successful applicants gain the right to live, work, and study in any country of the UK within two months.

While not located in Europe, Australia is a key magnet for wealthy investors seeking a high quality of life, due to its position as a global business centre. Under the merits-based Investor Stream of the Australia Residence-by-Investment Program, successful applicants commit AUD 1.5 million to secure residence status in the country, which can be transferred to citizenship status after approximately five years. 

Diversify your investment portfolio today

To secure your seat at one of our exclusive Global Citizenship Seminars and find out more about acquiring alternative residence or citizenship with the industry leader, visit www.henleyglobal.com and register or e-mail [email protected].

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