LONDON, England — Caribbean nations lead today’s growing citizenship by investment industry, with Dominica’s programme crowned best in the world for the second year running in the latest special report by FT publication, PWM.
Professional Wealth Management (PWM) — a publication from the Financial Times — released the 2018 CBI Index, ranking the world’s active citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes. The special report notes that the expanding industry attracts more investors seeking greater mobility and business opportunities, often prompted by shifting global economic and political tensions.
Of all 13 CBI jurisdictions worldwide, Dominica spearheads the industry, scoring perfect marks in five of the seven pillars against which each programme is evaluated. Four fellow Caribbean nations follow shortly, with CBI pioneer St Kitts and Nevis as a strong contender. The programmes assessed in this year’s CBI Index include those offered by Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cyprus, Dominica, Grenada, Jordan, Malta, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Turkey, and Vanuatu.
PWM notes that more investors worldwide — especially from China, Russia, and, increasingly, the Middle East and Africa — are attracted to the notion of obtaining dual nationality. This trend is predicted to grow among global families affected by socio-political instability in their home countries, or international businesspersons seeking expanded visa-free travel and business opportunities.
The CBI Index measures seven areas, or pillars: due diligence, freedom of movement, standard of living, minimum investment outlay, ease of processing, citizenship timeline, and mandatory travel or residence.
Independent researcher and architect of the CBI Index, James McKay, considers these the most critical elements of an investor’s decision-making process when choosing their second citizenship.
McKay explained the relevance of the study for the investor immigration industry: “The CBI Index is rapidly becoming the leading tool for investors to accurately measure the performance and appeal of global citizenship by investment programmes.”
Across the special report, emphasis is placed on due diligence – the security and vetting procedures involved in each CBI programme which ensure that morally questionable characters are excluded. The 2018 CBI Index highlights the due diligence process as a key component in differentiating the programmes.
Heyrick Bond Gunning, CEO of due diligence experts S-RM, concluded that it “should be a staple of all CBI programmes that aspire to success and durability.”
Echoing the 2017 CBI Index results, Dominica remains the world’s best economic citizenship jurisdiction due to maintained high levels of timeliness and simplicity in process, an affordable investment threshold, and a robust due diligence framework.
This result is a testament to the small Caribbean nation’s CBI programme successfully withstanding the challenges presented by last year’s hurricane season. Moreover, their latest Styrofoam and plastic ban initiative announcement earned Dominica widespread international accolades for being a responsible part of a global community — the exact mindset that guides the country’s leading CBI programme.
Dominica further serves as a commendable example of how CBI funds can be used to improve the lives of its citizens, such as the recently announced construction of 5,000 new homes, financed entirely by the CBI programme.
Ranked second in the 2018 CBI Index, the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis improved its performance in the areas of minimum investment outlay (affordability) and freedom of movement. The latter is an asset the country invests in continuously, as St Kitts and Nevis passport holders can travel visa-free to over 150 countries and territories. The Federation’s programme adopted a lower investment threshold with the inception of the highly popular temporary Hurricane Relief Fund option. It continues to offer what is self-described as the Platinum Standard in the industry with the Sustainable Growth Fund — a new government funding method intended to assist in developing social and economic initiatives in St Kitts and Nevis.
Post-Brexit debates have raised awareness of the value of one’s citizenship and the certainty — or lack thereof — that it may hold.
“Freedom of movement is becoming a key factor as immigration policies are getting more restrictive,” confirmed Selby du Pasquier, head of Geneva lawyers Lenz & Staehelin.