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Podcast: Micha-Rose Emmett – Motherhood, IM in Africa, Regulating IM

Our guest on the Mobility Standard podcast this week was Micha-Rose Emmett, long-time CEO of CS Global Partners. 

We started off on a personal level, by asking questions designed to tell us more about who Micha-Rose is. She answered questions about how she got started in investment migration and the road to where she is today. We discussed some of the issues closest to Micha’s heart – global citizenship, freedom, female empowerment, and so on. She also talked about what it was like becoming a mother while being the CEO of a major company and how she handled that transition.

Micha’s been in investment migration for 15 years already and we wanted to hear if this opportunity for longitudinal observation of the market had led her to draw any conclusions about what macro trends characterize the current chapter of investment migration’s history, and what’s different in the market now compared to in previous chapters.

Born and raised in Namibia and commercially active in Africa for a long time, Micha understands the continent better than most in this business. We wanted to take advantage of that to raise some of the questions we have about investment migration in Africa. What’s next for investment migration in Africa? Is it really the next big market for investment migration or will it remain a continent that just has great potential

We questioned Micha about how we might promote the maturation of the investment migration market. Ours is still a relatively immature line of business. It has low barriers to entry, it’s mostly unregulated, and isn’t capital-intensive. There’s no shortage of practitioners who cut corners or tell half-truths to close a deal. Are there any industries that are similar to, but ahead of, investment migration that we could use as a model or template for industry development? Perhaps one that has had to overcome similar obstacles in the past?

How has Micha’s own company changed as a consequence of the pandemic? What lessons did the pandemic teach her and her colleagues at CS Global? What pandemic impacts, negative and positive, drove organizational changes? Are more of her colleagues working remotely and, if so, does Micha expect them to return to the office? Does she think the world of business travel and conference circuits, as we knew it, will return?

Finally, Micha answered a number of questions from the audience, including whether she will consider entering the Turkey CIP market, what junior career paths are available for those who want to get a start in the investment migration business, and whether dropping company margins and lowered program prices will squeeze companies out of the industry. 

  • 03:38 – Micha’s story: Where did she start and how did she end up running CS Global?
  • 07:47 How becoming a mother changed Micha’s perspective on work, and how she managed the transition.
  • 10:11 – What characterizes the current chapter of investment migration’s history? How is it different from previous chapters?
  • 17:45 – Many investment migration firms are making big bets on the African market. Is that a wise approach? Does Africa really have that much potential?
  • 27:27 – Helping the investment migration industry mature. Is regulation the answer? What are the limits to regulation? What other solutions exist?
  • 40:57 – How has the pandemic changed the way CS Global operates? Are you spending less time in the office or on business trips? Will these adaptations outlast the pandemic?
  • 45:52 – Questions from the audience: How can I get started in investment migration? Will CS Global enter the Turkish market? Will lower program prices and company margins squeeze some firms out of the market?

More Podcast Episodes

Micha-Rose Emmett spoke to us about Africa’s IM market, how motherhood has changed her perspective on IM, how the IM market should be regulated, and much more.

Citizenship by descent, states competing for citizens, and CBI as employee performance bonus are just some of the topics we discussed in the 5th episode of the Mobility Standard.

The Mobility Standard hosts Murat Coskun to understand the future of golden visa investment fund options, in Portugal and beyond.


The post Podcast: Micha-Rose Emmett – Motherhood, IM in Africa, Regulating IM appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

Will Next Year’s Price Change Kill Portugal GV’s Fund Investment Category?

In this fourth installment of the Mobility Standard, we spoke to Murat Coskun of Get Golden Visa, a man who’s been closely involved with the Portugal Golden Visa’s fund investment option since the very beginning. We asked him a range of questions about RCBI fund options, including:

  • Which investment migration programs out there, beyond Portugal, have a fund option, either explicitly in their regulations or as a hypothetical possibility under their legal frameworks?
  • Why don’t any of the Caribbean CIPs have such fund investment options?
  • Now that Portugal has decided to raise the minimum investment for the fund category from 350,000 to half a million euros starting next year, will the funds struggle to attract investors?
  • In the last several years, only a double-digit number of golden visa investors have picked the fund option, but there are already more than 20 funds available. With such an unfavorable ratio, how can fund managers expect to raise enough capital?
  • Portugal has proven that there’s an appetite for investment fund options among investor migrants. Which other programs are likely to take advantage of this market next?
  • What are the common pitfalls of fund investment? Which factors should you take into consideration when evaluating a fund? 
  • What are the tax advantages that fund investment has over real estate?

What will happen to the fund option after the price increase next year?

Christian Nesheim: “Someone I spoke to, who’s big in Portugal’s real estate refurbishment option market, told me very bluntly that Portugal’s fund option is “dead in the water” because it’ll go up to EUR 500,000 [from the current EUR 350,000] next year and that will make it uncompetitive. What’s you answer to that, Murat?”

Murat Coskun: “Now that the price is going up for funds next year, a couple of things will happen. First, we are for sure going to have a very busy 2021. Then, because of the price increase, there will be a sudden drop in demand for the fund option at the beginning of 2022, yes, but there will still be demand.”

That demand, Coskun specifies, will remain because of the many inherent advantages that funds have over real estate:

  • They are a completely passive investment, rather than a property that must be visited or managed by the investors, something that’s been complicated by the pandemic.
  • They offer a number of tax advantages of real estate: Little to no capital gains tax upon exit and low roundtrip transaction costs.
  • The rise of American applicants, who are much more used to financial instruments than investors with a shorter history of public markets, will serve to bolster interest in the fund option.

“With the new geographical restrictions on the real estate options coming next year, more investors will opt for the fund option.”

Coskun highlights that the investment fund option has grown from a mere seven applications in 2019 to 48 in 2020 and that there were 18 in the first three months of 2021 alone, and says he expects the total at the end of 2021 will far surpass the 2020 total.

But even if the number of applicants that pick the fund option triples in 2021, those 150-ish investors will have to be split among 20 different funds. How can fund managers expect to raise enough capital?

Coskun concedes that such an unfavorable ratio will spell trouble for some funds and points out that, for precisely that reason, vetting will be crucial.

“There is no doubt that the changes will leave some of the newer funds quite exposed. Some of those will have a tough time raising funds and we may see some of them drop out of the race completely. That means you need to vet the funds when you are investing today so that you’re not left with a dying fund come 2022.”

Since vetting will be so important, what factors should investors place the most weight on when evaluating a fund?

“First and foremost, look at what the fund focuses on,” Coskun says. “What business sectors, what type of assets, what type of business strategy is it going for. Is it going for startups in healthcare? Is it going for real estate? If real estate, is it only Portuguese real estate? Is it focusing on commercial or residential assets? It’s important to know the fund’s investment philosophy. Once you have a good idea of that, the next question is who are the fund managers? Who are they and what is their track record?”

Coskun also cautions people to check whether the people sponsoring the fund are real estate developers. If they are, he says, they might merely be using the fund to sell its own overpriced real estate.

Listen to the full episode to learn more.

The post Will Next Year’s Price Change Kill Portugal GV’s Fund Investment Category? appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

The Mobility Standard #3: David Lesperance – The Bulletproof Backup Plan

In this third episode of the Mobility Standard, we had the pleasure of hosting David Lesperance, an internationally recognized expert on what he himself calls “backup plans”, by which he means comprehensive structures aimed at protecting your person, your family, and your assets from anything from black swan events and natural disasters to avaricious politicians and criminals. 

We asked David about a range of his favorite subjects including:

  • US expatriations
    What’s really going on with Americans renouncing their citizenships? Some say the numbers falling, others insist it’s at all-time highs but that the real numbers are obscured. What’s the reality?
  • Wealth taxes
    What are the latest developments around wealth taxes around the world? How are the rich protecting themselves against quickly rising tax burdens by investing in alternative citizenships and residencies?
  • The bulletproof backup plan
    As globalization increasingly goes into reverse and a more regionalized, geopolitically less stable world emerges in the wake of COVID, what does a bullet-proof Backup plan look like? If you want to keep being able to enjoy global freedom to travel, trade, and settle, what flags do you need to plant and where? 
  • Citizenship-based taxation during the remote-work era
    At the very same time that the highest earners have discovered they can work remotely, the states and countries in which they live have decided to raise taxes drastically. A lot of them will be asking, “why shouldn’t I move to a lower-tax jurisdiction”. What will the political reflex in rich countries be? Is it a proliferation of citizenship-based taxation?

Below, you’ll find an excerpt of some of the more salient moments of the episode:

US missions “refusing to schedule” renunciation appointments

Questioned as to the true levels of Americans giving up their citizenship, David Lesperance offered a detailed account of the disparity between the number of Americans trying to renounce, the number that is able to, and the number of renunciations that are reported.

“You have a huge backlog,” commented Lesperance. “In fact, the US embassy in Bern is reporting they have 400 people on their waiting list to schedule appointments for renunciation. And you have to remember: That’s just one of 307 US missions abroad.”

The reported numbers don’t reflect current demand, explains Lesperance, first because there’s a 12-18 month lag between the renunciation and the publishing date of that event, and second because many US diplomatic missions downright decline to take renunciation appointments, ostensibly out of public health concerns. He estimates the true number of renunciations awaiting is in the tens of thousands, at least.

The press, he adds, were quick to attribute record renunciations in late 2016 to Trump’s election, and the even greater numbers in early 2020 to COVID, neither of which were related events.

“COVID wasn’t even a twinkle in a bat’s eye at the time those [renunciations] that were only now getting reported actually took place.”

See also:

The post-pandemic backlash against the rich

In the United States, Lesperance points out, the rich know this money will have to come from them because there is no VAT, which means the Washington is far more reliant on personal income taxes for funding than their European counterparts. With a change in the political discourse, the wealthy are seeing the writing on the wall.

“You are seeing people of means do what humans naturally want to do, which is to protect themselves and their families. And the people of means have the ability to do that better than the vast majority of the population. Governments have responded [to the pandemic] with stimulus and spending, and they’re going to need more money. […]The conversation has turned from ‘let’s get money for good stuff’ […] to ‘let’s take money from bad people’, and ‘there shouldn’t be any billionaires or pandemic profiteers’.”

Wealth taxes, he says, are but one manifestation of that, which is why we are seeing proposals for such levies in places like Mexico, the UK, the US, and even Singapore, while Argentina has already imposed one. In the episode, Lesperance discusses some of the many tools HNWIs have at their disposal to protect themselves through tax, residency, and citizenship planning.

Separate your a** from your assets

“You have to look at residency, citizenship, and domiciles as you do any other type of asset class; you look at it as a portfolio,” says Lesperance when questioned about what a “bulletproof” backup plan might look like. “You have to have assets in different jurisdictions. I, for example, have a NAFTA-asset through my Canadian citizenship, I have an EU asset [through permanent residency in Poland], I could very easily get an asset in another group, like New Zealand/Australia, or an ASEAN-country.”

But residency, citizenship, and settlement rights diversification alone are not enough, he emphasizes.

“With regards to your money, one of the things I always tell my clients is that we can separate where you are from where your money is. I call it separating your a** from your assets.”

Learn many more of Lesperance’s strategies by listening to the full episode.

More episodes of the Mobility Standard:

The post The Mobility Standard #3: David Lesperance – The Bulletproof Backup Plan appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

Podcast: Pandemic’s Lessons for IM Programs and the Impact of a North Macedonian CIP

For investment migration, 2020 was a year of both setbacks and of considerable advances. While the pandemic brought record global awareness of the usefulness of alternative citizenships and residencies, it also made putting investment migration plans into practice far more difficult.

Some programs have seen record application volume while others have seen it collapse. Service providers speak of a sharp rise in demand, but also difficulty in catering to it.

In this second episode of our new podcast, the Mobility Standard, we discuss how different investment migration programs performed in 2020, and ask which lessons may be gleaned from those observations.

We’ll try to explain the divergence in performance during the pandemic between Greece and Portugal, and why the Caribbean was able to carry on with business as usual. We want to know whether there is something besides the pandemic that explains the sharp decline in EB-5 applications over the last year, and also try to map out the regional center program’s future beyond its June 30th expiry date.

Ahmad wants Stephane Tajick, our guest in this episode and the designated Canadian, to explain why Canada, an ostensibly immigrant-loving country, keeps making it harder to immigrate.

We want to know if 2020’s reportedly sharp rise in inquiries will translate into actual applications in 2021, and also try to understand which markets will be the biggest sources of investors in the next few years.

Finally, we have to talk a little bit about the biggest news story this week; the heralded opening of a North Macedonian CIP, and what effect that will have on the competitive balance of European CIPs.


  • 02:16: What explains the sharp divergence in performance between the Greek and Portuguese golden visas in 2020?
  • 07:36: Why were applications and approvals for the Caribbean CIPs relatively unaffected by the pandemic?
  • 11:31: What, except the pandemic, explains the sharp downturn in applications and approvals for the US EB-5 program in 2020?
  • 13:00: Moment of Truth for the EB-5 program. What happens after June 30th?
  • 19:46: Why does “immigrant-loving” country Canada keep making it harder for people to immigrate?
  • 24:43: Many firms have reported tremendous increases in the number of inquiries about investment migration programs in 2020 but, so far, this hasn’t translated into a corresponding increase in applications. What’s behind this schism?
  • 32:03: Which are the next big source markets for investment migration?
  • 36:52: A small crisis in the Vietnamese investment migration market
  • 39:06: Which programs will absorb the strong demand that existed for the now-closed Cyprus CIP?
  • 44:57: How will the increasingly likely prospect of a North Macedonian CIP affect the competitive position of other CIPs in Europe and the Caribbean?

The post Podcast: Pandemic’s Lessons for IM Programs and the Impact of a North Macedonian CIP appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

First Episode of IMI’s New Podcast, The Mobility Standard, Out Now

IMI finally has its own podcast: The Mobility Standard. Listen to Episode 1 today: The Rise of Western Investor Migrants.

In the podcast, IMI’s editor, Christian Nesheim, as well as Rogelio Caceres, Ahmad Abbas, and expert guest speakers dissect current events, trends, and crucial questions related to investment migration.

To begin with, we’ll be producing an episode every other week, inviting a new guest each time.

Episode 1: The New Investment Migration Market and the Rise of Western Investor Migrants

In this inaugural episode, there’s no guest but the three co-hosts discuss one of the most momentous market trends to emerge in the last year: The rise of Western investor migrants.

2020 has seen a surge in investment migration among applicants from countries we tend not to think of as typical outbound investment migration markets and we ask:

Is this just a flash in the pan that will revert to normal when the pandemic is over? If not, what does it mean for investment migration programs, service providers, and applicants?

We discuss how different citizenship and residence by investment programs have evolved to cater to the preferences of non-Western applicants, and how they might need to change to start attracting a Western audience.

We also ask: Now that the pandemic has kickstarted awareness of investment migration products among Americans, how can the industry capitalize on this unique historical period to make sure that awareness remains and even grows?

We have submitted the show to most of the leading podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify, the latter of which has already listed us, which means you can follow the show there now by clicking this link. Our Apple Podcast and Google Podcast listings should be available within a week.

The Mobility Standard will have a permanent home on IMI here.

We also invite you, the listeners, to send in your questions ahead of the next episode. If we’re able to answer them, we’ll do so next time we air.

The post First Episode of IMI’s New Podcast, The Mobility Standard, Out Now appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.