The Financial Times’ Private Wealth Management magazine shines

LONDON, April 11, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Financial Times’ Private Wealth Management (PWM) magazine recently hosted a virtual panel discussion on the impact of global risks on countries with citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programs. .

As part of its PWM Perspectives series, the four-part roundtable shares insights and insights from notable experts from leading investigative due diligence agencies, including Karen Kelly, Director of Strategy and Development at Demand ; Eddy Leviton, COO of Fact WorldWide and Heyrick Bond Gunning, COO of S-RM.

The panel, moderated by Yuri Bender, Editor-in-Chief of Professional Wealth Management magazine, shed light on due diligence processes amid growing geopolitical risks.

More and more savvy investors, entrepreneurs and families are looking for legitimate ways to protect and grow their wealth and investments amid growing uncertainty around the world. These people are looking for safe and reliable plan B routes that will ensure their longevity if the environment changes for the worse in their home country.

Obtaining alternative citizenship by contributing financially to the economic or social needs of another country is one way to achieve this. Increasing attention is being paid to which countries offer citizenship by investment and how they check references for families and entrepreneurs seeking new citizenship.

Speaking on the vetting process, Karen Kelly, Director of Strategy and Development at Demand, said: “When a country is considering granting citizenship to an investor, it requires a very thorough review of that investor – who he is, what his background is and where his funds come from. A third element is to engage a third-party expert to ensure the veracity of all information provided.

Due diligence mainly involves a number of processes, the main ones being checking documents, checking if an applicant has criminal convictions and is on sanctions lists or watch lists around the world, checking if the applicant subject to litigation or judgments, verification of the claimant’s source of wealth and the claimant’s reputation – a process that spans a period of more than 10 years. The due diligence process not only uses available online resources and cross-references from different databases, but also uses field intelligence that is capable of asking face-to-face questions.

All this information is then submitted in the form of a report by the intelligence agency to the client, which is the host country.

Heyrick Bond Gunning, chief operating officer at S-RM, emphasized that ongoing monitoring is key to a strong due diligence program. “People’s circumstances change and what we do as intelligence agencies is provide countries with snapshot-in-time evidence. Lifetime monitoring is something CBI units do now to stay on top of potential challenges and issues that may arise.

This new layer of ongoing oversight has become a key pillar of CBI units in Caribbean jurisdictions, which are setting global best practices for advancing due diligence processes.

This is especially true now, with proactive Caribbean nations now vetting past endorsed candidates to see who might cause problems in the future ahead of possible sanctions.

With growing negative attention on CBI countries, many CBI units are keenly aware of the work they need to do to maintain the reputation and integrity of their CBI offerings.

Funds from CBI programs often provide a vital source of revenue for some countries, especially in times of crisis – as is often the case for hurricane devastated Caribbean countries – these countries appreciate the investment that goes into their savings and benefits to their people.

To this end, Caribbean countries offer some of the most stringent due diligence checks compared to some countries in Europe. Due diligence standards in the Caribbean region are among the most effective in minimizing perceived and actual security risks.

Host countries that are transparent and follow proper due diligence processes also have a positive impact on their own brand and reputation in the international market.

Caribbean nations are known to take a risk-based approach and are actively involved throughout the process.

Countries are particularly proactive in engaging their regional and international law enforcement and intelligence partners for information-sharing agreements and are increasingly requiring immigration and marketing officers who bring in applicants perform certain minimum Know Your Customer due diligence processes.

Chief Operating Officer at Fact WorldWide, Eddy Leviton adds, saying that countries that offer citizenship by investment offer “high levels of due diligence, with some using two due diligence agencies to verify information.”

They know that the reputational risk to their brand and programs is so high that they ensure due diligence to the highest standards.

“As the industry’s guardians of citizenship by investment, we have made concerted efforts to support and guide governments to pay close attention to due diligence processes, as this is the cornerstone success of the programs and a prerequisite for gaining the trust of the international community,” says Paul Singh, Principal at CS Global Partners – a leading citizenship planning firm.

Caribbean countries offer some of the strongest due diligence processes in the industry, as some of their citizenship-by-investment programs have been around for decades, as is the case with the Saint Kitts and Nevis program which has was created in 1984 and that of Dominica which was created in 1993.

These countries realize the importance of not only protecting and enhancing their reputation in the international community, but also ensuring that their citizens and candidates know that they are investing in reputable and trusted brands for their businesses and families.

Professional Wealth Management, from the FT Group, is the premier resource for private banking and mutual fund coverage in Europe, Asia and beyond.

Watch the series here:

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