LONDON, April 28, 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) programmes.
The virtual discussion features a distinguished panel of experts from major intelligence agencies including Karen Kelly, director of strategy and development at Exiger; Eddy Leviton, chief operating officer at Fact WorldWide and Heyrick Bond Gunning, chief operating officer at S-RM.
Yuri Bender, editor in chief Professional Wealth Management magazine moderated the panel.
The third instalment offers a rich discussion which contrasts different jurisdictions and investigates whether standards of due diligence processes are fairly consistent across the board and highlights programmes that are more rigorous, making their citizenships more valuable and better respected internationally.
Karen Kelly, director of strategy and development at Exiger said “We find that countries who are already engaging top due diligence intelligence companies have consistent standards across their CBI programmes.
“When looking at countries which are top rated, such as those in the Caribbean, we see that they are doing more in upscaling their programmes so that they are not just meeting minimum standards. Their CBI Units are always trying to achieve best practices by asking their due diligence agents on a regular basis how they can improve their risk-based approach, how they can evaluate applicants better and they are actively involved in the due diligence process from beginning to end.”
Kelly noted that she was more concerned about CBI programmes that are not transparent about their processes because it is highly likely that they are not as rigorous as they should be.
Comprehensive due diligence processes should involve levels of due diligence – CBI Units should be engaging with intelligence agencies as well as with their regional and international law enforcement counterparts to enable information sharing. Many well-regarded programmes are increasingly mandating their immigration and marketing agents to carry out minimum Know Your Customers due diligence on applicants at a basic level before they put them forward to the CBI Units.
When asked about fast-track CBI applications and whether they were as stringent as the ‘normal’ applications, Eddy Leviton, chief operating officer at Fact WorldWide commented that if a CBI Unit is carrying out all its due diligence processes correctly, then the fast-track application process would also be just as stringent.
“There’s so only so much you can do to speed up the due diligence process. This is because you have to do in-country verifications, you have to check all the documentation provided, verify it and double verify. You also have to cross reference a lot of different sources, so there is only so much time you can squeeze on producing a report.
“I have to reiterate that when you read a report produced by an intelligence firm, it is like reading the life story of a person – it is a biography from when an applicant was born, who they have mixed with, where they have worked – and to produce a document like that takes time. We can expedite reports, but you can only squeeze so much time otherwise the quality suffers,” added Leviton.
Thanks to a “rich tapestry of information” provided to intelligence firms and the information gathered through continuous monitoring, CBI Units are able to cross-reference and triple check any documents they receive from applicants and give a view on the veracity of information provided added Heyrick Bond Gunning, chief operating officer at S-RM.
The Caribbean continues to improve its due diligence standards making their programmes internationally recognised and respected.
International respect is vital for any CBI programme to thrive as many nations, especially in the OECS region, use CBI funds to fast-track economic transformational opportunities.
“Caribbean countries are on an ongoing drive to continuously enhance the due diligence of their programmes as they are very keen to protect the integrity and value of these programmes,” notes Paul Singh, Director at CS Global Partners – a leading citizenship planning firm.
He continues “CBI is enabling many of these nations to be independent and not rely on international aid which can be difficult to come by for Small Island Developing Nations.”
Funds from CBI programmes often provide a vital source of income for some countries, especially in times of crisis – as is often the case for Caribbean countries devastated by hurricanes – these countries value the investment that goes into their economies, and the benefits to their people.
The due diligence standards in the Caribbean region are some of the most effective in minimising perceived and actual security risks and these countries offer citizenship by investment programmes with notable track records. St Kitts and Nevis’ Programme was established in 1984 and Dominica’s Programme was established in 1993 as an example.
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: https://video.pwmnet.com/