Offshore is Primary Focus for New Wealth

According to the Offshore Investment Global Company Formation Survey 2013, with HNW individual populations in Asia and Latin America expected to grow by 88% in the next decade, and as their primary focus will be on wealth creation, the role of offshore companies will flourish.

In the last 12 months, the British Virgin Islands enacted the first major review of BVI company law since 2005. The Cayman Islands, a popular jurisdiction in the Asian market, passed the Companies Bill, 2012 and also brought its arbitration regime in line with international standards. In Hong Kong, a new Companies Ordinance was gazetted to enhance corporate governance, improve regulation, facilitate business and modernise the law. It will enter into force in 2014.

The survey reports that the demand for complex, hybrid structures using more than one jurisdiction to benefit from different specialisations is increasing. For example, the Bahamas Executive Entity is an interesting new solution to act as the shareholder of a PTC, as protector of a trust or foundation or as the investment advisor to a Family Office or trust.

Other notable developments in the last 12 months include Costa Rica publishing a Law for the Strengthening of Tax Administration, and significant changes to Companies Legislation were enacted in Bermuda, St Vincent, Mauritius, Russia, Ireland and the Seychelles.

Anticipated developments in 2013 include amendments to The International Business Companies Act, The Companies Act and The Company (Special Licenses) Act in the Seychelles, and anticipated amendments to Russian Company Law contemplate a single business organisation form instead of open and closed joint stock companies.