CARIBPR WIRE, CASTRIES, Saint Lucia, Dec. 08, 2022: The head of Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Unit, Mc Claude Emmanuel, was in the United States of America recently for the 7th Annual Private Wealth Florida Forum.
The invitation-only event is attended by private wealth and institutional investors, including wealth managers, corporate pensions, public pensions, insurance funds, endowments, foundations, sovereign wealth funds, health care organizations and private bankers. The event aims to bring together the investment management community for peer-driven thought leadership experiences that provide a platform for education, business development and networking.
Emmanuel was speaking to wealth managers about why Saint Lucia should form part of their basket of offshore investment options.
As one of the youngest citizenship by investment offerings on the market, Saint Lucia certainly competes with the best in terms of what it has to offer investors.
There are currently four main ways investors can gain a coveted Saint Lucia citizenship, with the main one being through the National Economic Fund. This Fund was established to drive foreign direct investment to nation-building projects such as increasing and improving infrastructure in the country. Through this Fund, highways, bridges, schools and hospitals have been upgraded and built.
For a minimum investment of US$100 000.00 for a single applicant, US investors can become part of the Caribbean’s biggest success stories.
“Saint Lucia has a strong economy and our currency, the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, is pegged against the United States Dollar – at a rate of US$1.00 being the equivalent of EC$2.70 – and has been so for the last 70 years,” stated Emmanuel.
According to Moody’s Analytics, the island nation has been able to attract foreign business and investment, especially in its offshore banking and tourism industries. Tourism is Saint Lucia’s main source of jobs and income – accounting for 65 percent of GDP – and the island’s main source of foreign exchange earnings. The manufacturing sector is the most diverse in the Eastern Caribbean area.
In this context, the Eastern Caribbean nation of Saint Lucia has emerged as a new favourite for investors. This is due to its growing economy, stable business environment and tax regime which supports the growth and development of its businesses, investors, and citizens.
“We have a strong tourism product, being rated the number one honeymoon destination in the world for the last 10 years. Saint Lucia is also home to major hospitality brands like Hilton and Marriott and our shores attract over one million tourists from the USA, Canada and Europe every year,” added Emmanuel.
Saint Lucia’s colourful heritage is ingrained in the culture of the island and celebrated by locals and visitors alike. With a history spanning hundreds of years and including stories of pirates, colonies, and battles, it’s enough to pique anyone’s interest.
Each part of the island has distinct features to be experienced and enjoyed. The island’s volcanic origin is the reason for its lush vegetation, soothing mud pools and iconic Sulphur Springs.
When asked why Saint Lucia should be favourable to asset managers and applicants, Emmanuel responded that country has a favourable tax regime, a stable economy and its policies make it easy for entrepreneurs to do business, not to mention the favourable Caribbean weather conditions.
Saint Lucia is also very well-connected to the rest of the world with international flights to the United States, Canada, and Europe. The low cost of living coupled with the high quality of life makes it the ideal place to live. The Caribbean way of life has a universal appeal that simply cannot be matched.
“During the Covid-19 pandemic, we had a surge of applications from north Americans who want to be able to work from anywhere – we commonly see people with their laptops on the beach, in hotel lobbies and villas – that’s one of the strong selling points for US citizens looking to invest in Saint Lucia.”
Those looking to get away from the pressures and humdrum of city life will be well suited to invest in the country.
The country also has a favourable tax regime, American investors do not need to pay inheritance tax, worldwide income tax, or capital gains tax – making it an ideal destination for wealth planning.
Looking at which nationalities have favoured getting second citizenship from Saint Lucia, Emmanuel said “In terms of applicants, China continues to be number one and as of 2021, US applicants have taken the second spot – particularly applicants from the states of New York, Philadelphia, Florida and a small number from Las Vegas. In Canada, a lot of applicants come from Toronto.”
Emmanuel also added that the two major reasons for Americans looking to gain second citizenship from Saint Lucia are safety and tax planning.
“Many US citizens are looking for safety. Americans travel extensively and their passport can be seen as a target due to ongoing geopolitical conflict, especially in regions like the Middle East and Eastern Europe. What they do when travelling to these regions is use their passports and keep their American passport in their back pocket. The second major reason for investing in our citizenship by investment programme is to tap into our favourable tax system, which continues to be a drawcard. Saint Lucia offers a lot of offshore financial solutions.”