05 Apr CBI FEES HAVE DROPPED SIGNIFICANTLY
Citizenship by Investment Fees have dropped significantly, how fair is it to the Investors?
In any real estate market, if a property was sold to a buyer 4 years ago for $400,000 and now in 2018 worth only $200,000, we’d be talking about devaluation, loss and a distressed asset class. Perhaps we might also discuss purchasing it at the new price.
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The Value of CBI Programs
Prior to 2012, the CBI program options available were few and passport strength (how many countries you could get into visa free) varied greatly amongst those options. Anyone desiring a real estate investment only had St. Kitts to consider. The price sensitive only had Dominica. If you wanted Canada or the Schengen Zone to be visa free, again, there was only St Kitts (and later Antigua).
In more speculative years i.e. 2012-2013, when many of the current-day Citizenship by Investment programs were just beginning to evolve, governments did not expect the influx of program choices now available to investors. Their pricing strategies reflected that. The thousands of applicants submitting their applications at that time paying those prices didn’t expect it either. Neither could have anticipated such a trend. Times have changed.
Why did this drop happen?
Simple. Supply and demand economics.
Governments had to adapt to the changes in order to continue to attract interest from potential applicants. After all, Citizenship by Investment program fees contribute a good chunk to their country’s GDP in many cases.
Not only was supply increasing, the demographic and financial profile of the applicants were expanding. Demand was rising from unexpected markets and the typical applicant was no longer a multi millionaire. A large number of professionals below the 7 and 8 figure in assets threshold were applying too.
Naturally, more countries, more investment options and a changing investor profile created an environment in which Governments had to review their requirements.
CBI Programs Become More Inclusive as a Result
As the intrinsic and perceived values of CBI programs shifted, the programs also became more inclusive with greater optionality. For instance, age limits to qualify as financially dependent children and parents were increased. Previously, a family was required to file two separate applications if they wanted a dependent child above 18 to have citizenship. This resulted in double the investment requirement and professional fees. No more.
Iranians and Afghanis had a seriously difficult time finding a program that allowed them to apply. Dominica was the only option. Later Grenada became a second option as a response to increasing competition from other programs.
Meanwhile in Europe, Cyprus decreased their price in September 2016 from 2.5m EUR to 2m EUR, reducing the gap with its rival, Malta, attracting potential new European Citizens.
Even Antigua experimented with somewhat appealing limited time promotions on pricing in 2014-2015. But that didn’t compare to the promotions offered today.
So what does this mean?
It means that the position of Citizenship by Investment is further cemented on the world stage as an asset class. It also means that investors and industry players are now looking forward to newer developments and sustainable solutions in the investment option categories. They are not only considering what the financial outlay is to qualify.
A growing number of governments are creating residency or citizenship by investment schemes. This results in greater visibility and regulation for an industry still hampered by the stigma of illegitimacy when it comes to second passports. Even more stringent due diligence is on the horizon, which means further protection for the people who the programs are intended for: legitimate individuals, irrespective of their origin, wishing to acquire a Second Citizenship for greater mobility and peace of mind.