Rif Trust on Arabian Business

Citizenship by Investment: An alternative investment class with multiple benefits

Brand View: Mimoun Assraoui, CEO of RIF TRUST and David Regueiro, COO, give their analysis of the industry and the company vision

Citizenship by Investment (CBI) industry has experienced an exponential growth in the past years. Low barriers to entry, interesting margins, and a growing number of HNWI interested in this service attracted many new service providers.

The most relevant challenge is the industry regulation, as CBI becomes increasingly regulated, only those adhering to the highest standards are successful and only few investment programmes are approved by governments.

“The hardest part in our business is not to sign a client but to deliver,” says Assraoui. “This is why most of our clients prefer to pay a premium just to make sure their application is handled in the most diligent manner.”

The “word of mouth” effect is particularly pronounced in circles where confidentiality, privacy, and trust are highly prized, that’s how “our clients become our best ambassadors,” continues Assraoui.

Some Caribbean countries rely heavily on this money inflow to reinforce their economy. In the case of Dominica, its National Development Programme earnings before Hurricane Maria struck, had reportedly reached $50m per month while St Kitts and Nevis citizenship unit created the Hurricane Relief Fund to contribute to the natural disaster’s recovery.  “The capacity of reaction, the sharing and helping, the resilience of its people and the willingness to make the islands a better place is something that is in the Caribbean blood,” says Regueiro.

Based on that Caribbean spirit, and having 2017 as the Year of Giving in UAE, RIF TRUST was involved in different NGO and volunteering activities.

“For 2018 we wanted to do something that prevails. We started a project called RIF TRUST Children. We aim to sponsor 12 children, one per month, financing their scholarship. This is just the beginning, we would love to see these children graduating and become members of our family,” continues Regueiro.

RIF TRUST is an authorised government agent and the only company belonging to both IMC (Investment Migration Council) and GIIC (Global Investor Immigration Council) the two organisations created to streamline the industry.

“Our aim is to provide a value service to our partners. We offer a plug and play service. Something that can be easily added to a catalogue of services of real estate companies, lawyer firms, family offices and wealth and asset managers,” says Assraoui.

RIF TRUST employs 20 professionals in its Dubai headquarters, covering 14 nationalities.

“Obtaining second nationality is a life-changing experience. We are like a family, and we treat our clients as part of it. Dealing with advisors having the same background, similar needs, experiences, speaking the same language, is one of our signature assets,” adds Regueiro.

“This industry has many opportunities but also many pitfalls, our aim is to grow with the industry, offering our clients the most suitable programmes and grow our business with third party introducers and established partners ,” Assraoui says.