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BELIZE

 

MUTUAL FUNDS IN BELIZE

REGISTRATION - LICENSING – ADMINISTRATION

FEATURES AND FEES

 

MUTUAL FUNDS
Keeping in line with offering an array of services and with the passing of the Mutual Fund Act of Belize, we can now offer our clients assistance in the establishment of a mutual fund. For those who do not fully understand how setting up a mutual fund would assist in asset protection and wealth management, the following describes how a mutual fund works and its advantages.

WHAT IS A MUTUAL FUND?
A mutual fund is an open-end investment company that combines the money of thousands of people and invests it in a variety of securities in an effort to achieve a specific objective over time. Mutual funds can offer a number of benefits such as portfolio diversification and the possibility of buying back its shares at the current net asset value.

A properly structured international financial services fund offers a number of features that distinguish it from a traditional mutual fund. The follow outlines these distinguishing features:

A lower level of regulation makes it easier to establish and administer the funds. Consequently, formation and operating costs are significantly reduced. Lower costs means funds can be offered at zero or low load and with competitive management fees from the investor's point of view. Furthermore, greater flexibility is generally available, in terms of both fund structure and the investment portfolio.

Tax exempt status in the offshore jurisdiction enables the fund to reinvest the amount of taxes on profits and gains that would otherwise be payable in high tax jurisdictions, without the need to obtain investment company of similar status. Therefore, taxes may be deferred until the investor receives a return on his investment. Tax advice should be sought in the jurisdictions of the sponsor/manager and each investor to determine any potential tax liability.

No big back office operation is required, since all administration, execution and shareholder relations can be subcontracted out. Further, by having clients invest in a fund in which they buy and hold shares rather than, for example, a discretionary managed account, all of the contract notes, advices, statements and other client transaction paperwork may be dispensed with.

Mutual funds provide a greater degree of liquidity than most types of investments. In most cases, investors may redeem their shares on any business day at the, then, current Net Asset Value (which can be more or less than the original purchase price).

Shareholders typically have the option to reinvest fund dividends and capital gains distributions allowing the fund to purchase additional shares without any sales charge.

ADVANTAGES OF A MUTUAL FUND
In addition to the above benefits, mutual funds can provide the following advantages regarding wealth management and asset protection.

Professional Management- Investment professionals actively manage mutual funds. In turn, portfolios are continually monitored and adapted to match the funds objectives.

Diversification- Mutual funds invest in many different types of securities. Own a number of securities can provide an investor higher returns while reducing market volatility. Diversification is difficult for the average investor to achieve individually.

Liquidity- Generally, shares in open-end mutual funds may be redeemed on any business day. Selling your mutual fund is simple. The transaction is usually complete within one business day.

Tax-Minimization Advantages- Usually, international financial mutual funds are exempt from all income, capital gains, withholding and estate taxes. Prospective investors should consult a tax advisor about their particular situation.

Confidentiality- With the absence of reporting regulations, international financial funds, generally provide confidentiality for investors. Our clientele can rely on our integrity, our professionalism and our commitment to confidentiality we exemplified in our decade in international financial services.

Affordability- Investors can participate in mutual funds with a modest initial investment. A mutual fund portfolio costs a fraction of what it would cost to develop a diversified portfolio of stocks or bonds on your own.

SETTING UP A MUTUAL FUND IN BELIZE
A number of tasks must be completed when setting up a mutual fund. The schedule that must be followed when setting up of a mutual fund in an international financial services jurisdiction:

Preparation of the investment plan;
Deciding on the Structure of the mutual fund
Drafting of the prospectus;
Drafting of the mutual fund charter
Drafting of agreements with professionals
Appointment of bankers, custodian and auditors
Formation of fund equity (shares)
Regulatory filings and approvals, and
Distribution and marketing of the prospectus

Note: Our role in setting up of a mutual fund would be in providing services associated in the setting up an international business company as the vehicle for the mutual fund as well as in assisting the client in obtaining the necessary licenses.

THE MUTUAL FUND ACT OF 1999
As the only financial centre in Central America where English is the official language to conduct business, Belize has endeavoured to further strengthen its economic legislation with the introduction of the Mutual Fund Act of 1999. As a result, Belize is now ranked among the top ten offshore financial jurisdictions in the world; and, an invitation has been extended to qualified investors to participate in the three types of offshore mutual funds that encompass the mutual fund industry of Belize i.e. public, private and professional funds. The conditions under which these funds are registered, administrated and managed from within Belize (or elsewhere) are expressly anchored in the Mutual Fund Act and provides for the basic protection of mutual fund investors. The Act does not impose specific requirements with regard to the location of the manager, investment advisor, administrator or the custodian of a public, private or professional fund.

As is defined under the Mutual Fund Act, the expression “carrying on business from within Belize” includes carrying on business outside of Belize from a place of business or from a registered office within Belize. For the purpose of “carrying on business as a mutual fund”, a manager or administrator, shall, if carrying on business anywhere outside of Belize, be deemed to be carrying on business from within Belize.

A Public Mutual Fund is allowed to conduct business only after its official prospectus has been inspected by the Registrar of Mutual Funds for official recognition and registration. A public fund is further required by law to maintain a custodian for the day-to-day activities involved in the safekeeping of the fund property that is separate and apart from the activities of the Fund Manager and Administrator.

The custodian’s role is to ensure that investors’ interests are protected by checking that the Manager’s actions are in line with the fund regulations and with the particulars of the investment scheme.

A licensed trustee is often the custodian for the fund’s underlying property.

PRIVATE, PUBLIC AND PROFESSIONAL MUTUAL FUNDS
A Public Mutual Fund has to prepare financial statements and maintain adequate accounting records that are reviewed annually by a recognized auditor from Belize (or elsewhere). The approved financial statements and accounting records for a registered public fund should be kept at its principal place of business in Belize and be made available to all investment shareholders and to the Registrar of Mutual Funds. The Public Mutual fund is widely considered to be one of the most important forms of investment available in a capital market and public offerings made for the purchase of its multiple share class subscriptions provide mutual fund investors with the potential for long-term capital appreciation and growth.

A Private Mutual Fund is prohibited from the offering up of its common stock for subscription by the general public. Consequently, this type of fund is limited only to private stock offerings after it has first applied for and received official recognition from the Registrar of Mutual Funds. Thereafter, it can commence its operations with a closed-end group of investors (less than fifty). Certain private funds are designed primarily to provide capital growth while others are intended to preserve capital.

The Professional Mutual Fund is solely able to offer up its shares for subscription or purchase only to investment professionals. A professional investor is specified as being one whose ordinary business involves the acquisition/disposal of shares in an investment fund or who has a declared net worth of one million United States dollars. The initial investment in respect of each investor in a professional fund is a minimum of one hundred thousand United States dollars (US$100,000) or its equivalent in any currency as is designated by the mutual fund regulations. The professional fund must first receive official recognition from the Registrar of Mutual Funds before it can commence its business operations from Belize.

ADMINISTRATORS, MANAGERS AND CUSTODIANS
Mutual funds require reputable third party functionaries (administrators, managers and custodians). Our Firm, in conjunction with our licensed administrator in Belize for mutual funds, can assist you with the fund’s formation and is able to hold the underlying fund property, receive subscriptions and pay out dividends.

TAX EXEMPTION
An international business company (IBC), partnership (LLP) or a Unit Trust can be the applicant for a Mutual Fund license. Funds that are recognized and registered under the Mutual Fund Act of Belize are exempted from Exchange Control regulations and from all income tax, business tax and stamp duty. This is therefore a unique and diverse investment opportunity that yields tax free dividends and capital gains for mutual fund investors.

The following fee summary outlines the Government Fees, disbursements and other costs associated in setting up a mutual fund.

FEE STRUCTURE:

Act as Application Processing Agent

Euros 9,500.00

Provision of an IBC in Belize with US$ 1,000,000.00 Share Capital

Euros 4,750.00

Obtaining Investment Management License

Euros 2,750.00

Registered Office

Euros 750.00/annual

Local Registered Agent Fees

Euros 750.00/annual

Annual Maintenance Fees

Euros 1,250.00/annual

1 st Year Annual Government License Fee
(US$ 1,000)

Euros 700.00/annual

Setting up 1 st Bank Account in Belize

Euros 700.00/annual

Setting up 2 nd Bank Account outside Belize

Euros 870.00/annual

2 Sets of Legalized (apostilled) documents for Bank Account opening purposes

Euros 600.00/annual

Administrator of Funds

Euros 3,500.00/annual + 1% of total funds

General Disbursements

Euros 750.00

Government/Registration Fees:

Application Fee for the Registration of a Public Fund

Euros 900.00

License Fee for a Registered Public Fund

Euros 900.00

Application Fee for the Registration of a Private or Professional Fund

Euros 750.00

License Fee for a Registration of a Private or Professional Fund

Euros 750.00

Application for Manager License

Euros 750.00

Application for Administrator License

Euros 750.00

Application for Certificate of Compliance

Euros 75.00

Courier Fees

Euros 75.00

Optional Services:

Provision of Nominee Administrator for the Fund

Euros 3,500.00/annual + 1% of total funds

For any further questions or matter you may discuss with us, please do not hesitate to contact us with your relevant questions.

 

 

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