What is an Offshore Private Mutual Fund?
There are two basic types of offshore mutual funds, one that is open for public investment (public) and one that is limited to an exclusive number of individuals (private).
A mutual fund is an investment vehicle that allows investors to collectively pursue an opportunity; while an offshore mutual funds gives one the added advantage of allowing investors access to international markets with the ability to receive tax free capital gains.
Offshore Funds gives a great deal of freedom in management structure and operations allowing investors the ability to shape the vehicle according to its purpose: as part of a offshore company, partnership, trust or any other similar financial structure.
Offshore Private Mutual Funds are specifically for individuals looking to internationalize their portfolio while receiving tax free earnings in a minimally regulated environment. They are limited to a small number of persons and usually have a required minimum financial investment. A St. Lucia Private Mutual Fund, for example, has a limit of 100 persons and a minimum of 50,000 USD, while most other Funds require a 100,000 USD balance and are limited to under 50 persons.
Offshore funds have minimum governmental involvement and financial regulation, allowing you the ability to maximize your leverage and potential in your international investment.
St. Lucia Private Mutual Fund Set Up
St. Lucia offers a very flexible and minimally registered regime for those looking to set up a private mutual fund. Compared to other jurisdictions, the fees and regulations are very reasonable and allow for up to 100 investors compared to the typical 50 in most other jurisdictions, such as BVI and St. Vincent. Similarly, the minimal investment amount is only USD 50,000 rather than the customary USD 100,000.
Offshore Private Mutual Fund Details
The International Mutual Funds Act, No. 44 of 1999, herein the 'Act', defines a Mutual Fund and allows for mutual funds to be established as a:
- Unit Trust
- Company; or
Under the International Mutual Funds (Amendment) Act, 2002, a Private Mutual Fund is defined to be a Mutual Fund where:
- The equity interests are held by not more that 100 persons
- The minimum investment in the Fund is USD 50,000 per person; and
- The only persons qualified to participate:
- Have experience in the type of investment in which the fund is interested; or
- Have signed a declaration that they, whether individually or jointly with his or her spouse, have a minimum net worth in excess of USD 1,000,000; or
- Are members of an investment club; or
- Are international business companies
By contrast, an International Mutual Fund must hold a valid licence and have a fund administrator based in St. Lucia (typically more than 100 members, each with more than USD 50,000 investment, are required).
Offshore Mutual Fund Requirements for Registration
The Act does not prescribe any limits on the investment policy of a St. Lucia Mutual Fund, nor does it dictate portfolio requirements.
A Private Mutual Fund is not required to have any service providers (including directors of corporate entities) in St. Lucia, other than the registered office and registered agent in the case of an International Business Company (IBC); similarly, an International Trust only requires a registered Trustee. In addition, the investment manager, administrator, custodian/prime broker, investment adviser and all other service providers may be located in any jurisdiction.
Unlike other Mutual Funds, a Private Mutual Fund does not require a license to carry on mutual fund business from St. Lucia, however, it does need to be registered with the International Financial Services.
A Private Mutual Fund is allowed to carry on its business in or from Saint Lucia for a period not exceeding 21 days without being registered. Thus, registration can be deferred until the Fund is established and operating.
A Private Mutual Fund may only be registered if it provides proof satisfactory to the Minister that:
- It is a Private Fund as defined by the Act and meets the criteria above; and
- It is lawfully constituted under the law in force in St. Lucia.
The requirement to be lawfully constituted under the laws of St. Lucia can be met by setting up an IBC under the International Business Companies Act or establishing an International Trust under the International Trusts Act.
The International Business Companies Act prescribes a very efficient protocol for IBC's (and Trusts), which are both tax-exempt entities and can be incorporated on the same day that the constitutional documents (the Memorandum and Articles of Association) are filed with the Registrar of Companies.
Dual Registration Possibilities
Where a Private Mutual Fund is registered in jurisdiction other than St. Lucia, it may apply for registration if it satisfies the following requirements:
- It is a Private Fund within the meaning of the Act;
- It is lawfully constituted under the law of another jurisdiction; and
- A written description of the nature and scope of its business are submitted to the Minister.