In a response to the airing of an investigative report on the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) by Canadian state broadcaster CBC Radio Canada, the CEO of the Investment Migration Council (IMC), Mr. Bruno L’ecuyer, has issued an open letter to all Residency and Citizenship by Investment professionals.
For background, see Tajick: Public Broadcaster Investigation Rocks Québec IIP
In referring all industry stakeholders to the IMC Code of Ethics, the letter also makes clear the obligation of all RCbI professionals to uphold the fundamental values promoted by the IMC: ethics, morality, transparency, and openness.
The letter is reprinted in full below.
Dear Residency and Citizenship by Investment Professional,
On Friday, September 21, a Canadian state broadcaster – CBC Radio Canada – went live with a global report following an extensive undercover investigation into the investment migration industry, specifically the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP). The report was predominantly concentrated on Hong Kong where a team of journalists posed as a wealthy Chinese entrepreneur seeking a Canadian residency permit. They uncovered a small number of client advisors offering ways in which the due diligence process and key requirements of the programme could be circumvented.
It is clear what the journalist team set out to do and what message they wanted to convey with the report. I’m not afraid to admit that they partially succeeded. We are operating at a time of unprecedented interest in our industry and indeed in our business. With that interest comes great opportunity but also significant scrutiny. Regardless of the bias in the report, representatives of our industry failed to act in a manner that aligns with the fundamental values we promote at the IMC: ethics, morality, transparency, and openness.
Humans are not infallible, and no industry can ever operate free of individuals seeking a shortcut. Of course, any unchecked investment migration programme is open to abuse, and without oversight and a rigid code of ethics it leaves itself vulnerable to claims of corruption.
Therefore, we must take it upon ourselves to protect the industry that we helped to pioneer. By being open about the rigorous processes that aspiring citizens must go through, we can avoid the opacity that sours so much of the discourse around investment migration.
We have a collective and underlying responsibility to ensure that best practices are followed at all times, and so I ask – please remind colleagues that unprofessional and illegal advice will put their own career at risk, especially when it brings companies and the industry unfairly into disrepute.
It is our legal and moral duty to act in the best interests of the industry and ensure that we continue to adhere to the IMC Code of Ethics. Nothing less will suffice.
I invite you to visit our website, download, review and share the Code with your colleagues.
Please see: www.investmentmigration.org/code-of-ethics-and-professional-conduct/
Signed by Bruno L’ecuyer, CEO of the Investment Migration Council
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.