Global mobility is an important aspect of the lifestyle that ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) enjoy and, increasingly, earning permanent residency in locales where they spend extended periods of time each year is becoming an important consideration. A new research report published by the team at Provenance Properties, in partnership with Wealth-X and Barton Consulting, provides an analysis of the factors considered and describes the benefits of establishing residency in a jurisdiction like the Cayman Islands.
Today, ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWI) have many options when it comes to establishing residency and most of these are achieved through investment in their locale of choice. Countries like Malta, Portugal, and the Cayman Islands have well-publicised programs and the US, UK, New Zealand, and Canada also offer residency through investment schemes, although they are sometimes less-known or not as readily considered.
The report analyses the segment of wealthy families attracted to residency by investment programs and the factors that are most commonly part of the decision-making process, including:
Most people assume tax efficiency is the ‘ultimate’ driving factor for residency through investment, but the reality is that it will depend on the UHNWI in question. A UHNWI who travels regularly and plans to spend little time in their new country will likely prioritise a favourable fiscal environment. For a UHNWI that will spend lots of time there with their family, tax neutrality is likely to be an important consideration but not their main one: lifestyle, language, education options (for those with school-age children), leisure activities, and security will also hold significant weight.
Safety is a critical point of reflection – especially for those who originally hail from regions where day-to-day security is a genuine concern. A location with a track record of safety and low crime is paramount. Residency programs in locations where an UHNWI can potentially live a more relaxed lifestyle from a security perspective and move around more freely can be a priority.
Increasingly, residency through investment isn’t simply a ‘tick-box’ activity, especially for UHNWI who plan to spend any amount of time in their new home. “What kind of life am I going to live?” is a crucial question, and UHNWIs are looking at how they will spend their time, keep busy, and how fulfilled they will feel. Locations that lack any real leisure amenities may struggle to attract UHNWI.
For those with children, access to excellent education is essential. Some UHNWIs will prefer to put their children into boarding schools abroad, especially if they travel regularly. However, others want to focus on the quality of life for children through their educational years. For the latter, a location with excellent schools will be a deciding factor.
Why Cayman for residency through investment?
Firstly, for many UHNWI from the Americas (north, central, or south), Cayman is geographically close, meaning it’s easy to retain a connection with their home country as well as oversee investments and business ventures anywhere on the continents. UHNWIs from the UK will also be attracted by Cayman, given the close relationship with the UK and regular direct flights every week from London.
Cayman’s tax-efficient environment will also be a big draw given there are no corporate, income, inheritance, capital gains, or withholding taxes in the Cayman Islands. Likewise, the fact that Cayman has no restrictions on foreign ownership of property, no alien landholding license requirements, and no recurring property taxes will be appealing for many. UHNWI from countries where wealth control and wealth taxes are being considered will find a particular affinity with Cayman’s tax regime.
For UHNWI from anywhere in the Americas, Cayman’s time zone is also advantageous. Despite not necessarily adhering to a 9-5 schedule, UHNWIs often need to make business or investment decisions, and they will remain involved in managing and overseeing their wealth. Aligning closely with working hours in Canada, the US, and LatAm can seem like a minor consideration, but it is important, and many UHNWI have a strong preference for being in a time zone that they deem to be practical.
Cayman’s low crime rate is also important. The safety of the islands lends itself to more freedom and relaxed security for those who had previously had to move exclusively with armoured vehicles and 24/7 security. Ultimately, every UHNWI will decide how much protection they want on-island, but the overall safety of Cayman makes for a highly attractive place to take up residence.
The stable economy and legal system will also attract UHNWI to Cayman. Given that Cayman operates under the British rule of law and its ultimate court of appeal is the UK Privy Council is highly advantageous, as is the fact that Cayman is a British Overseas Territory, defended by the UK and relying on the UK’s foreign policy.
Finally, most UHNWI considering a locale like the Cayman Islands will seek residency through investment, not citizenship. However, there is a medium-term option to secure a British overseas passport via the Certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means route for qualified applicants, should they wish.
To request a copy of the report in full please email the Provenance Properties team at firstname.lastname@example.org.