Ten On The Weekend

EU Can “Significantly Impact Value Of Caribbean Passports”: 10 On The Weekend With Charles Savva

10 On The Weekend is a weekly (-ish) feature in IMI, the concept of which is simple: Each time, we ask the same ten questions of a different IMI Pro, letting readers get to know the interviewee on a more personal and informal level than they might during the ordinary course of business.

Our guest this week is Charles Savva, CEO at C. Savva & Associates

How do you spend your weekends?

I dedicate most of my weekends to spending quality time with my family. My wife, three young children, and I love exploring the stunning locales around our home in Cyprus. 

We often go yachting or visit various scenic spots across the island. Being a sports-oriented family, we engage in various activities together, like tennis, basketball, and football, which are great for bonding and keeping active. 

Alongside family time, I also prioritize my professional development. I use part of the weekend to stay updated with the latest trends and updates in international tax and investment immigration, ensuring I remain at the forefront of industry developments.

What are your top three business goals this year?

First, due to the recent and upcoming substantial changes in tax regulations in both the UK and the US, including the significant shift caused by the termination of the UK’s long-standing non-domicile regime, our primary goal is to intensify our engagement with these markets. 

These changes present a significant opportunity to support our clients through the turbulence caused by the upcoming elections and the evolving tax landscape. 

Second, we are launching an ambitious digital marketing strategy which has already shown promising early results in 2024. This initiative is crucial as we aim to bolster our brand, Savva & Associates, highlighting our expertise as leaders in the international tax and investor immigration arenas. 

Lastly, we plan to enhance our community engagement further, actively contributing to local initiatives and promoting financial literacy within our community. 

These goals align with our commitment to excellence and leadership in our industry. They ensure we provide the best service to our clients while adapting to global and regional economic shifts.

What’s your biggest business concern right now?

My biggest business concern currently centers on the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Palestine. These wars have significant geopolitical repercussions that pose challenges for our clients, particularly those from regions directly affected. 

The war in Ukraine, coupled with the conflict in Palestine, has shifted much of Europe’s political focus and resources, which impacts our ability to support clients through stable investment and migration services. 

Cyprus has close ties with both regions, and the uncertainty these conflicts introduce affects key client segments of the professional services industry on the island, including investment stability and regulatory changes. We closely monitor these situations to adapt our strategies to provide reliable support to our clients affected by these geopolitical tensions.

These concerns are especially poignant given Cyprus’s significant economic interactions with Russia and its status as a favored destination for Russian investors and tourists, which have become more complex due to sanctions and geopolitical tensions arising from the war in Ukraine​. 

Furthermore, the ongoing conflict in Israel-Palestine has also drawn considerable international attention, potentially overshadowing the situation in Ukraine, with significant implications for EU foreign policy and regional stability.​

Which book is on your nightstand right now?

My current bedtime read is Trust Laws in Cyprus: An International Perspective. TRenowned experts in the field who delve into the significance of Cypriot trusts within contemporary asset protection, wealth, and tax planning strategies have authored this book. It is a 2023 release, and I highly recommend it to all tax and investor immigration professionals!

How and when did you first get into the investment migration industry?

I ventured into the investment migration sector in 2013, right after Cyprus experienced a severe banking crisis. 

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In response, the Cypriot government initiated both citizenship and residency by investment programs aimed at rejuvenating foreign investment. These initiatives quickly soared to prominence, with the citizenship program gaining recognition as the foremost of its kind globally. 

As one of Cyprus’s leading service providers, we embraced a dynamic role in these programs, spearheading their promotion at major immigration and wealth events worldwide and solidifying our presence as vital contributors to Cyprus’s economic revival.

What was your proudest moment as a service provider?

My proudest moment as a service provider occurred in 2014, just one year after Cyprus’s investment migration programs began. We successfully facilitated the investment migration of a prominent international business figure, which brought substantial investment to Cyprus and highlighted the strategic significance of our services globally. 

This milestone was a point of celebration at a major industry conference, where the attendees and hosts recognized our team for its excellence and innovation in the field. 

It was a profound validation of our hard work and dedication, and it significantly raised our profile in the international community, reinforcing Cyprus as a key player in the investment migration industry.

Which investment migration market development has surprised you the most in the last year?

The most surprising development in the investment migration market over the last year has been the European Union’s discussions around possibly canceling visa-free travel for Caribbean passport holders. 

This consideration is due to concerns regarding the management of Caribbean citizenship by investment programs and their implications for security and immigration control within the EU. 

Such changes could significantly impact the mobility and value of Caribbean passports, which traditionally offer broad visa-free access, including to Schengen countries. This shift in policy underscores evolving EU strategies towards non-EU citizenship arrangements.

If you could go ten years back in time, what business decision would you change?

If I could go back ten years, I would rethink the extent to which we relied heavily on certain markets for our investment migration services. 

Diversifying earlier into more varied global markets could have mitigated risks associated with geopolitical changes and economic downturns in key regions. 

This strategic adjustment would have positioned us to handle global shifts more effectively, ensuring a more stable and robust business model.

What investment migration industry personality do you most admire?

In the investment migration industry, I most admire Christian Kälin, often known as the “Passport King.” 

His pioneering work in developing citizenship-by-investment programs has fundamentally shaped the industry’s landscape. Kälin’s vision and expertise have helped countries structure their investment migration programs to attract significant foreign investments, boosting local economies while providing HNWIs with mobility and security. 

His impact on global citizenship and residency planning continues to influence both policy and practice worldwide.

If all goes according to plan, what will you be doing five years from now?

If all goes according to plan, five years from now, I envision myself leading our firm to new heights in the investment migration and tax optimization industries. 

We’ll expand our global footprint, establishing more strategic partnerships worldwide. This expansion will allow us to offer a broader range of bespoke migration solutions that cater to an increasingly diverse clientele. 

Additionally, I aim to leverage technology to enhance our service delivery, making the process more seamless and accessible to clients everywhere. This will solidify our position as industry leaders in innovation and client service.

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