How do you spend your weekends?
Had you asked me this question a year ago my answer would have been oh so very different. We have been blessed as parents and most of our social patterns revolve around our daughter. In short, if it’s not with the closest of friends, family, or a children’s event, it’s not happening!
What are your top three business goals this year?
We are proud to be the main advisor to a new CIP launching in the coming months. We believe that we can fully realize this program’s potential by ensuring a high-quality regulatory framework, intermediaries, value chain, and a general ecosystem with strong foundations. This is my singular goal.
What’s your biggest business concern right now?
Government corruption in most CIP programs in some shape or form. First and foremost, as a citizen of Cyprus, I find my government to be intellectually vacant. They lack discipline, are nepotistic, and have an incredible capacity to take every good thing we have, make a hard right, and slam it into a wall. Men of ambition from an era long gone remain in power, whereas men of character are conspicuously absent. This was shown in the events that caused the demise of the FDI record-setting Cyprus CIP.
Which book is on your nightstand right now?
Being a nascent father, even with a nanny, I cannot find the time to read anymore. Neither the tomes of books on my shelf nor my Audible stand a chance in the face of our fully charged infant! I do enjoy the Prophet and keep a copy on my desk and nightstand. It is one of the best sellers of all time. His poetry still gives me goosebumps after having read it 1,000 times at least. An easy read that helps us remember who we are in this ever-changing world. From a less-known perspective, the book helps me think in “silos”.
How and when did you first get into the investment migration industry?
Many years ago, it was an elegant business. I had made my fortune in real estate, took a four-year career sabbatical, and traveled to 44 countries financing, supporting, and initiating 54 humanitarian projects. When I returned to Dubai, my home for over 17 years, I found myself out of love with the real estate space. Using my pre-existing network of UHNWIs, I entered the space of representing Cypriot properties for citizenship. This soon became IRC Invest, representing all the more affordable options such as the Caribbean CIPs as well.
What was your proudest moment as a service provider?
My proudest moment happens daily. Walking into a meeting with my breathtaking, incredibly smart all-rounder wife. She is my partner in IRC and, although I’m the CEO and she is the COO, I assure you, she is the boss.
Which investment migration market development has surprised you the most in the last year?
Again, Cyprus. The government officials caught on camera by the Al Jazeera Reportage stating that they would not have any issues offering a passport to a criminal, gave Brussels all the ammunition it needed to finally shut down an EU CIP. As if it were not bad enough that it took a couple of fools with inherited positions of power who abused them for personal gain, they then went on to reject 72% of applications that fulfilled all the requirements of the CIP and had already invested the minimum EUR 2m+ property acquisition. We are currently leading an initiative to pursue this decision and, in turn, sue the responsible officials (government), who, naturally in a country like ours, get an honorable discharge, and a fully-funded pension, security, and all the perks for their years of disservice.
If you could go 10 years back in time, what business decision would you change?
Blockbuster shouldn’t have rejected Netflix. Nokia should not have rejected Android. Yahoo rejected Google. They surely live in regret! Like most people, I have spent much of my life with such thoughts. Once you have a child, however, the imaginary remote control and rewind button gets binned. Everything that happened has led to her birth. To change a single thing would mean I may not have met my incredible wife, which, in turn, would lead to the birth of our Aurora. You should watch an all-time favorite movie of mine; ‘About Time’’. It would fully expulse this thought.
What investment migration industry personality do you most admire?
There is little to admire these days in an industry that seems to gravitate towards freefall in ethical values. We should act as private banks with our client data, behave as a cartel with our pricing, and position ourselves as judges of the supreme court vis-a-vis the words and truths that come out of our mouths. I can truly say I genuinely have only one person who has this ethical code. My wife, partner, and COO of IRC Invest. Without her, our company would be a shadow of its current self.
If all goes according to plan, what will you be doing five years from now?
We advise five governments and are proud to launch a new program in the coming months. Add to that our day-to-day for all the existing CIPs. This will surely inundate all our capacities, even as workaholics! The other part of the plan is to be the best father I can be. That itself supersedes the former. ‘For in truth, it is life that gives on to life, whilst you, who deem yourself a giver, are nothing more than its witness’- Khalil Gibran in The Prophet.
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.