This article is the inaugural edition of Ten On The Weekend, a segment we intend to make a weekly feature on IMI. The concept of TOTW is simple: Each weekend, we’ll ask the same ten questions to a different industry figure, letting readers get to know the interviewee on a more personal and informal level than they might in an ordinary business setting.
Our first weekend guest is Nuri Katz, Founder of Apex Capital Partners.
How do you spend your weekends?
We have such a crazy business where clients want to meet you all the time outside of working hours that often I end up working much of the weekends. Sometimes, even when there are no clients, I find I need to catch up on all sorts of other work, including things like answering questions for journalists as I am doing this Sunday morning. Having said that, I always do my best to be home from my travels on the weekend so that at least I can spend those weekends with my family.”
What are your top three business goals this year?
I believe that this year we will see Montenegro emerge as the best citizenship program in Europe. We are very excited that Apex Capital Partners was chosen as one of the only three agents for the program and look forward to working with the government, the new developers to whom we introduced Montenegro, and, of course, all our clients from around the world.
Additionally, of course, we look forward to continuing our work with the Dominica program, supporting the country in its recovery from the devastation that was caused by Hurricane Maria. Dominica has shown itself to be so dynamic in its recovery. We want to, of course, continue to look for ways to add our value to the program and the country. Of course, as we work in all the other Carribean CIP’s, we will continue our efforts there, especially in St Kitts where we are building Ocean Grove, our 45-villa elite lifestyle project.
Finally, we see the industry having to move towards more innovative and more complex value-added solutions for HNWI clients needs. We, therefore, look forward to continuing to consult numerous governments with whom we are working on setting up new and innovative RBI and CBI programs.
What’s your biggest business concern right now?
My biggest concern is the race to the bottom on prices for developments. I am afraid that long terms this will negatively affect both the developers and the countries.
Which book is on your night-stand right now?
I am embarrassed but I must admit that I don’t actually have a book on my nightstand. In this industry, where we have clients and offices on one side of the planet and operations on the other side of the planet, we are forced to change time zones almost weekly. Just this week I changed time zones four times! I live my life in a constant state of jet lag. As such, when I get to bed, I don’t bother reading, I just grab as much sleep as I possibly can.
How and when did you first get into the investment migration industry?
Back in 1992, I met the mayor of Montreal, who came to visit Moscow where I was living at the time. He introduced me to a banker who was involved in the young Canadian Investor Immigration program. Those meetings were the beginning of my career in the investor immigration business, and I have been involved in so many different aspects of the industry since that time.
What was your proudest moment as a service provider?
It is almost impossible to point to one moment in a 27-year career. There have been many clients for whom we have worked whose lives were changed in so many positive ways due to our efforts. There have been many cases where we were able to prove to governments that our clients were truly deserving of citizenship despite misunderstandings on the part of those governments. Defending our clients’ interests is the essence of our work and, when we do that well, I am very satisfied.
But I must say that I am often the proudest when we ourselves refuse to work with clients who we know are not deserving of the various products we sell. We have often been offered huge amounts of money from individuals who we know should not receive citizenship or residence and, despite the fact that we could make huge amounts of money, we refused to accept their case. Refusing to accept large payments is an extremely difficult thing to do for any business person, so it does give me a good feeling of doing the right thing despite the pain that I feel at the loss of potential earnings.
Which investment migration market development has surprised you the most in the last year?
Well, obviously Turkey coming out of nowhere was a big surprise. I think what happened politically in Malta and the after-effects coming from that is a surprise that will lead to many more surprises and will have a very profound effect on the industry in the future.
If you could go 10 years back in time, what business decision would you change?
As business people, we make all sorts of business decisions all the time and many of them, probably most, are bound to be mistaken. From choosing investments to make, even to partners we choose, we often make mistakes. However, I am very satisfied with our leadership position in the market and what Apex Capital stands for, so I do not look back at mistakes, I am happy about the correct decisions I have made, and I look forward to the future.
What investment migration industry personality do you most admire?
There are two people I admire the most. Although not directly an investment migration personality, he is obviously very connected to the industry; Dr. Roosvelt Skerrit, the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, has done so much to bring his country back from the brink. He has used CBI funds so well as to basically save his country from what was an unimaginable disaster. He deserves all the credit in the world for the management of the post-Maria recovery and for managing his program in a responsible way helping the people of his country to literally survive and build Dominica up better than ever.
I also must say that I admire my wife who has also worked in the investor migration industry from before we met and continues to support and manage Apex Capital Partners in a way that I never could.
If all goes according to plan, what will you be doing five years from now?
I always say that in five years I hope that I will be comfortable enough to retire and live somewhere on some exotic island in the Carribean. Well, I don’t see retirement any time soon, it’s just not me. But I am lucky enough to have been living in the Caribbean for many years now and look forward to many mornings sipping coffee on our porch and looking at our view of the Carribean Sea.
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.