Mauritius Eyes Asia, Far East for Its Financial Services

Mauritius plans to sell itself as a world class financial-services hub to investment companies in Asia and the Far East to win new business, an official said.

The island-nation’s Financial Services Promotional Agency plans to market the country as an international financial center, or IFC, and is already collaborating with the City of London, according to Chief Executive Harvesh Seegolam.

International fund managers domiciled in Mauritius were the source of $139.3 billion in portfolio investment in other countries, by the end of June 2015, from $122.6 billion six months earlier, according to statistics from Mauritius’ Financial Services Commission. India was the main destination with as much as 80 percent of total portfolio investment in December.

“The Mauritius IFC will be more visible in the international fora and the FSPA will consolidate our existing traditional markets and develop new markets, especially in Asia and the Far East,” Seegolam said in an interview Thursday.

The FSPA will be promoting captive insurance activities, new rules for overseas family offices and fresh legislation on limited liability partnerships and international law firms, Seegolam said.

Foreign Funds

Mauritius has concluded 43 double-taxation treaties that allow companies registered in the two countries to pay taxes in only one, according to the revenue authority. The nation has attracted a lot of foreign funds because of its low effective corporate tax rate of 3 percent. The country doesn’t also levy capital gains or withholding tax on dividends.

The African Union warned last year that Mauritius’ operation as a “relatively financially secretive conduit” exposed it and other regional nations to illegal financial flows.

The FSPA was working to enhance Mauritius’ image as a clean and reputable jurisdiction, Seegolam said.

Last year, Mauritius’ central bank revoked Bramer Banking Corp.’s license due to lack of liquidity. Its sister company, BAI Co. was accused of engaging in a Ponzi scheme exceeding 25 billion rupees ($702 million) and the Financial Services Commission appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP its conservator.

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