Quarter 2, 2019

Newsletter

 

In this Issue:

  1. New ESAAMLG Report – Mauritius reclassified as largely Compliant
  2. Amendment of The Non-Citizens (Employment Restriction) Exemptions Regulations
  3. FSC Mauritius issues Guidance Notes on Securities Token Offerings
  4. Mauritius – The 2nd Fastest Wealth Market Globally
  5. The MIFC – Not Blacklisted by the OECD
  6. Mauritius and Mozambique – Signature of 3 MOUs
  7. Mauritius tops  Worldwide indices in Africa
  8. Consultation Paper on regulatory framework for overseas family office
  9. The Mauritius Kenya Double Taxation Agreement
  10. India-focused funds

New ESAAMLG Report – Mauritius reclassified as largely compliant

Mauritius continues to be a compliant, secure and safe business and investment destination, as highlighted by the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-money Laundering Group’s (“ESAAMLG”) latest mutual evaluation report. With the implementation of the 40 recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”), Mauritius has been reclassified as   largely compliant.

In September 2018, the ESAAMLG mutual evaluation report on Mauritius, while pointing the fact that the country was mostly compliant with 40 recommendations of the FATF, called for an improved mechanism in 12 specific areas.  Since then, the Ministry of Financial Services and Good Governance as well as all concerned parties and enforcement authorities, worked for a better compliance according to the requirements of FATF.

Mauritius therefore remains a transparent and reliable International Financial Centre depicting healthy and constructive investment environment.

 

Amendment of The Non-Citizens (Employment Restriction) Exemptions Regulations

The Non-Citizens (Employment Restriction) Exemptions Regulations had been amended on 21 and 28 March 2019 respectively to the effect that foreigners who were married to Mauritian citizens would have had to apply for a permit should they have been working or intended to work in Mauritius.

Further to representations made, the amendments published on 28 March 2019 through GN 55 of 2019 have now been repealed and have been replaced by amendments of GN 68 of 2019, effective as of 15 April 2019. Accordingly, non-citizens’ spouses who were working prior to the 8th March 2019 will continue to be exempted from the requirements of a permit.

However, an employer who, with effect from or any time after 8 March 2019, has in his employment a non-citizen who is either spouse of a citizen of Mauritius and/or, until remarriage, a surviving spouse of a citizen of Mauritius, may, for a period of 3 months after the coming into operation of these regulations, have the non-citizen in his employment without there being in force a permit in respect of the non-citizen. The employer of the non-citizen who intends to continue to have the non-citizen in his employment must, within a period of 3 months after the coming into operation of these regulations, apply and obtain a permit in respect of the non-citizen under the Non-Citizens (Employment Restriction) (Work Permit) Regulations 2017.

KOF indices of globalisation have set out very useful data set of researchers, who are interested in empirical studies of international trade.

 

FSC Mauritius issues Guidance Notes on Securities Token Offerings (“STOs”).

The Financial Services Commission, Mauritius (FSC), remains highly supportive of Fintech-related initiatives in Mauritius.

Following the Guidance Note on the Recognition of Digital Assets as an asset-class for investment by Sophisticated and Expert Investors, the FSC had been receiving queries from stakeholders regarding the statutory requirements applicable to STOs.

On 8 April 2019, the FSC issued the Guidance Note on STOs , the second in the Fintech Series, under section 7(1)(a) of the Financial Services Act 2007, highlights the regulatory approach of the FSC in relation to STOs.

 

Mauritius – The 2nd Fastest Wealth Market Globally

According to the latest AfrAsia Bank Global Wealth Migration Review in collaboration with New World Wealth, there has been an incredible growth of 124 percent between 2008 and 2018 in Mauritius.

Mauritius has been ranked as the second fastest growing wealth market worldwide. The jurisdiction is also among the fastest growing wealth markets list by 2028 and factors such as security and safety, strong economic growth, a well-developed banking system as well as ease of investment are attributed to the growth of wealth in the country.

 

The MIFC – Not Blacklisted by the EU

The Council of the European Union, on 12 March 2019, issued a press release updating its blacklist of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. The blacklist contains 15 jurisdictions namely American Samoa, Guam, Trinidad & Tobago, US Virgin Islands, Barbados, United Arab Emirates, Marshall Islands, Aruba, Belize, Bermuda, Fiji, Oman, Vanuatu and Dominica.

As a result of the prompt commitment taken by the Government of Mauritius on the 4th of February 2019, whereby the Government undertook to take necessary actions in line with best international tax standards by the end of 2019, Mauritius does not feature on the said blacklist.

Mauritius remains committed to uphold its adherence to international norms and best practices and the Mauritian authorities will continue to work closely with stakeholders in ensuring the good repute of the jurisdiction.

 

Mauritius and Mozambique – Signature of 3 MoUs

On the occasion of the 184th Anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery, the President of the Republic of Mozambique, Mr Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, paid a state visit to Mauritius from 30 January to 2 February 2019 as chief guest  for the occasion.

The two countries seized this opportunity to further strengthen their long-standing bilateral relations. Three Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) pertaining to cooperation in three spheres were signed:

1) Environment – for enhanced cooperation in the field of environment protection and the conservation of national resources;

2) Tourism – for the promotion of both countries as tourism destinations, as well as technical assistance in tourism marketing and the facilitation of investments in the field of tourism development and;

3) between the Economic Development Board (EDB) of Mauritius and its counterpart in Mozambique, for the establishment of a practical framework for cooperation with regards to trade and investment, trade promotion, the strengthening of institutional relations and capacity building.

It is to be noted that a MoU regarding to the supply of Liquefied Natural Gas between the State Trading Corporation of Mauritius and its counterpart is also in preparation.

 

Mauritius tops Worldwide indices in Africa

Index Global Rank African Rank
Forbes Survey of Best Countries for Business 2018 39 out of 160 1st
Democracy Index 2018 16 out of 167 1st
KOF Globalisation Index 2018 51 out of 20 1st

 

 

Consultation Paper on regulatory framework for overseas family office

In 2016, the Financial Services Act 2007 (“FSA”) was amended to introduce the Overseas Family Office Single (“SFO”) Licence and the Overseas Family Office (“MFO”) Licence.

An SFO is a company licensed by the FSC under section 14 of the Financial Services Act, to manage the investment, assets and estate of a single Family. The SFO shall not engage in any financial activity requiring a licence under the relevant Acts. The FSC may on a case to case basis grant a relevant financial services licence to a SFO.

A MFO or Overseas Family Office (Multiple) is a company licensed by the FSC under section 14 of the Financial Services Act, to manage the investment, assets and estate of multiple Families, who are not necessarily connected to one another. The MFO shall not engage in any financial activity requiring a licence under the relevant Acts. The FSC may on a case to case basis grant a relevant financial services licence to a MFO.

The Financial Services Commission (‘FSC’) has been seeking views and comments from the industry, relevant professionals and the public on proposed regulatory standards/requirements for Overseas Family Office Licences.

 

The Mauritius Kenya Double Taxation Agreement

Both the governments of Kenya and Mauritius have demonstrated their wish to strengthen economic and bilateral relationship by signing a new Double Taxation Agreement (‘DTA’) during the state visit of the Kenyan President, Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta in April to Mauritius, after the High Court of Kenya invalidated the Kenya-Mauritius DTA due to a failure by the Kenyan Parliament to table the legal notice in March 2019.  However, it was made clear that the reasons for the nullification were the lack of public participation in the DTA exercise, the lack of openness in the process and that the DTA was not for the benefit of Kenya as stated in the petition of the Tax Justice Network Africa to the Kenyan High Court.

We therefore now await for the ratification of this DTA in Kenya to further boost economic trade and exchanges between both countries.

 

India Focused Funds

Applications for fund structures are now under even more in-depth scrutiny by the authorities in line with the country’s determination to showcase its compliance with all major international tax norms.

This stand has encouraged many promoters of global and India-focused funds to establish their presence in the country thereby bringing comfort to investors.

 

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