EGON VON GREYERZ
Discusses the profoundly simple solution to fiat
Looks at stagflation and world markets
Delivers his expert analysis on gold
On profitability and banking in St Helena
EGON VON GREYERZ
Discusses the profoundly simple solution to fiat
Looks at stagflation and world markets
Delivers his expert analysis on gold
On profitability and banking in St Helena
Jinhee Wilde provides her leading insight into HNW and investment immigration solutions for affluent clients
opens the door to virtual payment transactions when visiting the remote island of St Helenaa unique destination with limited International Card Payment Services.
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Thomas Hughes, Rachel Smith, Oliver Taylor, Shannon Berkley, Vincenzo Morello, Cheryl Jones
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IBCs in Montserrat 40
Shannon Berkley explores the sparsely populated Caribbean British Overseas Territory.
Business in Puerto Rico 42
Rachel Smith reports on the island located in the Northeast of the Caribbean Sea.
The Norwegian mixed economy 44
Balanced capitalism and a prosperous welfare state. Thomas Hughes explores the dichotomy.
Digital IDs and
Shannon Berkley explains why Digital IDs and CBDCs combined are a misuse of technology.
The Bitcoin wars 48
Oliver Taylor explores the differences between Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Satoshi Vision.
Improvements in auto technology 50
Cars today have features that were previously only science fiction. Thomas Hughes reports.
Sustainable aviation fuel 52
Rachel Smith reports on how aircraft owners could explore biofuels for greener travel.
Aircraft registration in Malta 54 Malta has set an example of growth in the aviation industry. Oliver Taylor tells us why.
World class hospitality 56
Oliver Taylor reviews why Qatar Airways has become one of the most sought after airlines.
Is small beautiful? 58
Dr. Keith Pond explores how micro-credentials can open higher education to global society.
Profitability and business strategy 60
Oliver Taylor takes a look at the key concerns for businesses in today’s economic landscape.
An international outlook 62
Andrew Main Wilson, CEO, AMBA, discusses the continued demand for MBA programmes.
Exploring Saint Helena
Cheryl Jones reports on tourism, luxury travel and life in the British Overseas territory.
Don’t wait to buy real estate 66
Oliver Taylor discusses the multiple advantages that make property the best asset class.
Luxury shopping in Monte Carlo 68
The elegant Monte Carlo is synonymous with luxury living. Shannon Berkley reports.
Helping buyers and sellers 70 Century 21 Harvey Properties have hands-on experience and proven performance.
Rachel Smith, looks at why a Chateau Margaux estate wine can be a potent investment.
The Cayman Islands Aircraft Registry is the registry of choice for many owners and management companies with corporate aircraft ranging from Cessna Citation, Gulfstream, Embracer, Airbus and Boeing Business Jets. Standards are rigid and specifications exact to qualify, but this has led to the register being highly respected and recognized throughout the aviation industry internationally. The Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI) is the statutory body responsible for aviation regulatory oversight throughout the Cayman Islands and for aircraft registered in the Cayman Islands. The CAACI works in close partnership with a specialized group of legal firms and Cayman Islands Government authorities to ensure that clients have the most comprehensive counsel on every avenue of law, custom law, tax and insurance.
1. The Cayman Islands provides a safe, stable and ‘friendly flag’ jurisdiction for registration of aircraft and boasts a highly developed legal system and a respected system for perfecting security over aircraft
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3. The CAACI, as the statutory authority responsible for safety regulatory oversight throughout the Cayman Islands and for aircraft registered in the Cayman Islands wherever they operate. The CAACI provide technical experts in the Flight Operations and Airworthiness departments and will dispatch inspectors/surveyors from these disciplines to review aircraft based globally.
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8. The Cayman Maritime & Aviation City offers an exceptional opportunity for businesses in the aviation sector to leverage the outstanding features of the Cayman Islands business environment, particularly where a physical presence is required, for example in obtaining an AOC, operating offshore the Cayman Islands.
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10. The CAACI offers an innovative solution to lessors and financiers requiring a reputable register to facilitate the temporary registration of aircraft that are transitioning between leases or have been repossessed. The CAACI will facilitate the temporary registration of an aircraft on the Aircraft Register until the lessor or financier is ready to move to the next phase of the process, be that remarketing of the aircraft, sale, storage or otherwise.
What the world needs now are representative political leaders committed to relieving diplomatic tensions- true statesmen of the calibre of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, or JFK- with a focus on negotiations, not nukes because it is ultimately diplomatic solutions that are the only way forward in resolving international conflicts.
The world today is teetering on the edge of a financial abyss, with central banks printing money as if there’s no tomorrow and governments drowning in an everdeepening sea of debt. This dire economic situation is the result of irresponsible monetary policies and yet, instead of seeking solutions, central banks and governments have chosen to fan the flames of war and use it as a tool of distraction from the abysmal economic conditions they have created. We must recognise that now more than ever, diplomacy should take precedence over hawkish unilateralism if we are to recover from this crisis.
Since the dawn of time, human beings have sought to alter the political landscape in order to gain power and authority. Regime change has been attempted countless times, and it seems that each cycle breeds a new era of instability. The media in particular, which should function in its role as the fourth estate, has failed to provide a stabilising influence on relations between superpowers, instead riling up all sides for further confrontation at every turn, doing nothing to avert or assuage tensions. There can be no benefit to gaining all of the wealth in the world if nations fail to prevent thermonuclear war.
As tensions mount, it is crucial to contemplate the staggering devastation that could unfold if a real war were to break out. With the United States boasting 10,002 nuclear weapons, Russia stocking 23,232, and China now armed with over 2 million nukes, the consequences of deploying tanks, boats, jets, missiles and other weapons to foreign countries could prove disastrous if things spiral out of control.
Major General Smedley D. Butler stated: “War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international
in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” To safeguard the future of our children and grandchildren, diplomatic negotiations must be prioritised over every option
Humanity cannot handle another cataclysmic war. As Thomas Jefferson poignantly put it, “the two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalised version of the first.” Now in 2023 instead of central banks using the printing press to bring us into a golden age with Tesla technologies, subsidised housing grants, free energy, or grants for small business, they are financing military escapades abroad while the national population struggles to make ends meet, put gas in the tank, pay for energy or buy food. We must protect our constitutional rights and values, while our political leaders should serve their constituents by doing all they can to bring peace to every corner of our world. When it comes to war, cui bono? Executives must ponder who truly benefits from the profitability in this instance. Defence contractors? Politicians? Or perhaps the central banks, which serve as one of the main facilitators of war, which is financed through a system of deficit spending and monetisation. Edwin Starr sang it best in his 1970 Motown hit: “War! Huh, yeah! What is it good for? Absolutely nothin’!” EGJohn Marshall Editor-in-Chief, Executive Global
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The 196 acre estate is designed as a training mecca with six different training surfaces, including: ‘‘Summer’’, which is best utilised at that time when most other turf surfaces are harder; ‘‘Main Tapeta’’, 7 furlongs with its long uphill gallop; ‘‘Tapeta Round’’, a 4 furlong warmup track on Tapeta surface; ‘’Boomers Hill Turf’’, 5 1/2 furlongs uphill gallop for conditioning; ‘‘Noah’s Arc’’, good even with 2 inches of rain; and ‘‘Normal’’, which is best utilised under normal conditions. Also included is a modern 40 stall barn and a separate facility called
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Gold investors always want more! Last year saw sharply higher inflation around the world, a war in Europe, with stocks and other assets down: a perfect trifecta for gold.Article By Adrian Day CEO, ADRIAN DAY ASSET MANAGEMENT
Instead gold was down for much of the year. Why did we not see the sharp move in gold that many predicted? The metal’s performance left many gold investors disappointed and frustrated for most of the year.
There are misconceptions here. Most importantly, the gold price does not necessarily
move higher with inflation. In fact, its correlation with rising prices is rather weak. For one reason, where prices are going up, the market fears central bank tightening action to stop inflation, and that is negative for gold. Gold may go up in nominal dollars at the onset of an inflation period, but in real terms and relative to other assets, gold does not shine in inflations.
This was demonstrated clearly in Prof. Roy Jastram’s pathbreaking book, The Golden Constant. In a study of annual prices going back to the 13th century, Jastram demonstrated that gold performed better in deflationary periods than inflations
As for wars and geopolitical events, the impact on gold tends to be short lived. Often, indeed, gold moves up during the gathering storm, as a
crisis develops, and often peaks at or very shortly after the feared event. This was seen clearly with the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year, when gold peaked within a weak of the tanks rolling in. Gold often goes up when stocks are weak, but it’s a little more complex than that. In fact, it goes down almost as often, and there is very little correlation at all. Generally, three things determine whether gold goes down with stocks: had gold and gold stocks appreciated in the period before the decline– if so, they are more likely to go down with the broad market; are the gold stocks expensive–if so, they are more likely to go down; and what type of market decline–in a sharp sudden decline, think 1987, gold and gold stocks will fall as all assets are sold. Similarly, in a liquidity driven decline, gold will fall in a search for liquidity.
Apart from the above, there were two main reasons why gold did not move sharply higher last year, in US dollar terms at least. The relentless strength in the U.S. dollar was a very strong headwind. And rising rates and QT around the world leading to asset deflation.
Gold, as we know, performed quite well when priced in most currencies. Brits counting in pounds saw it up almost 12% for the year.
Even in U.S. dollar terms, at the end of the year, gold was essentially flat, holding up well in the face of a dollar that was up over 8%. It performed its job, therefore, in holding its own. In a period of general asset deflation, simply not losing made it a winner.
If gold is not correlated with current inflation, if geopolitical events have only a short-term impact; and if gold may or may not move up when stocks fall, what does move gold? These are the two key determinants of gold’s performance over more than a very short period: the currency and interest rates
The gold price in dollars has a clearly inverse relationship with the dollar. This is not surprising, since gold is money. As a bull market gathers strength, then we can see gold move up in terms of all currencies even if the dollar is relatively strong.
The relationship with interest rates is a little more complex, but not much. In a period of rising real rates when the market expects rates to continue to move up and inflation to be beaten, gold will be weak. But rates, even real rates, can be high and moving up, and gold can still appreciate. This happens if rates, though high, are not above the rate of inflation, and if the market does not expect rates to continue to move up.
We can see this distinction clearly in the 1970s. Federal Reserve Chairman Arthur Burns, widely viewed today as a weak chairman, was repeatedly raising rates, but always lagging inflation and the markets had little confidence in his ability to kill inflation. When Paul Volker came in, however, even though inflation was far higher than under Burns, rates started moving above the rate of inflation and the market believed that Volker would continue until the job was done, regardless of the short term cost to the economy. He was fortunate in having a president, Reagan, who supported him.
Today, interest rates are still well below the prevailing rate of inflation, even after the decline we have seen in the last couple of months. This is true in the U.K. and Europe as much as the U.S. The market, the gold market at least, is increasingly of the view that the Fed will not see the job through, and certainly not without a serious recession that might induce the Fed to reverse course. A pause before the job is done would be extremely positive for gold. That is why gold moved up in the last few of months, even as inflation was coming down.
Investors are beginning to realise that the Fed will not achieve 2% maximum inflation, and certainly not without a recession. Monetary policy works with long and variable lags. The most interest rate
Looking at the last seven recessions in the U.S. back to 1973, gold rose in all but one of those recessions (and in 2001, it declined by less than half a percent). Gold stocks outperformed the broad market in a majority of all recent recessions, since 1990. If we look at gold and gold stocks during and in the six-month period after recessions, we find positive performance in all but two of those periods; the first being the sharp Volcker recession of 1981 which came after a period of extraordinary performance for gold stocks; and the second, the short recession of 1990, which coincided with the onset of a period of heavy central bank selling. If, however, we see a stagflation, with persistent inflation and a sluggish or even declining economy, then we can expect gold and gold stocks to shine.
This scenario of persistently high inflation and a sluggish economy is the famous stagflation, such as the US experienced in the second half of the 1970s. It is a very favourable economic environment for gold and gold stocks.
We are also seeing a strong boost in central bank buying, the result of the weaponisation of the dollar and the global banking system by the U.S. Suffice to say now that this is going to be a long-term trend and clearly very bullish for the metal.
Lastly, let’s look at the gold stocks: they remain very undervalued, despite a strong rally since mid September, that saw the index (XAU) up over 50% at one point.
sensitive sectors, such as housing and autos, feel it first. Other sectors come later. Retail sales for example held up very well throughout 2022, leading many to point to them as support for the argument that the economy remained robust. But if prices are up, retail sales should be up equally if consumers are maintaining their consumption. More significantly however, is this: while retail sales were holding steady, savings were eroding and later credit card balances appreciating rapidly; now, we have started to see card write-offs shoot up, to 20-year records. If people are buying, but are doing so from savings and on credit card debt, then that obviously cannot continue for very long. Consumers, particularly at the lower 50% of income, are tapped out.
Some investors are concerned that a recession will be bad for gold and gold stocks. Not necessarily!
· They have lagged bullion for a decade now after moving more-or-less in tandem for decades (the stocks multiplying the metal’s moves, up or down, by three or four times)
· Gold stocks are undervalued on an historical basis, trading below average valuations, and by many metrics, such as price to free cash flow, at close to the lows.
· Gold stocks are undervalued relative to the broad market, an unusual circumstance.
These under-valuations come at a time when the gold sector is in a strong shape, in aggregate net cash positive, with strong margins (not withstanding rising costs), and a powerful outlook for the metal. That the stocks should be so inexpensive in such a positive environment is a compelling buying opportunity. EG
For further information, please visit: www.AdrianDayAssetManagement.com
TODAY, INTEREST RATES ARE STILL WELL BELOW THE PREVAILING RATE OF INFLATION, EVEN AFTER THE DECLINE WE HAVE SEEN IN THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS.
Heading into 2023, the macros look anything but pretty.
The core themes, percolating over time but now becoming both unsustainable and undeniable, are simple: Debt, war, inflation and currency destruction. The evidence is literally all around us as trust in political and central bank leadership heads steadily south.
This is true despite a comical Nobel Prize awarded to Bernanke and desperate attempts by government-aligned media outlets and data agencies to misreport everything from CPI inflation to the very definition of a recession.
Having reached a 40-year high of 9.1% in June of 2022, US CPI inflation fell to 6.4% by January of 2023, prompting an almost galvanic euphoria in the so-called “war against inflation.”
As we see it, nothing could be further from the truth and the inflation war, as well as data, is anything but over or honest.
In fact, the entire inflation narrative is so riddled with mis-information, dis-information and omitted information that it is nearly impossible for the average citizen to know what or who to believe despite the fact that everyone can “feel” inflation whenever they open their wallet or purse.
For now, of course, the official narrative coming out of DC is a comical mixture of false blame and fudged data interspersed with a pathological failure of leadership accountability—hence the declining trust.
Rising CPI has been blamed, of course, on Covid and a bad guy in Russia.
As energy and food prices reached double-digit price increases in 2022 (coming down temporarily now), the pundits and politicos pointed toward petri dishes and Putin to escape culpability.
Furthermore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which reports CPI inflation, uses a
magical scale which comically ignores the proper weightings of food, energy and housing. If the BLS used the same scale to measure inflation during the Volcker era, actual inflation today would be above 15%, not 6.4%.
Furthermore, even if one were to believe in the 6.4% figure, it is nothing worth celebrating and is anything but close to the Fed’s 2% target inflation rate. In fact, even this bogus 6.4% CPI print effectively makes any bond (from corporate to sovereign) a negative-yielding asset in real, inflation adjusted terms.
Negative yielding bonds, by definition, are defaulting bonds. Just saying…
But none of these distracting but genuine issues really touch the heart of the inflation matter, which all boils down to mouse-click money creation and the criminal negligence of US and global central bankers post 2008.
Macro economics and micro market forces are admittedly complex and highly interwoven forces which require more than a single article to unpack and explain. Nevertheless, and despite this complexity, the core of the inflation matter is in fact quite simple: When nations print or mouseclick trillions of dollars, yen, euros or pounds to monetise their debts, the end result is inherently and unavoidably, well: Inflationary
In the US, for example, the M2 money supply has tripled, and is up 40% from 2000. This, ladies and gentlemen, is not a good thing
Throughout the 20th century, the evidence is unequivocal that: 1) such increases in the money supply are always inflationary and 2) price inflation always and eventually (even after years of lagging) catches up with money supply inflation. As we see it then, price inflation, even when mis and under-reported by 50%, will continue to catch up with money supply inflation, which means we
are anything but close to “beating inflation.”
Or stated more simply, we are not even close to peak inflation, no matter how fictionally it is reported to us out of D.C.
Those faithful to Powell or unwilling to look deeper into the hard math, will, of course, argue otherwise.
The headlines, for example, are giddy with positive spin, reminding the world that: 1) US CPI inflation is coming down, 2) that the M2 money supply between March and December of 2022 fell by over $500B, and 3) that Powell’s valiant QT and rate hiking policies to combat inflation are confirmed by a brave Fed balance sheet reduction from $8.9B to $8.6B in 2022.
Unfortunately, such “good news” when placed into something called “context” is in fact openly, well, pathetic
First, to boast of a $500B decline in M2 ignores its $14T increase in the preceding years. The mismatch is appalling and amounts to far too little, far too late. Additionally, bragging about a $300B
(2%+) reduction in the Fed’s 2022 balance sheet is simply laughable when measured against its $8 trillion climb from $800B in 2007 to $8.9T in early 2022.
In short, bragging about a few hundred billion in tightening while ignoring the eight trillion of easing is an open insult to the collective intelligence of those actually doing the real math of the Fed’s policies. It’s
also worth noting that the measly 2% reduction of the Fed’s balance sheet in 2022 resulted in the worst nominal return for US stocks and bonds since 1871.
If Powell continues to tighten at a rate of $90B per month, what we saw in 2022 will be far worse in 2023 as credit and equity markets sink in tandem, leaving investors with almost no place to hide. Thus, if you think Powell’s “war on inflation” is both winning and sustainable, we would openly beg to differ
In fact, we see macro conditions and inflationary forces getting worse, much worse in the year(s) ahead. Why? Simple.
As indicated above, debt is a core theme of the current and coming macro disaster. It makes discussions on interest rates, markets and inflation easier to clarify and predict, as debt is predictable throughout history.
In short, debt destroys economies and markets—slowly and then all at once. Keeping things painfully simple, just consider the painful reality of a US public (i.e., government) debt of $31+T and $19T in cumulative deficits since 2001. Already, the US is looking to add nearly $1T to that deficit in Q1 of 2023 alone, meaning we could see at least another $3T to $4T added to that deficit pyre in 2023.
Given these hard facts, who or what is going to pay for those debts in a declining and debtsoaked nation of anaemic GDP and declining tax receipts? The answer, despite a currently hawkish Fed, is painfully and historically obvious: More fake money and an eventual rise rather than fall in inflationary and mouse-clicked M2.
Meanwhile, of course, Powell is continuing with rate hikes and QT into a debt crisis. We think he will stick to his doomed (Volcker-wannabe) course of raising the Fed Funds Rate to well above 5% into 2023. But eventually, the destruction these rate hikes will have on the bond and then stock markets will become too painful.
Far more importantly, the destruction such a hawkish policy will have on Uncle Sam’s IOUs (i.e., the US Treasury market) will be devastating Given the trillions is USD-denominated debts held globally, the rising USD on the back of rising US rates will force more selling of USTs globally, which will add insult to the US’s debt injury.
Even Janet Yellen, the former Fed-Chair turned Treasury Secretary (imagine that…) is openly confessing the need for more “liquidity” to support an increasingly unloved and distrusted US sovereign bond market. Eventually a choice between evils will be forced upon the Fed and the markets.
In simple terms, Powell’s strong USD and rising rate policy will backfire. At some point, the Fed in particular and the US government in general will have to make the hard choice of seeing its Treasury market die or its currency market inflate. Throughout history, the choice was always made in favour of inflation (viz. currency debasement) and we think this time will be no different.
The only way to save (i.e., monetize) the UST market is to debase (i.e., inflate) the currency via more mouse-click money creation and hence a steady rise, rather than temporary and minor decline, in the M2 money supply.
This move will be inflationary by definition, and not even the dis-inflationary forces of an engineered recession or a bogus CPI figure will be enough to prevent the real inflation which investors will feel in the continued decline of their currency’s purchasing power.
Gold, of course, is a monetary metal. Its duration is infinite and its supply nearly finite. It was not created by an anonymous code writer and it can’t be mouse-clicked at a local central bank.
Instead, central bankers, especially in the east, are buying more physical gold, not BTC or USTs. There’s a reason. The world is changing, currencies are dying and gold’s role is rising. Throughout history, gold has held its purchasing power as every fiat currency from ancient Rome to DC has failed Investors hoping paper gold held in trusts, ETFs or even in IRA’s will save them need to understand that those instruments are backed by leverage not actual metals and that the only safe and historically confirmed way to own gold is physical gold stored in the safest vaults and most trusted jurisdictions.
We’ve known this for decades, and so have our clients in over 80 countries. Yes, the world and macros are complex, but the solution to openly dying paper currencies is in fact profoundly simple EG
For further information, please visit: www.goldswitzerland.com
IN FACT, EVEN THIS BOGUS 6.4% CPI PRINT EFFECTIVELY MAKES ANY BOND (FROM CORPORATE TO SOVEREIGN) A NEGATIVE-YIELDING ASSET IN REAL, INFLATION ADJUSTED TERMS.with Josephine George MANAGING DIRECTOR, BANK OF ST. HELENA LTD SAINTHELENABANK.COM
Our dedicated interview with JOSEPHINE GEORGE, Managing Director at Bank of St. Helena Ltd, documents the activity behind the governmentowned bank based in the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Executive Global discuss lending, personal and commercial banking with the head of the pre-eminent institution located on the island in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean.
EG What are some of the factors that make the banking sector in St. Helena more resilient when compared with other major international banking jurisdictions?
JG Shaped by isolation, expensive internet connectivity and a small customer base, the Bank’s resilience has been established through commitment and responsibility to our valued customers. Whilst profitability is essential for sustained growth and development, customer satisfaction is often prioritised over increased profitability. Endeavouring to keep abreast with local and international environments and adapting appropriately to change has also supported resilience. Although unable to provide many banking products and services that are readily available elsewhere, the Bank’s strength lies in its ability to be creative and innovative in providing bespoke alternatives.
EG How significant of a role would you say that the bank’s favourable low interest rates for personal and commercial lending, play in contributing to positive economic growth and GDP?
JG The Bank plays a significant role as an enabler for economic growth providing lending products and services with interest rates applied to reflect the desire to encourage growth, whilst considering associated risks. Over time the Bank has supported increasing numbers of new and established businesses, provided support during the COVID pandemic and beyond, and continuing to review products supporting home building and ensuring finance availability for other initiatives.
EG And as an experienced banker, what innovations in fintech do you see on the horizon that excite you the most?
JG The world of fintech is fast moving with many of the innovations supporting the conscious consumerism framework of ESG. I am excited about the future role of fintech for Bank of St Helena and its customers, which will enable enhanced access to electronic banking, support environmental initiatives and the island’s goal of becoming a cashless society.
EG Having gained the prestigious chartered banker designation (MCBI), what additional impact has this coveted qualification had in enhancing operational efficiency and the overall customer experience at Bank of St. Helena?
JG Gaining the qualification and the designation of Chartered Banker (MCBI) has validated my professional skills and experience gained. It has also provided further credibility for Bank of St Helena as an organisation of highly qualified professionals with detailed knowledge of modern banking management and ethical and professional requirements.
EG With over a decade of experience, what would you say is the secret to profitability in banking?
JG For us, sustained profitability has been derived from placing our customers at the heart of our business. This includes a robust strategic plan that is followed closely, building and maintaining relationships with the shareholder, various stakeholders and attracting and retaining staff with the skills and experience who share our
common values of integrity, engaging, delivering, improving and being commercially minded.
EG Tell us about St. Helena Pay and some of the technologies implemented to improve banking and online payments for St. Helenians?
JG St Helena Pay is a complete bespoke closed loop system developed to ensure our customers have access to a digital payment environment. This bespoke system was necessary due to the challenges faced in acquiring an issuing licence for branded payment cards such as Mastercard and Visa. St Helena Pay is supported by the Bank’s local debit card and online banking which has transformed banking for our customers. The latest addition supported by St Helena Pay is the Tourist Card - a prepaid cash card aimed at supporting short-term visitors to St Helena and Ascension Island. The Bank’s commitment to improved financial outcomes and opportunities has also been recognised through the Award gained for Best Bank for Financial Inclusion 2023 from the World Commerce Review.
EG What future prospects do you see long term for St. Helena as a financial centre?
JG St Helena has many wonderful attributes making it attractive as a potential financial centre in the long-term, if managed correctly. In addition to the location and life-style, being English speaking and having a currency at parity with the Great British Pound (GBP), could prove to be attractive to potential investors. EG
For further information, please visit: https://sainthelenabank.com/
For us, sustained profitability has been derived from placing our customers at the heart of our business.
When most sane voices are pointing to the obviously disastrous consequences of current central bank behaviour around the world, what do you think it means that these banks are also hoovering up the world’s gold? Asks Shannon Berkley.
Alongside countries like Russia and China, central banks bought more gold in the first nine months of 2022 than they have since 1967.
There are a few possible explanations, but to whatever extent they’re true, you can at least be sure that central bank behaviour has never and will never factor in your wellbeing, merely your consent. Put differently, there’s a slim chance that central banks’ buying gold will ultimately extrapolate into benefits for the man in the street.
Central bank gold purchases in 2022 were the highest in over fifty years. The highest, in fact, since the gold standard was abolished. Rather than scalp for a quick trade or look for something to quickly trickle down, investors would do better to emulate the behaviour. If central banks want gold, you can be sure it will be a medium of exchange, control, or simply wealth as we currently understand it, in the near future.
The reasons central banks have embarked upon the biggest gold buying spree in half a century could centre on simple economics. What goes up, must come down, and asset prices are no exception. Gold is the hedge, the stabiliser, the answer — at least for them, and at least in part. Central banks are also simply both leading and emulating those who fear inflation’s already gob-smacking effect on local lives. Gold is the historic safe haven, after all.
Central banks’ buying of gold is less ominous than reassuring, at least over the near term. If anything, it’s a signal for retail investors to do the same.
Perhaps it was the recent disclosure by the CCP of China’s official gold reserves that has sparked others’ panic. Looking at American Foreign Policy (it’s hawkish and bereft of morality), emblematic as it is of spots in Europe and elsewhere where minions toe the US’ line, many central banks will have been spurred to play catch-up after China rubbed its opulent reserves ($2 trillion in 2022) in their faces.
The fact that an entire page could be filled with alarming yet plausible reasons for the precious metal buy-up, is indicative of just how badly central banks have done in building strong and prosperous nations, for their part. Sovereign nations are also inclined to want a repatriation of their gold, realising (as everyone now does) that governments aren’t as solvent as their image suggests.
It might be that central bank economists have been reading some monetary history, internalising the outcome of monetisation for Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece. For Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of Africa. For Hungary. Modern day Venezuela.
In spite of insisting they’d develop some sort of financial ninja techniques to avoid the eventual dark fate that everyone has been warning of, central banks’ gold buying could be indicative of a tacit admission and a sober return to fiscal discipline. A very long shot indeed, for the crowd that has mastered the unpanicked destruction of economies of late.
Perhaps the fact that Russia has been buying gold hand over fist for the past few years, and is now only accepting roubles and gold in payment for its oil, for example, has made the house mad. Could Zimbabwe’s recent return to a gold standard have outed the truth of just how fundamental, gritty, painful, and soul-sapping hyperinflation can be?
Is Zimbabwe educating central banks, or blowing their cover?
It could be that Warren Buffett’s wise father Howard is finally to be markedly vindicated, as he was the one who said “human freedom rests on gold redeemable money.” Of course, central banks aren’t engaged in a quest to restore the freedom of the citizenry, quite the opposite — CBDCs are designed to unashamedly enslave people — but in order to keep the wheels on right now, perhaps they need to display some genuine legitimacy. Looking ahead, fiat currencies will need the gold asset backing to restore confidence in currency (and maintain docility in men).
It’s as likely that the longer term goal is to permanently remove the freedom associated with “gold redeemable money,” and the first step towards
that is to start hoarding gold. Eliminate its currency potential, while pretending that it’s all being put away for the citizenry, of course. As Lynette Zang of ITM recently pointed to, by way of explanation for much of what is happening in global markets right now, when corrupt interests “know that bankruptcy is near,” their motto becomes “steal as much as you can while you still can.”
Let’s not forget that these are the same people who have brutalised notable economies for decades, making huge, wilful mistakes, while also perpetually and illegitimately appearing as the saviours in crises they’ve created — the same people who completely screwed up the repo market. They’re now possibly scrabbling for a veneer of normality to hide the repercussions of their failures, and gold fits the bill. This is not merely opinion, because Fed chairman Jerome Powell has been issuing some remarkably ambiguous and/or completely weird statements recently, allowing the mainstream press to latch onto snippets of implied hope, while sane economists leave the same briefing shaking their heads.
It’s a bait-and-switch when it comes to the Fed right now, with nonsense given out by serious guys in suits that the press johnnies attempt to wring joy out of, while more competent analysts watch
Again, while the hawks in Washington have not yet even begun to consider the end of the petrodollar and the US dollar’s hegemony as world reserve, its dethroning has already happened.
By all visible technical criteria, the dollar has been told to stand up and move to one side of the throne. Other currencies are vying for pole position, and gold is intrinsic to this internecine war in the palace. Scholars are pointing to the remarkable similarities between declining ancient empires and life in America today. Small wonder the ancient remedies are finding currency.
Of course, central banks have to go back to a gold standard to prevent economic chaos. That too is a valid (if somewhat curt) statement, looking at the global economy through the legacy lens. But with CBDCs having left the wings and now heading for centre stage, you can be sure that if today’s vested interests are forced into what might appear to be an about-turn on a gold standard, they’re going to make damn sure the benefits come their way
What does that mean for investors, exactly? Still, regardless of central banks’ motivation, investors everywhere should be getting into gold. A combination of geopolitical and economic factors are currently shaking the global economy. An overarching globalist agenda that is ultimately meaningless and irrelevant at best, or downright repugnant and extremely fascist at worst, is being spouted by the WEF and UN, and it’s diluting domestic cohesion everywhere.
Social instability, global monetisation, and the ever germinating-and-then-popping asset bubbles are making for a bad impact on global economic health. Admittedly, it’s always a similar recipe, but we’ve run out of some things now, and this time the added ingredients might make something dramatically different without the tempering of what we’ve lost.
Gold’s current valuation, the visible wisdom of other nations that have clearly learned from economic history, as well as the contingent of wealthy institutional clients (family offices, sovereign wealth funds, and private banks) that have yet to allocate a significant percentage of their ample funds to buying gold, all contribute to upward pressure on the gold price. This means that investors should seriously consider including this asset in their portfolios. If the world’s central banks added over 80 tonnes of gold in 2022, perhaps wise investors should too?
the banks mask, attempt to delay, or outright lie about the very real stinkpot we are already floating in. Against the backdrop of global debt monetisation (aka looming or at least potential hyperinflation), rising interest rates, and asset price bubbles; do central banks know something we don’t?
The BRICS nations are expanding their membership, the southern hemisphere is talking gold-backed, strong trade, and good neighbours.
If you hope soon to mint gold coins in your basement, you’re a primitivist, or at least a wannabe pirate, and also likely missing the real value of physically holding gold in trying times, even times of economic oblivion. Gold brings stability in the moment of crisis and value when the world returns to normal.
With an almost supernatural pedigree spanning countless centuries, if gold is not the salve for looming financial implosion, nothing else can be. EG
STILL, REGARDLESS OF CENTRAL BANKS’ MOTIVATION, INVESTORS EVERYWHERE SHOULD BE GETTING INTO GOLD.Photo: Medicimage Education / Alamy Stock Photo
I vowed to be more accessible to our clients because they deserve VIP treatment.Jinhee Wilde CEO and Founder, WA Law Group, LLC
Our special interview on The EB-5 Expert with JINHEE WILDE, CEO and Founder of WA Law Group, LLC, profiles the boutique immigration law firm helping EB-5 investors, corporations and private clients across the U.S. and around the world. Executive Global sit down with the pre-eminent attorney representing clients in matters of EB-5 investment and employment immigration, citizenship, naturalization and non-immigrant work visas.
EG You have an exceptional record in I-526 and I-829 petitions with only three Requests for Evidence (RFE) on Source of Funds (SOF) from USCIS. Why does your experience make your firm the perfect choice for foreign executives wanting to relocate their business to the U.S?
JW EB-5 cases combine both business (investment) and immigration documents in a single submission. I-526 and I-829 case files are usually thousands of pages long with document stacks 9-12 inches high, so providing a short summary of the case to guide the USCIS officer is key, and analogous to the executive summary of a long business plan. On the business side, it is essential to understand what the project is trying to do and how the investor’s funds could play a role in it, and then translating that vision with skill and finesse for USCIS. WA Law Group, under my leadership, has been very successful in doing this, with a track record of 100% approvals thus far.
EG What are the greatest challenges you’ve faced as immigration counsel for Case Farms and as advisor on the EB-3 Other (EW) Program? How do these differ from the challenges pertaining to investment-based EB-5 Immigration?
JW Employment-based immigration under the EB-3 Other (EW) program requires a U.S.based employer to prove that they do not have enough U.S. workers to fully staff their needs before they can sponsor foreign workers to supplement their hires. This process goes through three different government agencies—Labor Dept., USCIS, and State Dept.--and they all focus on
making sure that no U.S. employees are displaced and that a foreign worker is eligible and passes background/security checks. EB-5 immigration is completely different in that there is no U.S. employer sponsoring the foreign applicant. Instead, the program is designed to receive investments from foreign investors into a U.S. entity/project that will create 10+ full-time, permanent jobs for U.S. workers. The greatest challenge to being an immigration counsel is to explain to our clients what their specific immigration path would require in terms of documentation and presentation to government officials. This often necessitates following or understanding not just the letter of the law (regulation) but also the spirit or intent behind a statute, regulation or policy. We explain the minutia of these requirements to our clients to help them understand the years-long process and alleviate their anxiety.
EG Being a tenured attorney for over three decades and having been an immigrant yourself, how has your experience working in the higher echelons of the legal profession deepened your insight into the U.S. immigration system?
JW The biggest issue for many immigrants is the extremely long and arduous process of U.S. immigration. Having been an immigrant myself whose family went through many sleepless nights worrying what could happen to us and also seeing the other side of the process where the attorneys were too busy to communicate with their clients, I vowed to be more accessible to our clients because they deserve VIP treatment.
Loyola University Chicago School of Law
2009-Present Founder and CEO, WA Law Group, LLC.
2005 Managing Partner, Teras & Wilde, PLLC.
2004 Partner, Johnson & Yang, PLLC.
2001 Commissioner, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.
1989 Inspector General Designee and Special Counsel, United States Department of Agriculture.
1985 Assistant Counsel, City of Chicago.
EG Who are some of the most successful investors you have advised, and what does profitability mean to you?
JW The most successful EB-5 investors are the ones who had their conditional green card approved (I-526 immigrant petition approved and DS-260 immigrant visa issued), had their application for removal of condition (I-829) approved, and had their full investment funds returned. We have many investors who went through all three steps successfully and even had their U.S. citizenship approved.
As in any business, profitability is important to us. But unlike many other law firms that focus on billable hours and bill for every minute that the firm’s staff communicates with the clients, our firm spends as much time as needed in responding to emails and speaking with them on the phone answering their questions and updating them. So, profitability is less important than making our clients feel comfortable and assured of their immigration process and progress.
EG As an award-winning firm, you have consistently ranked as a top immigration lawyer. How critical to your success as a firm, is quality customer service?
JW The legal field is still very much a man’s world, where being invited to play golf with senior partners gives you greater insider status than putting in long hours at the office. Immigration law is replete with women lawyers, but they tend to be solo-practitioners and not partners at large law firms. I would like to see more women partners mentor their associate attorneys, like many male partners do. My partner, Sunwook “Sunny” An, was an associate attorney right out of law school, whom I groomed and made my partner after 10 years. She will inherit the firm as the Managing Partner after I retire in few years.
EG As an EB-5 Investment Immigration specialist, how does it feel to be a big part of America’s success story, helping U.S. employers and positively contributing to GNP?
Taking time to answer clients is not a waste.
Don’t cut corners; do it right the first time.
Don’t chase dollars; build reputation.
JW The quality of customer service is the key to our clients’ satisfaction and the main driver of our awards. All of our clients state that our less than 24 hours response time to their communications and the accessibility of the top lawyers (partners) of the firm is the best. The fact that they do not get nickeled and dimed for every call or email they send is also a great relief as they feel free to ask questions about their case status and their immigrant status.
EG Tell us more about the Jinhee Wilde Scholarship that you established to assist the next generation of aspiring lawyers?
JW I recently established a scholarship endowment at my alma mater, The University of Chicago, for the Jinhee Wilde, Esq. and Dr. David Wilde Odyssey Scholarship Fund. These scholarships are designed to give back to the community and encourage young men and women to follow their dreams.
EG Having worked as a partner for several prominent law firms in Washington D.C., what do you feel can be done to encourage more women to enter this field of law?
JW The work we do as business immigration lawyers is critical to helping U.S. employers maintain an adequate workforce through immigration. Employment-based immigration is a win-win-win scenario where employers get workers for jobs they cannot fill with U.S. workers alone, the foreign workers get immigration benefits, and the U.S. government is supplied with legal immigrants who will contribute to the economy and our tax base. EB-5 investments, on the other hand, actually put foreign capital into a U.S. region where there is higher than average unemployment or into rural areas to create more regional jobs – at least 10 permanent jobs must be created per investor immigrant. I cannot think of any government program on a per capita basis, including corporate tax cuts, that adds more to the U.S. economy than employment-based immigration – our government gets many more economic benefits from this than what it spends.
EG As a successful attorney and entrepreneur, who are some of the people that personally inspire you in business and why?
JW I do not have any particular person who inspired me as an attorney or entrepreneur. However, I admire women leaders who would mentor and groom associates or younger people who work for them rather than those who would roll-up the ladder up behind them after they made it to the top. In fact, I have seen many women leaders who treated female associates/staff tougher as if to say, “I had it difficult so you should also and get toughened up.” As I said earlier, the legal
Recently, this client obtained her citizenship and told me that she did not know where she would be if I did not rescue her case from her previous lawyer.
During more than 3 decades of her legal career, Ms. Wilde has had a diverse and unique background, as corporate lawyer facilitating multi-million dollar, multi-national transactions, as a government prosecutor/attorney before changing her focus to business and investment immigration law.
» First Asian American woman to be Commissioner of Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.
» First Asian American designated as Inspector General of U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
» First Head of Korea practice at Arent Fox, Kintner, Plotkin & Kahn.
» Who’s Who in American Law 2022 –Executive Spotlight.
» Top 100 Immigration Lawyer by Top 100 Magazine
» Top 25 EB-5 lawyer by EB-5 Magazine.
fly a plane after having had flown as a passenger. The case was mismanaged from the beginning where this lawyer took six months to file the I-526 petition instead of one month that we usually take, which caused the client’s optional practical training (OPT) to expire and causing her to lose her job at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Things became worse when this client’s removal of condition application (I-829) received a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) and this lawyer gave up on the case as she did not know how to overcome this negative decision. I took over the case to successfully overcome this NOID and got the client’s case approved, thereby saving her from losing another job- this time at Deloitte, and from losing her permanent residency. Recently, this client obtained her citizenship and told me that she did not know where she would be if I did not rescue her case from her previous lawyer
EG How has your experience starting as prosecutor for the city of Chicago, Special Counsel at the United States Department of Agriculture, and then as corporate lawyer, being shaped your outlook?
profession is still very much a man’s world, and many young male lawyers were groomed by male senior partners, whereas very few women partners do that for young female associates. I wanted to change that.
EG Having been an immigration lawyer for 20+ years with a high approval record across hundreds of cases, what is the most notable case that you are most proud of today?
JW Every case approval is very precious to us as we have changed their lives and allowed them to take a step in achieving their American dreams. The cases that make me most proud are those whose cases were messed up by other lawyers that I take over to successfully win them. Although I have many of these, the one EB-5 case that stands out is the one case where another lawyer who attempted and failed to do a case properly for the daughter of one of my clients by herself after only watching me do the mother’s case. This is like me attempting to
JW The immigration law practice is an administrative practice where the case is adjudicated by government officials, not necessarily by a lawyer or judge. My 10+ years as a government lawyer gives me insight into how government officials think and how they review a case, emphasising how it meets the public good that was intended when the law was legislated or regulated. My corporate legal experience negotiating multi-million dollar contracts allows me to review and understand complex projects and the financial documents that comprise EB-5 investment immigration cases. These collective experiences give me a unique set of skills to prepare winning immigration cases, so that we enjoy a nearly 100% approval track record in all types of immigration cases, not just EB-5.
EG You have a Juris Doctorate from the Chicago School of Law at Loyola University. How did your education and training prepare you to succeed at the forefront of U.S. investment immigration today?
JW Law school provides the foundations of law and legal procedure. It teaches you how to identify the issues of a case, do research, and present an argument. However, the greater part of learning how to practice as an attorney comes from on-thejob training. The nuances of immigration law are not usually taught in law school, so the best way to become an expert practitioner is to take the time to prepare cases in a detailed way that makes it easy for the USCIS officer to understand and approve the case. EG
For further information, please visit: www.WALawUSA.com
Gold’s historic 2,300% leap in the 1970s from $35 to $850 per ounce occurred right after President Nixon took the US off the gold standard.Article By Jon Forrest Little FOUNDER & PUBLISHER, THE PICKAXE
Moreover, in the early 2000s, gold tripled in value – soaring from under $300 per ounce in 2000 to $1,000 by 2008. This 3x move was part of the commodity super cycle. Today is a better set up and here is why. Market volatility is rising. Despite the phoney reporting that inflation is coming down, inflation is at its highest level in 40 years. Lies like ‘the M2 is contracting’ are monstrous-style falsehoods with disturbing intensity. The more false the statement, the more enthusiastic the lie.
M2 is a cherry-picked stat showing cash circulating plus money in bank accounts and money markets. The reason M2 is shrinking is that people are withdrawing their savings en masse to make ends meet. So stating that M2 is shrinking to demonstrate you are fighting inflation is pure insanity. M2 is shrinking because people’s real wages have decreased for 21 consecutive months (a new record).
People are pulling out money to buy food and pay overheads. These are for the people lucky enough to have savings. Another way of saying this is that bank deposits are negative.
1. Market instability will continue in 2023
2. Inflation will increase in 2023 for many reasons, such as past QE and supply chain disasters.
3. The Fed, US Treasury, Executive branch and Congress will do their normal debate dance about raising the debt ceiling or closing down the government.
The Fed is lying when they say they are fighting inflation by raising rates.
If the Fed really wanted to fight inflation they could increase the reserve requirement for banks. Banks do not hold cash reserves that match your deposits (within the fractional reserve banking scheme.) So if you deposit $100,000 dollars, the bank does not have to keep ANY OF THAT UNDER YOUR NAME. Your deposit, by law, is just a loan to the bank. And if they fail, they are either bailed out by the public or “bailed in” by law. A “bail-in” means they keep your deposit, and you lose your money. They will give you a paper certificate symbolising worthless shares of the very bank that went bankrupt.
The following chart shows what gold did against the S&P 500, Dow, and Nasdaq in 2022.
Now look at gold against standard asset classes together in one chart.
Let’s discuss why gold will continue to do well in 2023. Gold is the barometer for how people feel overall about monetary policy. If the market believed the economy was healthy and that monetary policy made sense, gold would drop like a rock
So we have these things happening:
1. Market volatility.
2. Raging inflation (40 year high)
3. Systemic risk (based on debt, derivatives, equities, and the way banks are allowed to function)
4. The distorted bond market.
5. Safe havens like real estate are no longer safe havens.
6. Geopolitical instability (greatest since WW2)
Too many conventional gold and so-called silver experts keep harping on the same thing when it comes to silver and gold. They talk way too much about what the Fed is going to do. They talk way
too much about existing stockpiles relative to future demand. They talk too much about cup and handles, Fibonacci analysis, and other technical analyses.
Why such distrust? Because of the increasing lies by the government, The Fed and the legacy media. Small snapshot of government lies.
1. We are not in a recession.
2. The economy is healthy.
3. Inflation is Putin’s fault.
4. There is no energy shortage.
5. The inflation reduction act will reduce inflation.
6. The American economy has never been stronger.
7. We can phase out fossil fuels.
8. There is a virus that came from bats.
9. There is a vaccine that is good for everyone.
10. Raising rates will cool inflation.
11. The war in Ukraine was Putin’s fault.
12. We need a $1.75 trillion Omnibus spending bill.
13. We need members of Congress to buy and sell stocks after they receive classified briefings.
14. It’s OK to release the Strategic Petroleum Reserves.
15. It’s OK to have the children of Pelosi, Biden, and Kerry broker national security-sensitive energy deals with foreign governments.
Even the stupidest things like hearing that the government wants to ban gas stoves makes no sense. My thinking is, of course the government wants to ban gas stoves, all the easier to turn off the grid. This is about centralisation, whereas having your own
gas (whether it’s your car or stove) is decentralised, yielding more freedom. Note the pattern here?
Gold is rising because there is a lack of trust in the health of the US dollar at home. This domestic lack of confidence stems from the reasons I mentioned above.
It’s a matter of trust. Metals people know that the US dollar has lost 98% of its purchasing power over the past several decades but the emotion of trust is just as significant. The structure of the fiat financial system has destroyed the middle class. The oligarchy has siphoned wealth through inflation and taxation. Manipulated interest rates and money printing have grown the wealth gap. And it’s bound to get worse. At this point, I’d like to point out that the term mentioned above, “oligarchy,” is only partially true.
We’re suffering through a lethal mix of oligarchy and plutocracy, but we mostly have a kleptocracy. Kleptocracy differs from plutocracy (ruled by the richest) and oligarchy (headed by a small elite). In a kleptocracy, corrupt politicians enrich themselves secretly outside the rule of law through kickbacks, bribes, and special favours, or they simply direct state funds to themselves and their associates.
Those closest to the money printer were the primary beneficiaries. The US printed $6.4 TRILLION, and in 2021 billionaires saw their wealth increase by $5.1 TRILLION. The ruling class benefited from the money printing. Meanwhile, the middle class had their businesses closed, and their living cost doubled, destroying savings; The Fed stepped in and said they would champion “The fight against inflation” (which they created & benefitted from).
Now let’s discuss what has happened internationally.
The US has enjoyed dominating the global monetary system. It’s often presented to the public like it’s the natural order of things, such as the law of gravity, or just believed it’s a given, like oxygen will always be there to breathe. This assumptionbased narrative leads people to think that the rest of the World is alright with the US being the global reserve currency or this is just the de facto World state of affairs.
Nothing is further from the truth.
The US must be vigilant to maintain US dollar hegemony. The playbook looks like this:
1. The US can print the dollar to oblivion while other countries are forced to hold it.
2. Other countries hold something that the owner can devalue at any time.
3. The US can print up its dollars and buy real things of value with it. The US receives tangible items in exchange for paper.
4. The US can confiscate other countries’ currencies because of our military advantage. That is what just happened in Russia.
5. The US can also block other countries from using the global financial system (SWIFT) Naturally, hundreds of countries are trying
to exit this type of system. The de-dollarization process is well underway. BRICS has unfurled their Russian Ruble pegged to gold. This system was designed by Russian economist Sergey Glazyev. Sergey Glazyev and his eastern and southern partners are seizing this unique chance to “jump off” the sinking ship of the dollar-centric debt economy. Sergey Glazyev, is a Russian economist and architect of the gold-pegged ruble. Why was he the first person the US sanctioned in 2014?
The Fed is intentionally destroying the US and the World’s economies as an excuse to ‘come to the rescue’ with their CBDC.
The Fed knows they created inflation and that they can’t raise rates to fight it. We don’t have the funds to service the debt. Therefore, it is simple logic to understand they are intentionally destroying the economy
WHY IS THE FED WRECKING THINGS INTENTIONALLY? BECAUSE THIS WILL GIVE CAUSE TO ‘COME TO THE RESCUE’ WITH THEIR CENTRAL BANK DIGITAL CURRENCY.
Why is The Fed wrecking things intentionally? Because this will give cause to ‘come to the rescue’ with their Central Bank Digital Currency. The CBDC is also called The Fed Dollar. You can look it up here under President Biden’s Executive order #14067
Here are some disturbing features of the CBDC
• GPS technology.
• Facial recognition.
• Instantaneous credits and debits.
• Fully Programmable, so it can be turned off.
• A social credit merit system.
Just recently all US flights were grounded because of a computer glitch. Meanwhile globalists are telling everyone to “beware of more cyber attacks.” Remember, there is no such thing as a coincidence. Like a switch, all our funds can be turned off. This is why you need real money like gold and silver. Not the Fed Digital Dollar! EG
For further information, please visit: www.ThePickaxe.xyz
For this article, we were asked to elaborate on our view on the impact of rising interest rates on real estate investments. After a general introduction to current topics, we will outline what we consider critical factors for this popular asset class in the newly changed interest rate environment.Article by Stefan Kremeth CO-FOUNDER & CEO, INCREMENTUM AG
One year ago, when the war in Ukraine broke loose, energy prices soared, and financial markets crumbled. Interest rates went up and are still increasing. Stagflation was one of the keywords used excessively by the media and even by economists. Stagflation is a business cycle characterised by slow growth, high unemployment, and inflation. For economic policymakers, this combination is challenging to manage, as any attempt to correct one of the factors may aggravate another. However, one year later stagflation is still nowhere to be seen and as often, things develop differently than predicted by the masses; the term “stagflation” was sent back to sleep, at least for the time being and seems to have disappeared from the media altogether. Instead, today’s buzzword is “soft landing”.
We will see in what direction economies went in twelve or twenty-four months. However, we can learn from the old “Austrians” that societies and economies with constantly unbalanced budgets and accompanying market interventions inevitably lead to a consistent misallocation of resources. Over time, the loss of purchasing power due to a lack of budgetary discipline is significant and during the last twelve months, global economies suffered heavily from this effect. At times inflationary pressure can be pushed back on the timeline, but eventually, an outbreak is unavoidable. Therefore an investment strategy tailored to one’s needs and which helps to diversify inflation makes enormous sense.
Balanced and cash-flow-producing strategies have proven resistant and shown impressive inflation diversification potential. Furthermore, those who can afford to invest in real estate and physical precious metals and want to add them to their portfolio can expect an additional diversification effect, maybe leading to lower volatility but not necessarily any better long-term performance.
OF THE DAY Volatility always seems to be an issue, and as inconvenient as it may seem for investors, volatility nevertheless represents an intrinsic part of investing, and any investor should know that. We usually tell our private clients that volatility is a price to pay for any consistent long-term performance. Now, many people would like to see a fully insured society with its economy in total equilibrium, which on top of everything- is tailored to the needs, fears, etc., of each individual. But unfortunately, this is not realistic. Just as we cannot always expect perfect solutions from science, we cannot expect our society, the state, monetary policy, individual politicians, fellow human beings, doctors, teachers, gurus, family members, friends, and acquaintances to always have the adequate and tailor-made solution ready to address the problems of each individual. How should that be possible? Economic cycles come and go, economic crises come and go, political cycles come and go, and political crises come and go. This
may seem unreasonable, out of date, exhausting and at times unfair, but it is nevertheless constantly the case that all sorts of crises affect our daily interactions. Societies and their financial markets are pretty complex systems, and complex systems are unfortunately not always fair or in balance.
SOCIETIES AND THEIR FINANCIAL MARKETS ARE PRETTY COMPLEX SYSTEMS, AND COMPLEX SYSTEMS ARE UNFORTUNATELY NOT ALWAYS FAIR OR IN BALANCE.Photo: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo Article by Dr. Christian Schärer PORTFOLIO MANAGER, INCREMENTUM AG
Even the best political system, economic theory, and investment approach have their limits and cannot answer all the questions, identify all the unknowns (hence the name) and take into account the complexities and interdependencies of politics, the macroeconomic environment, central bank policies and scientific innovation, to name but a few. Against this backdrop and for purely common sense reasons, it seems arbitrary to us to focus on one asset class, or even worseone single asset.
Karl Popper pointed out more than 80 years ago that science can never produce absolute truths but rather approaches the truth in constant processes (also thanks to trial and error), i.e. every theory is only considered ‘good’ until it can be replaced by a new, better and tested one. Now we all know that theories often leave out certain aspects; the developers of such theories deliberately limit themselves to core topics and usually do not claim to be all-encompassing. So when investing, we should keep that in mind and not expect the
impossible from any investment or other theory.
After this introduction, let us focus on the main topic of this article- real estate and the impact of higher interest rates, opportunities and threats to this asset class.
Over the last few decades, real estate investments have enjoyed immense popularity against low or negative interest rates and steady economic growth. Prices knew only one direction - up. However, the newly changed interest rate landscape has also left its mark on the real estate market. The days of continuously rising valuations are over, at least for now. Moderation is the order of the day
Our thoughts relate to the market for investment property. For owner-occupied residential real estate, some arguments are less relevant because not only economic factors play a role in respective purchase decisions. Rising interest rates influence the performance of investment property in three ways. Firstly, raised financing costs and declining
relative attractiveness due to higher yields on alternative investments (bonds) harm price levels.
In addition, the discount rate is the most critical factor influencing the valuation of an existing real estate portfolio. Real estate companies and pension funds use the discount rate to determine the present value of their portfolios. This rate is usually derived using models and is conceptually based on a riskfree interest rate (yield on long-term government bonds). In addition, the general real estate risk and property-specific surcharges are considered when determining the discount rate. Steadily falling discount rates have been the main driver of rising valuations in recent years. Accordingly, real estate portfolios have appreciated significantly. For example, the largest Swiss real estate company, “SPS”, has recognised more than CHF 1 billion as income from revaluations since 2017. Therefore, the need for adjustment due to this newly changed interest rate landscape will likely not be insignificant. However, due to the inertia and longterm nature of the real estate market, the impact of these adjustments will probably only become apparent over the coming years. From an investor’s perspective therefore, there is no reason to rush into investing in existing real estate portfolios.
For real estate to become more attractive again from an investor’s perspective, property yields must rise (significantly). This means that property prices must fall and/or rents must rise. Rents for space in commercial properties are determined by supply and demand. Here, both the economic environment and structural factors impact pricing. Because of current trends in the labour market (home office) and retail trade (online shopping vs stationary retail), high-quality offers in central locations will likely remain in demand. On the other hand, properties in geographically peripheral regions and properties of inferior quality will become significantly less attractive. As a result, the market will become increasingly differentiated again in the future.
Regarding investment strategy, the time for “buying and holding” is also over in the real estate market. An active strategy that focuses on quality and valuations seems more promising. It is essential to monitor current trends on the demand side. Structural changes are occurring due to demographics (immigration and urbanisation), the labour market (home office) and shopping habits (online vs stationary retail). This structural change is likely to accelerate further.
Nevertheless, selected real estate investments are to remain interesting. This is because they may offer a diversification contribution and deliver significant cash flows based on a reasonable valuation. This opens up exciting investment opportunities in the medium and long term for disciplined investors with experience who can handle investments in non-liquid asset classes. EG
For further information, please visit: www.incrementum.li
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The island of Jersey is officially known as the Bailiwick of Jersey, and is a selfgoverning Crown Dependency. Located off the northwestern coast of France, it is the largest of the Channel Islands at around 120km². The surrounding (uninhabited) islands such as Les Dirouilles, Les Minquiers, Les Pierres de Lecq, and Les Écréhous form part of Jersey too, reports Oliver Taylor.
Jersey was once part of the Duchy of Normandy, and Norman dukes became kings of England circa 1066. After Normandy was lost to France by the English kings during the 13th century, the ducal title was surrendered to France. Jersey, however, today a country of just over 100,000 people, maintained its loyalty to the English Crown, although it was never incorporated into the Kingdom of England and today still remains officially outside of the UK
A self-governing parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy, Jersey has borrowed much from Britain, yet retained its own financial and judicial identity. The power of selfdetermination held by Jersey differs from that of other Crown Dependencies. The Lieutenant Governor in Jersey represents the King, for one thing, and Jersey has always had the reputation of being a loud voice with the ear of the king.
Jersey has maintained both its British loyalties and its international identity as something distinct from the UK. The UK is still constitutionally obligated to be the defender of Jersey in the event that the island is threatened by war, but otherwise it is very much self-regulating.
The island has always had a reputation for astute financial planning, and today its large financial services industry is responsible for around 40% of its Gross Value Added (GVA). Of course, the British loyalty and influence is apparent on the island, where English predominates and pound sterling remains the primary currency. The island also displays a strong Norman-French culture, and it sports a dialect of the Norman language called Jèrriais as a kind of local first/second tongue. French is also widely employed in legal documents
and Jersey courts. Alongside Guernsey, Jersey recognises either English or French when it comes to documentation.
As potent as Jersey’s British loyalty is, there are definitely equally strong cultural ties to mainland Normandy. The country also shares close cultural links with neighbour Guernsey, and the two islands enjoy a good-natured rivalry, especially when it comes to money management.
A private foundation is defined as a tax-exempt organisation that doesn’t rely on marketplace sales or broad public support, and foundations typically serve humanitarian purposes. Private foundations are a well established and popular route to managing family affairs. In the US, for example, private foundations manage over $630 billion in assets- far more than many countries’ GDP.
Right at the outset, it’s worth mentioning that Jersey private foundations, as do all jurisdictional foundations, trusts, and International Business Corporations, come with advantages and disadvantages. Jersey, however, is a “full service” offshore destination. This means that it has a
long history of facilitating individual’s money management. Jersey is the smartest way to fly above board, so to speak. Other destinations vary in their legislated commitment to privacy, but Jersey is both as transparent as required by law, as well as shrewd in its interpretation of international law, against the backdrop of its own legislative reality.
It was 13 years ago that Jersey embellished its toolkit of wealth planning and financial vehicles by introducing the Jersey Foundations Law (2009). Circa 2020, some 400 foundations
AT ITS CORE, A FOUNDATION IS A LEGAL PERSON THAT ACTS IN ITS OWN NAME, THROUGH ITS COUNCIL. IT’S VERY SIMILAR TO HOW A COMPANY ACTS THROUGH A BOARD OR DIRECTORS.
were on the books of the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC). Foundations that are genuinely philanthropic in nature account for around a third of that total, with private equity, charitable, or private wealth holding structures making up the remainder.
At its core, a foundation is a legal person that acts in its own name, through its Council. It’s very similar to how a company acts through a board of directors. While foundations are often described as “a trust that works like a company”, there is no separation of legal and beneficial title with a foundation, unlike there is in a trust.
The foundations toolkit was then further strengthened with the addition of merger, conversion, and continuance regulations. In a nutshell, by recognising a long list of entities that are allowed to merge with a Jersey foundation, the minister made the island instantly more attractive for many families and HNWIs invested elsewhere.
Liechtenstein recently had its back to the wall as pressure from the EU culminated in the threat of being labelled an “uncooperative jurisdiction”. At the beginning of 2022, Lichtenstein started
implementing the pressured changes, which immediately made the destination subpar for a large percentage of those who have been managing their money matters there.
Oops. Great news for places like Jersey, of course, and their legislation was in place in time to scoop up the alpine fallout.
A foundation charter is compulsory in Jersey (as it typically is elsewhere too), but unless there are compelling reasons for publicity (a charitable drive perhaps), this document omits names and beneficiaries. A Jersey foundation is viewed as a corporate taxpayer for purposes of income tax, which is zero percent. In fact, the standard Jersey rate is 0%, although some financial sectors pay 10%, and some utilities and retailers a maximum of 20%. In Jersey, capital gains are exempt as well.
Comparing a foundation to trusts and even companies becomes convoluted- it’s much easier to grasp when one simply looks directly at the things a foundation enables. Foundations are successful vehicles for philanthropy, holding assets more securely than a trust (civil law jurisdictions that lack an articulated approach towards trusts can confound things), and of course gratifyingly DIY (rather than giving assets to a traditional private trust company).
Estate planning for many is simplest with a foundation, and a Jersey foundation also acts as a corporate protector in instances where a number of family members come together to force a say in the management of trusts of which they are beneficiaries.
There are certain differences between a Jersey foundation and Guernsey foundations, although both are run by a council. Jersey law mandates at least a single member, Guernsey says two. Here, the founder and provider of its assets can remain an active participant by becoming one of the council members.
A founder can also make sure that only trusted family members, advisors and friends are council members in order to ensure long term control. Foundation council members have no fiduciary duty to beneficiaries, although their duty is mandated as being towards the foundation itself. One council member or two? The Jersey legislation also mandates that again a minimum of one of the council members is registered under relevant financial services laws. If no one is eligible, a local agent duly recognised will be needed to act as the “Qualified Member” as stipulated in Jersey law.
Indeed, it’s the requirement for a guardian that identifies Jersey and Guernsey foundations amongst many other locales. The requirement was established as a mechanism to capably ensure a foundation’s smooth administration, while also motivated by the all important consideration of protecting beneficiaries’ interests.
Jersey is smart. Picking through the architectural options of a Jersey foundation, there’s always a good reason behind every point. Taken as a whole, Jersey is a clean and compliant destination, yet still extremely client-centric, and so not above rubbing their smarts in global regulators’ faces.
A final takeaway image can be gleaned when it’s remembered that Jersey foundation councils are there to steer the foundation as per the will of its founder, as outlined in the founding documents. There is no decision-making required of council members. A foundation does not have to have beneficiaries, and any beneficiaries may have their rights and interests restricted by the founding documents.
Jersey, like only a handful of other destinations, has done what so many failed to do- sail through global regulatory pressure and come out still attractive to clients on the other side. Of course, there are destinations that are knowingly outlaw to such global initiatives and they intend to milk absolute secrecy until it dies. Good on them, but Jersey isn’t one of them. Jersey has gone another route, applied its mind, absorbed legislation as it came down the line, and made a very attractive proposition of it too.
With a solid history in the arena, centuries of cunning in the bag, and a great array of vehicles on offer right now, Jersey’s future looks bright. Foundations are, after all, usually about giving and family. Flying below the radar with trusts and foundations is stressful, but Jersey is the crafty alternative. EG
Panama, a country located in Central America, has become a popular destination for immigration in recent years. Even The New York Times has listed the mountain town of Boquete, Panama as one of the 52 Places to Visit in 2023.Article by Abel Gomez FOUNDING PARTNER, GOMEZ TOMICZEK INTERNATIONAL GROUP
With Panama’s thriving economy, diverse culture, and breathtaking natural beauty, it’s no wonder that so many people are considering making the move to this Central American paradise. In this article, we will explore the reasons why immigration to Panama has become so popular, and what you can expect from this unique and fascinating country.
Panama has a rich cultural heritage, with a mix of indigenous, African, and Spanish influences that have shaped its society and traditions. It is a country
that truly comes to life through its culture. From its rich musical traditions to its street festivals and carnivals. Panama is also famous for its delicious cuisine, which is a fusion of indigenous, Spanish, and Afro-Caribbean flavours and ingredients.
One of the biggest draws for immigrants to Panama is the country’s thriving economy. In recent years, Panama has experienced tremendous growth and modernization, making it one of the strongest economies in the region. The country’s strategic location, with the Panama Canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, has made it a hub for international trade and commerce. But Panama is more than the canal and a strong financial and business hub. It is also consistently ranked as one of the best places to retire. Besides the lower costs of living, sunny weather, and US-dollarized economy
Panama offers a unique discount program for retirees, offering discounts of up to 50% on hotels, airfare, restaurants, utility bills, entertainment, and public transportation.
Panama also has a rich and diverse natural environment, with everything from pristine beaches and lush tropical forests to towering mountain ranges and vast savannas. This natural beauty makes Panama a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts, and there are many opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, and other outdoor activities. Whether you are looking for a quiet and peaceful place to retire, or you are looking for a more active lifestyle, Panama has something to offer everyone.
For those who are considering immigration to Panama, there are a few things to keep in mind. One of the most important is to research
and understand the immigration process and which kind of residency visa you are interested in. The government of Panama has put in place a number of programs and initiatives to encourage immigration, but the process can be complex and time-consuming. All residency applications in Panama must be filed through a licensed Panamanian lawyer. That’s why it’s crucial to hire an experienced immigration attorney who can guide you through the different options available to you and ensure that everything is done correctly. There are several visa options available, including the Pensionado Visa (for retirees), work visas (through a job offer in Panama), investor visas (like the Friendly Nations Visa, the Golden Visa, or the Reforestation Visa), the Convenio Panama Italia (a special visa only available to Italian citizens), marriage visa and there are also visa programs available for short term stays like the Digital Nomad Visa.
The Pensionado Visa is one of the most popular residency permits in Panama. This visa is designed for retirees who receive a lifetime pension or annuity of at least $1,000 per month from a foreign government or private entity. Retirees who receive a monthly pension of at least $1,250 may also add their spouse to their visa application. The Jubilado Pensionado Visa is a one-time application and grants the applicant permanent residency in Panama. Additionally, retirees with this visa are exempt from paying income tax on foreign income earned outside of Panama.
Another popular residency permit in Panama is the Friendly Nations Visa. This visa is available to citizens of 50 specific countries, including the US, Canada, and most European countries. To qualify for this visa, you must invest at least $200,000 in Panamanian real estate or a fixed-term deposit (CD) at a Panamanian bank and in return, you receive a temporary residency permit for two years. After two years, the applicant can renew their residency permit and apply for permanent residency by providing proof that they still have their investment in Panama. In case you want to apply as a family or married couple you must also prove economic solvency by means of a Panamanian bank account with a minimum balance of $5,000. The Friendly Nations Visa allows you to work, live in Panama, and even start your own business.
Whereas the Reforestation Visa is a unique residency permit that encourages foreign nationals to invest in reforestation projects in Panama. To qualify for this visa, you must invest at least $100,000 in a reforestation project approved by the Panamanian government. After two years, you can apply for permanent residency in Panama.
The Investor Visa or Golden Visa offers a straightforward path to residency for foreign investors. To qualify for this visa, you must invest at least $300,000 in real estate properties in Panama. The Investor Visa is the only residency permit in Panama that can be filed remotely through a Panamanian immigration lawyer without traveling to Panama. All applications will be processed within 30 days by a special department at the National Immigration Service and offer permanent residency for the main applicant and his dependents (spouse, children, and even the applicant’s parents).
The process of obtaining any residency visa in Panama is straightforward. The first step is to hire a Panamanian lawyer to assist with the application process. The lawyer will help and advise the applicant
lawyer will submit the application to the National Immigration Service for processing. In order to present the formal application all applicants must be personally present in Panama. After the passport registration and formal application has been completed all applicants will receive a temporary migration ID card which is valid for six months. During this time the National Immigration Service will then review the application and conduct a background check on all applicants. If everything is in order, the applicant and his dependents will receive their residency permit. Once the visa has been successfully approved, the lawyer will pick up the formal resolution issued by the National Immigration Service and coordinate another appointment with the applicants in order to get their photo taken for their new migration ID card.
Citizenship is the ultimate goal for those who are committed to making Panama their permanent home and wish to enjoy all the rights and privileges of being a Panamanian citizen. To be eligible for citizenship, you must have had your permanent residency in Panama for at least five years and be able to demonstrate a good understanding of the Spanish language and Panamanian culture.
Compared to many other countries, particularly in the United States and Europe, the cost of living in Panama is much lower. But remember, while the cost of living is generally lower in Panama than in many other countries, it depends on the location, your standard of living, and whether you need to pay rent. For example, a rental of an “American standard” two-bedroom apartment/ house in Boquete can range between $800 to $1,500 whereas in Dolega, Bugaba, or David you will find offers for $180 to $800. Generally speaking, the average cost of living across Panama (for a couple) ranges from $1,250 to $3,000 per month. When choosing an area to live in Panama it is important to do your research and understand the costs associated with living in Panama, including housing, food, transportation, and other essentials.
Finally, take your time to learn about the culture and traditions of Panama before making the move. While the country is welcoming and friendly, it’s still important to be respectful of its cultural norms and customs. This can include things like learning basic Spanish, dressing appropriately, and being aware of local customs and practices.
to gather all the required documents, including proof of investment (if applicable), and other documents. To be eligible for any visa in Panama all applicants must have a clean criminal record and provide a police clearance certificate from their home country. Once all documents are in order, the
In conclusion, Panama is a unique and fascinating country that has a lot to offer people of all ages and backgrounds. Panama is definitely worth considering whether you are looking for a new place to live, a place to retire, or a place to start a new business. With its rich cultural heritage, thriving economy, and breathtaking natural beauty, it’s a place that will definitely capture your heart and make you feel right at home EG
For further information, please visit: www.gomitom.com
PANAMA HAS A RICH CULTURAL HERITAGE, WITH A MIX OF INDIGENOUS, AFRICAN, AND SPANISH INFLUENCES THAT HAVE SHAPED ITS SOCIETY AND TRADITIONS.Photo: Paulo Miguel Costa / Shutterstock.com
One of the long-debated themes in Serbia is the non-existence of a retail non-performing loan (NPL) market in Serbia.Article by Ivan Nikolić SENIOR ASSOCIATE, SOG / SAMARDŽIĆ OREŠKI & GRBOVIĆ
Following the 2008 World Economic Crisis, Serbia managed to regulate the corporate non performing loan market, and to decrease the NPL level from 20% to 3,19 %. However, the retail NPL market remained a taboo. There are several reasons for this and the main one is that the general public fears that regulating the retail non-performing loan (RNPL) market would essentially legalise debt slavery.
However, the truth is quite opposite. Instead of establishing a retail non-performing loan market, the NPL companies mostly offer side services to the banks on debt collection, whereas the real effects of such services is the de facto purchase of RNPL. Bearing this in mind, and the fact that Serbian law completely lacks regulation of personal insolvency (as well as an entrepreneur’s insolvency), this creates a situation close to debt slavery for many citizens that defaulted on loans and brings them into much greater jeopardy. When we take into consideration the current crisis and inflation, which includes the sharp increase in interest rates, Serbian society could enter a dark age.
On the other hand, the necessity of establishing a RNPL market could be beneficial for all parties: (i) the banks could release large amounts of reserves with the National Bank of Serbia (NBS) and invest them further, (ii) the state could improve its legislation through introducing a personal insolvency, which could be further used to improve social service offices, and (iii) citizens in distress could be offered a fresh start and assistance from social services to overcome the crisis.
Even the NPL companies would benefit, as
they would be doing their business in a much better environment for investing into RNPLs. Social services have suffered a period of neglect
for decades and should be re-established as an institution that can also assist debtors to overcome their personal debts via well-educated and skilled insolvency administrators (counsels). Ultimately, establishing a solid system of personal insolvency on the one hand and a RNPL market on the other, could boost economic growth.
Unfortunately, the state and NBS currently lack such a holistic view and would most likely wait for civil unrest to occur, or for the European Union’s request to deal with these issues within its path to joining the EU. Such an endeavour could require significant funds, but some of this could be secured from the EU funds available for the improvement of institutions. On the other hand, the benefits could far outweigh the cost. EG
For further information, please visit: www.sog.rs
ULTIMATELY, ESTABLISHING A SOLID SYSTEM OF PERSONAL INSOLVENCY ON THE ONE HAND AND A RNPL MARKET ON THE OTHER, COULD BOOST ECONOMIC GROWTH...Photo: MarinaDa / Shutterstock.com
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Montserrat is a Caribbean British Overseas Territory, part of the Leeward Islands, which form the northern stretch of the West Indies’ Lesser Antilles chain. One of the most noticeable aspects of the country is its low population, with the citizenry numbering just under 5,000 people. When someone leaves, people notice says Shannon Berkley.
Montserrat, also known as the British West Indies, was discovered in 1493. The UK has directly controlled the island since circa 1632, but Montserrat enjoys significant autonomy. Typical of many British territories that have strong autonomy in exchange for its curtsy to the crown, Montserrat is the classic legitimate-but-autonomous territory that investors will encounter among many former British colonies.
The official language is English and Montserrat is known as ”The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean’’ for both its resemblance to coastal Ireland, but also for the Irish ancestry of many of its citizens. The country is the only full member of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, and the Caribbean
Community, that is not wholly autonomous. Montserrat is a small country, roughly 16km long and 11km wide, and it has approximately 40km of coastline.
A mountainous country, Montserrat’s economy was heavily disrupted and hamstrung by volcanic eruptions that began in July 1995. A huge eruption in 1997 closed the airport and seaports and further dampened the country’s economy, although it has started to recover and is now approaching its former contentment. The agricultural sector was hard hit as it’s limited on Montserrat to begin with, and many croplands were negatively impacted by the volcanic activity.
Although disruptive and in parts devastating, the volcanic eruptions have resulted in substantial public works initiatives to address future eruptions, alongside previously planned infrastructure development. Exactly a decade ago, the EU donated $55.2 million in aid to hasten Montserrat’s recovery from volcanic activity, although as with all Brussels money, it was largely directed at telling government how to govern, rather than being disbursed as the local regime saw best to aid the citizenry.
Today, Montserrat has almost fully recovered from recent tumultuous times and agricultural exports have resumed, alongside textile and electronic component exports. Most agricultural produce is consumed locally. Besides clothing, other prominent industries include rum making,
tourism of course, and electronic appliances.
When it comes to incorporating in Montserrat, the structure of an International Business Corporation (IBC) is fairly standard fare for those who have investigated the benefits offered by many offshore/IBC destinations. Any person can subscribe to a Memorandum and Articles, and incorporate a company under the auspices of the Montserrat International Business Companies Act.
The Montserrat Financial Services Commission (FSC) is the regulatory authority overseeing IBCs. It has a list of requirements for registration that includes:
> Companies incorporated as an IBC are not allowed to do business on the island.
> They are disqualified from owning property interests in Montserrat, except for office premises leases.
> They may not accept banking deposits from Montserrat residents.
> They require a statement of the authorised capital of the company, which also outlines par value of shares that may be issued.
The benefits of an IBC include that the entire share issue can be owned by foreign interests, and an IBC is exempt from all taxes for a period of 25 years. IBCs can have a single shareholder and a single director, which can be the same person. There is a low share capital requirement starting at $10,000.
Privacy is apparent from the incorporation structure too, as the names of owners, shareholders, and/or directors are never recorded in any public records. Bearer shares are allowed, deepening privacy, and IBCs have no reporting requirements.
Looking at trust formation, a Montserrat Exempt Trust allows foreigners to transfer title to global assets to facilitate a tax-free income, while also providing asset protection and needed estate planning for family members, for up to 100 years. Beneficiaries and assets of an Exempt Trust can be wholly foreign and non-resident. A trust’s formation, permissible activities, and dissolution are all governed by the Montserrat Trust Act of 1998, which regulates the trustee industry, and the performance and conduct of trustees.
Key benefits of a Montserrat Exempt Trust include:
> Wholesale tax exemption- trusts have no tax liability.
> Wholesale foreign ownership of assets and the trust itself.
> Privacy is paramount, as no information regarding trusts is recorded in any public records. Local law, in fact, demands that trustees keep all trust information confidential.
> Estate planning is facilitated through the trust’s lifespan of a maximum of 100 years, as the trust will see several generations of family members rise in prominence during that time (foreign inheritance laws hold no sway on the island).
> Assets are protected as all fall under the trustee’s ownership, eliminating creditors and other legal issues from abroad.
Tourism continues to be a mainstay of the island’s economy, and it’s not unusual for tourists to outnumber residents at times. While you’re unlikely to see Montserrat make the top three in a list of potential offshore banking venues, the benefits of incorporating in Montserrat are usually a combination of the country’s location (en route to the North Atlantic- Britain and the EU) as well as its IBC benefits for new and established companies. Residents are taxed on worldwide income in Montserrat, but this is of no concern for those incorporating as an IBC. Capital gains tax from the sale of property is not levied in the country. For those who want to become resident, there is an annual land tax levied at 1.65%, and a building tax of 0.3%. Where applicable (as it’s not applicable for 25 years after incorporation as an IBC), corporate tax runs on a flat rate of 20%, and expenses related to income are tax deductible.
Today, Montserrat’s main economic activity lies in construction (including public works) and various other government services. Circa 2000, banking and insurance together accounted for no more than 10% of GDP, whereas construction overall counted for 50%. The country’s domestic financial sector is tiny, although there are moves afoot to compete with neighbours like Antigua and Bermuda on that front. That said, this comes
against a recent history of declining offshore finance services, with only 11 offshore banks remaining.
Although the island has been ambiguous in recent years as to whether it wanted to pursue the business its neighbours so readily thrive on, Montserrat is now playing catch-up and fairly quickly becoming a genuine international finance centre.
Particularly for US clients, Montserrat’s location and the simple benefit structure of its IBCs make it a destination of growing interest. While of course US clients are obliged to report all global income so that pennies can be wrung out of the citizenry, Montserrat publishes no incriminating records, and an IBC remains private business between an individual and the Montserrat regime.
While Montserrat has not promulgated domestic general data protection laws, it remains a British Overseas Territory and GDPR applies to Montserrat by proxy. Local government agencies have encouraged compliance with GDPR and other initiatives in order not to be blacklisted by the international community, but the right to privacy is protected in the country’s constitution as an inalienable and fundamental right.
Montserrat is a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), and its membership of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) means it is officially obliged to provide information on consumer protection matters, at its discretion. The inter-governmental Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) harmonises regional matters and encourages the adoption of common policies among members. It also helps member states with legislative matters by sharing examples of data protection legislation and electronic crime monitoring techniques.
The classic manifestation of formerly British territories that are now largely autonomous adds a definite pull for investors and businesses looking to relocate. Montserrat enjoys the best of British legal and financial cross-pollination while simultaneously gleaning perks no established mainland marketplace will provide. EG
CAPITAL GAINS TAX FROM THE SALE OF PROPERTY IS NOT LEVIED IN THE COUNTRY. FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO BECOME RESIDENT, THERE IS AN ANNUAL TAX LEVIED AT 1.65%...Photo: NAPA / Shutterstock.com
Puerto Rico (which means “rich port” in Spanish) is officially named the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. A Caribbean island, it is both US territory and yet unincorporated within the United States, reports Rachel Smith.
The island is located in the northeast of the Caribbean Sea, approximately 1,600 km southeast from Miami. It sits between the US Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico also includes the smaller islands of Culebra, Mona, and Vieques. Puerto Rico is in fact an archipelago of the main island, and some 143 smaller islands. With 3.2 million residents and a capital in San Juan (where most people live), Spanish predominates, although English is a close second. The islands were colonised by Spain following their discovery by Christopher Columbus, although for thousands of years prior, varying waves of various peoples had settled the country.
In 1898, after the Spanish–American War, Puerto Rico became a United States territory. While many complain of their secondary American citizen status, most Puerto Ricans trade it off against being largely independent of the mothership in other ways. From a business and investment point of view, Puerto Rico can offer the best of both worlds. There are catches, though, in spite of the fanfare around the country’s “Act 60” tax incentives.
As a jurisdiction for business relocation and/or expansion, Puerto Rico is a dream come true, especially for many US businesses. It’s very individual though, as many companies’ architecture means there’s no gain in relocating there.
Act 60 is the legislative moniker that encapsulates Puerto Rico’s offer to foreign companies. In deconstructing Act 60 (formerly Act 20 and 22), which is the current gateway for evaluating business opportunities on the island for
foreigners, it’s worth noting that US citizens are still liable to declare global income, no matter where it’s generated. As a US Territory, Puerto Rico is not going to be a solution to tax avoidance for many. That said, of course there are some tax incentives available to genuine expats, such as foreign earned income tax exclusion, foreign tax credits, and being able to operate a business by proxy, through a nonUS company.
Foreigners who become bona fide residents of Puerto Rico will no longer be subject to US federal income taxes on their Puerto Rican source income. Instead, they’re only subject to Puerto Rican income tax on local income.
Company formation on the island is fairly simple and inexpensive. A registered agent needs to be appointed, a name chosen for the company, and a Certificate of Incorporation needs to be filed with the Department of State. Filing can happen online, and a cost of $150 accompanies the certificate. Limited liability companies (LLCs) are generally taxed as corporations. Businesses incorporated as an LLC in Puerto Rico are taxed as a domestic corporation, and those incorporated under foreign laws who wish to establish on the island, are taxed as foreign corporations.
Genuine residents (citizens and US visitors) of Puerto Rico who spend all or most of the tax year in Puerto Rico, are typically not required to file US federal income tax returns, assuming their income is derived of business within Puerto Rico. When Puerto Rico slashed its corporate tax rates to 4%, it gave thousands of (especially) US companies an incentive to look at residency. Another part of the incentive is that individuals will pay 0% tax on capital gains and certain other dividends while a bona fide resident of Puerto Rico.
While the points below are particularly pertinent for US companies and investors, much the same can be said of EU residents’ tax avoidance aspirations by leveraging Puerto Rican incorporation or investment. Online advice regarding incorporating in Puerto Rico- especially that aimed at US corporations, is generally misleading. A few realities are worth investigating in detail.
> The Puerto Rico incentives only work if you actually live in Puerto Rico. A common theme among offshore gurus is that US citizens can take advantage of the island’s Act 60 benefits while still resident in the US. The pitch is that US citizens form a Puerto Rican corporation, hire Puerto Rican employees, and run the business from a US home base. The stated aim of this fanciful architecture is that citizens will then only pay US taxes on a salary taken from the company, while the company’s tax liability is only 4% “back home” in Puerto Rico. This a false depiction, as it looks only at the
glittering Puerto Rican tax consequences. It’s not cognisant of broader US tax consequences.
> For the purposes of US tax rules, a Puerto Rican corporation is seen as a non-US corporation. It is therefore subject to the same general US tax rules that apply to a corporation formed outside the US. A non-US corporation that is “engaged
in trade or business within the US” (ETBUS) is indeed subject to federal taxes. Although a non-US corporation is defined as ETBUS typically only when it has its own (foreign) people on American soil, operating its business, a non-US corporation that’s ETBUS faces a tax liability on income that is “effectively connected” with business within the US.
> It becomes easier to see that the scenario of Americans running an almost tax-free Puerto Rican business from their laptop is indeed wishful thinking. Federal tax authorities would determine how much of the offshore company’s income is attributable to the US owner’s work on US soil. There would then be an allocation made by authorities, where they deem X% of the Puerto Rican income is derived from the owner’s efforts, and that percentage attracts 21% tax. Trying to remove that income from the US would attract branch profits tax at a rate of 30%. Ultimately, this boils down to the Puerto Rican corporation being ETBUS, and thus subject to US tax (at a very stiff rate) on at least part of its income.
To truly take advantage of the Purto Rican tax breaks, the owner would need to move to Puerto Rico to operate the business. In doing so, the corporation would no longer qualify as having “people on the ground” in the US, and therefore cease to pay federal taxes on its income. For many, physically relocating to Puerto Rico isn’t feasible.
Many gurus point to the fact that US citizens only need to spend the mandated 183 days per year within Puerto Rico to be deemed a “bona fide resident” of Puerto Rico. There are additional requirements though:
> You may not have a “tax home” outside of Puerto Rico.
> You may not have any “closer connections” to any place except Puerto Rico during that taxable year.
To pass the “closer connections” test, foreigners will need to show the following:
> The location of your permanent residence.
> The whereabouts of immediate family.
> The location of personal vehicles, furniture, jewellery, and clothing.
Moreover, to qualify for Act 60 tax benefits, a company must be concerned with research and development, consulting, PR, construction or engineering, graphic design, accounting, architecture, hospital and laboratory services, or coding and telecoms. There are a few other categories that qualify, but those that don’t include all e-commerce businesses, affiliate marketing, most SaaS business, and app businesses.
Tourism is big on the island, and it can’t be denied that the latest Act 60 efforts are attractive to many companies for individual reasons, thus boosting government efforts to diversify and fortify the local economy. In short, the nature of their business and company architecture make it sensible for some business owners to relocate. For many others, the benefits will be negligible.
Indeed, for any benefits to become real, company owners will need to be Puerto Rican residents for a year before benefits kick in the following year. Additionally, capital gains are not as easily pocketed sans tax as online gurus make out.
The island’s current attractiveness can also be altered by the stroke of a politician’s pen, and physically relocating is a big price to pay if the US starts to apply pressure to the local regime when it feels it’s losing too many tax dollars abroad.
American entrepreneurs like Peter Schiff, Mike Maloney and Harry Dent love Puerto Rico, and it’s no surprise, as each of them have found major benefits there for their personal endeavours. One size won’t fit all, though, and the extended fine print accompanying Puerto Rico has to be considered to determine genuine value. The grass might very well be greener in Puerto Rico, but it’s worth looking long and hard at the island’s latest offer to companies and investors before setting anything in motion. EG
FEDERAL TAX AUTHORITIES WOULD DETERMINE HOW MUCH OF THE OFFSHORE COMPANY’S INCOME IS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE US OWNER’S WORK ON U.S. SOIL.Photo: BogdaDennis van de Water / Shutterstock.com
Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a familiar Northern European country, occupying the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. That’s the mainland, but there’s a lot more with Norway, because a host of other island and peninsula territories also fall under Norwegian control, writes Thomas Hughes.
The fairly remote Jan Mayen Arctic island and the archipelago of Svalbard are also a part of Norway, while farflung Subantarctic Bouvet Island is a Norwegian dependency. Other territories include Peter Island and Queen Maud Land. The country’s capital and largest city is Oslo, and Norway’s population sits at around 5.5 million people. Sweden rests on the country’s southern border, while it’s northeastern neighbours are Russia and Finland. The Skagerrak strait lies in the south, separating Norway from Denmark and the UK. Perhaps most famous as people who delight in a wide variety of fish and other seafood as a standard component of the national diet, few know that Norway is also a quietly contented country. Norwegians trail only Luxembourg for the highest GDP per capita amongst European countries. Put into a more global perspective, it means Norway has the sixth highest GDP (PPP) per capita in the world.
Broad national figures sometimes fail to paint a true picture of a country, but in Norway’s case, its per capita income is accurately indicative of the fact that Norway is the second wealthiest country in the world. It has the largest capital reserves per capita of any nation. Norway held onto first place in the UNDP Human Development Index (HDI) for six consecutive years between 2001 and 2006,
returning as the leader again in 2009.
Norway’s standard of living is one of the highest in the world, and Foreign Policy magazine has ranked it as the most stable and well functioning country. Importantly, the OECD has also ranked Norway fourth in its Better Life Index, and third in inter-generational earnings elasticity- a mouthful that means Norwegians have a far better life than most citizens elsewhere.
Norway has applied a successful blueprint for balancing individual prosperity with national functionality. A genuine mixed economy, it presents unambiguously as a prosperous (capitalist) welfare state. This means a thriving free market (with a legislated conscience), alongside extensive state ownership in certain sectors of the economy. Healthcare is free in Norway after an annual sum is paid, and parents can glean a whopping 46 weeks paid parental leave, for example.
Norway was wealthy before it discovered oil, but today the Norwegian state derives a significant contribution to the fiscus from petroleum production. With an unemployment rate under 5%, Norway is a model of what should have been the journey of innumerable other nation states that somehow failed to achieve the same results (in spite of mouthing off the same blueprint at the outset). It’s not surprising that Norwegians are consistently rated as one of the happiest people in the world.
Norway is a fairly large oil producer, and the country is one of the largest exporters of energy within the greater EU, as well as compared to other
global producers. Somehow, perhaps because of a dedicated national plan largely maintained by the expectations of the citizenry over the last century, Norway presents as an enviable balance between capitalism and a (prosperous) welfare state. Although other European economies very often say the same things and make the same plans, national social dynamics and a host of other potential variances mean that very few get the same results as Norway’s success.
SURROUNDED BY FAR BETTER KNOWN NEIGHBOURS AND WITH A TOUCH OF ARCTIC ADVENTURE ABOUT IT, NORWAY’S APPEAL KEEPS GROWING.
Thriving Norwegian industries include of course the oil industry, with a host of snow-covered customers right on the doorstep. The economy largely depends on natural resources — the petroleum industry accounts for 21% of GDP and around 50% of its total exports. Oil and gas see extensive state ownership, as do the telecoms and banking sectors, but unlike the parasite state of almost any other country, Norway’s policy focus over the last century has remained remarkably pro-citizen.
Revenue from petroleum gets deposited into the national “oil fund”, or the Government Pension Fund of Norway, and although private concerns like BlackRock and other giants of capital still lead the pack, Norway’s oil fund is the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund.
With principal trading partners in the UK, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, the Norwegian economy is relatively open. It ranks 38th in total imports and exports in the world, with fish and aluminium joining petroleum and gas as principal exports. Norway is a stable and important supplier of oil and gas to various global destinations, and the country exports almost everything it produces from its approximately 78 oil fields.
The catching and processing of various fish and other seafood is another staple of the economy in Norway. With hale fishermen traditions stretching back centuries, it’s no wonder Norway is the second largest seafood exporter in the world. Not only is the seafood industry the second largest contributor to the Norwegian GDP, being the second largest seafood exported globally is an amazing reality when one considers the massive Asian and other fleets and the volumes they handle.
Norway boasts the 8th largest maritime fleet based on tonnage and Norwegian ships account for some 3% of the global fleet. Ship and rig building yards, as well as ship equipment manufacturers and other maritime support businesses are another bustling component of the Norwegian economy. Sticking to water, Norway is also now able to boast that some 98% of its electricity is generated from renewable hydropower.
Tourism is a thriving and definitely growing industry for Norway. Its relatively unknown and rather unique national flavour finds huge appeal with tourists from all over the world. Surrounded by far better known neighbours and with a touch of Arctic adventure about it, Norway’s appeal keeps growing.
Business in Norway is relaxed. Norwegians are competitive and awake but have managed not to let success go to their heads. Business meetings are always pleasantly informal, and flat structures and workplace equality dominate.
In comparison to the average workplace in the US and elsewhere, trust and informal communication are valued in Norway, resulting in a reassuringly professional environment for business. On the one hand, Norway offers none of the wow incentives that offshore destinations typically do to ensure inflows. On the other hand, Norway has something a lot better for a lot of businesses- a stable and buoyant economy.
The country might seem unattractive for those looking for extensive tax breaks and other “international company” benefits, but the stability and constant performance of Norway’s economy better suits many who are happy to tread the long route for genuine returns.
While Norway recognises offshore companies, as well as trusts and foundations, none of these vehicles nor the fintech industry overall are of particular interest to the fiscus. The country has not become a mini Switzerland by proxy, or proximity, but rather earned its wealth through commodity industry.
In common with some other EU countries, Norway has a stiff tax rate. Total tax revenue a decade ago hovered around 41% of GDP, and the taxation level in Norway fluctuates between 4045% of GDP. It has since the 1970s, and the rate is an unfortunate flipside of the welfare state. That said, Norwegians are clearly happy with what they get for their money in terms of public spending. Healthcare consumes a large portion of tax income, and it works for everyone.
Income (from employment, business, or capital) is taxed at a flat rate of 22%, but there are other taxes applied to goods and services as they are in most other countries. Norwegian VAT is set at a whopping 25%, although food items carry only 15% VAT. Again, while one might imagine this to be symptomatic of an all-consuming state the likes of the US Congress or other parasitic regimes that cannot seem to curb their spending and act as they were appointed to do, in Norway, it’s all worked out just fine so far.
That Norway has a bustling and well-established economy in 2023 is probably the most attractive aspect of the country from anyone’s point of view. It’s hard now for many others to remember what a simple, sound economy felt like, but Norwegians have somehow managed not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The very solid fundamentals of the old economy got boosted by oil extraction, and today the happy marriage of hardworking citizens and a genuine welfare state continues towards a bright future.
This alone makes Norway unusual- an oldschool economy driven by the fundamentals of resources, supply and demand, with government oversight that actually looks first to the citizenry, rather than its own pockets. However did they do it? EG
It’s hard to remember now, but when the system of social security numbers was introduced in America in 1936, there was much public indignation, if not outright resistance. The suggestion that people ought to be “tagged” or reduced to a number was repugnant to those who wondered what business the state had in counting them like sheep, remarks Shannon Berkley.
It is unfortunately a measure of our modern ignobility and utter domestication that most will laugh a little at that recollection — it seems so silly now. When the current masters have spoken openly of “a programmable, injectable system for human evolution” (and have been rolling it out right on cue), and we’re constantly scanned, monitored, tracked, and recorded, what’s another number stuck to your name? How quaint, how Amish indeed to be fussed over a “social security” number.
The modern-day reality of what those early initiatives have allowed, however, is not quaint nor pleasant, and while it’s hard to pick a poster boy from the many current evils afoot in every nation on this globe, CBDCs have to be a strong contender for the title. Again but a reflection of how stupid they
believe people to be, central bank digital currencies are obnoxious and malevolent, and it remains to be seen how many morons they’ve been able to make of us, as to whether CBDCs fly at all.
They’re already airborne, and there is likely to be an unfortunately large segment of any nation’s population that is still clinging to the imagined trustworthy nanny state, those who will readily digitise their currency, and in so doing place their very existence as a free individual in the hands of the extremely dark money elite
CBDCs are being billed as an improvement — better for you, safer for your children, kinder to dolphins — the standard sucker punch modern humanity walks right into every single time. What they really are, to any thinking human being, is
an attempt to eliminate human liberty, freedom and prosperity. By the adoption and proliferation of digital IDs together with CBDCs, the global masters would have a seamless and punitive system of control over almost everyone alive
If CBDCs represent both the communist left hand and the fascist right hand of tyranny, then digital IDs are both supporting architecture and precursor to electronic money. Together they form the baseline of supreme technological control mechanisms for the globalists seeking to replace physical cash.
No cash? So easy then to track and surveil, to entrap a global population with programmable money. Utterly Orwellian and completely antithetical to the civil liberties we enjoy in a free, democratic society, here the lure comes, as soft suggestion and dictate alike.
Why is it even necessary to point this out to people? If a proposed solution (our looming digitised reality) comes with an inescapable loss of personal control and autonomy, how zombified are people who don’t flinch at that?
The supreme consumer in charge of the Bank of International Settlements, Augustin Carstens, has openly stated that CBDCs would give central banks complete control over an individual’s transactions. This exposes their true intentions, entirely discrediting any conversation of purportedly improved “stability”, “financial inclusion” (it’s always in the name of the poor), “efficiency”, or “money free of liquidity or credit risk.” CBDCs will even threaten the existence of commercial banks and private equity, as they bypass retail banks and prevent you from saving money — the very core of wealth creation! If humanity favours employing “digital” currencies, they need to come without:
• The requirement of digital IDs
• The elimination of cash
• Any kind of centralised control, rather utilising the protocols privacy and autonomy protocols of a cryptocurrency like Monero.
Digital currencies should certainly be implemented in a manner that respects the individual sovereignty of citizens (opt in, or not), because the current trajectory of the central planners is one leading to a totalitarian control mechanism and digital gulag, which will completely destroy the standard of living and liberty of most people. In a feat that would have made Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Pol Pot, Kim Jong-il or even Ho Chi Minh
green with envy, digitised IDs and digitised money will eliminate your choices and personal autonomy in one fell swoop.
Who needs digital IDs and CBDCs, when the free market and the electorate have not requested, nor approved, nor consented nor agreed to their manifestation? We neither need them nor desire them, but a totalitarian bent in global governments, those with plans to run roughshod over the freedoms and civil liberties of the people, is very keen on their roll out. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, which is why the very idea of digital IDs and CBDCs must be stopped and permanently abandoned!
Imagine digitising your physical IDs — your national identity card, your passport, health care info, your driver’s licence. It might sound handy and even cool, but the problem with such IDs is they would require sensitive biometric information that is individually unique to create, such as fingerprints, iris identification, or facial recognition (unlike with current forms of physical ID, which are never so intrusive). In addition, a digital ID will be stored on an electronic device such as your phone or your computer, but that data is also stored by the government and their “private contractors”, which is an extreme infringement of personal privacy.
Without vote, ballot, election, referendum, or plebiscite, digital IDs are being rammed through the British Parliament, through Secondary Legislation means, anticipated to emerge on the other side around December of 2023. This is happening while the population remains completely unaware of the implications. If unopposed, this legislation would effectively make digital slaves of every citizen by year’s end, paving a surer way for CBDCs. The nature of their appearance and the darkness of those behind them leads inescapably to one question: Why?
Why do we have central banks, if their end game is digital currency and the removal of cash? Against the backdrop of Augustin Carstens’ arrogant admission that “CBDCs would give central banks complete control over an individual’s transactions”, why are they pushing so hard to digitise everything, and eliminate the use of cash, when cash provides us all with anonymity and freedom of choice in the first place? No one is talking about that.
Really, the question for anyone with the wit to see becomes, by using the Trojan horse of digital IDs and CBDCs, why are governments and central banks so mutually bound and determined to implement a monetary system aligned with communist control, one that is completely incompatible with freedom, sovereignty and capitalism itself?
The fraudulent coup d’etat against the American people that Executive Order 14067 represents is nothing less than what awaits every citizen everywhere soon enough. Whether it’s electronic money from the masters, or digital IDs curtailing our God-given freedoms and liberties, these initiatives pervert such liberties towards permission and compliance-based privileges that are granted (or denied) by the state. Governments
are overreaching, going far beyond the limits of their democratically elected mandate.
When your digital ID is your national ID card, health card, driver’s licence, passport, and even bank cards rolled into one (and that’s the plan), your ability to eat, live in any accommodation, shop for clothes and other items, are all toast if “the government” doesn’t like your face. A great leap backwards, a digital ID system is one of top-down authoritarian control with no escape, and it ties in beautifully with other obnoxious advances — wearables, implants, and brain chips that are also intended to “digitise” the very animal you are.
How many chickens need to be beheaded before the next chicken declines to enter, free feed or not? How many times must we watch others walk into the slaughterhouse, hoping to come out the other side? It’s frankly embarrassing for the species.
Not entirely satisfied with his tarnished reputation for his participation in the War in Iraq, it’s worth noting that previously elected Tony Blair seems to be ever the supporter of these looming totalitarian technologies. Having previously deemed digital IDs a “question of modernity, not civil liberties,” he has more recently called for “digital infrastructure” and
advocated for “digital libraries” to track people’s covid inoculation status. 5,000 years of human history tells us that these kinds of initiatives always end badly. Moreover, when the strongest proponents in the room of this kind of authoritarian initiative happen to be publicly bankrolled by controversial institutions like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, citizens everywhere might want to sit up and take alarmed notice of such conflicts of interest.
The wisdom of Howard Buffett shines brightly now, in our time. It was he who said that “human freedom depends on gold-redeemable money.” Indeed, it is only when money is in your hands and mine, when it is paper cash in lieu of or gleaming gold itself, that societies can enjoy genuine freedom and prosperity. The incontrovertible truth is that digital money issued from ‘the powers that be’, when combined with the complete removal of cash from an economy, are nothing more than a bullet train to the monetary concentration camp. EG
UTTERLY ORWELLIAN AND COMPLETELY ANTITHETICAL TO THE CIVIL LIBERTIES WE ENJOY IN A FREE, DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY, HERE THE LURE COMES, AS SOFT SUGGESTION AND DICTATE ALIKE.
Perhaps you might have already heard - Bitcoin (BTC) now has two ”offsprings” on the market: Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV). Each of these cryptocurrencies has their own features, rate and market cap. Let’s take a closer look, and see what differentiates these currencies that seem so similar by name, writes Oliver
When Bitcoin (BTC) was first launched back in January 2009, it was introduced as a revolutionary, two-way digital payment system that promised to upend the banking and financial system. However, as Bitcoin’s user base steadily expanded, the network was soon inundated with an everincreasing number of transactions. This caused Bitcoin to be seen as a slow and costly option for regular day-to-day transactions, leading to less frequent use of the cryptocurrency for everyday purchases.
Upgrades to its code thus became necessary in order for it to become more widely accepted and meet the increasing market demand. And yet, there was not a unified consensus on what these changes should entail.
In 2017, a conflict within the Bitcoin development community divided the community into two distinct factions. One side wanted to keep Bitcoin as it was, while the other sought to further increase its scalability. This led to a hardfork of Bitcoin resulting in the creation of Bitcoin Cash (BCH), which increased its block size from 1 MB to 32 MB in order to make the network more scalable. The project gained traction and began growing steadily until 2018, when another controversy arose due to several developers arguing that Bitcoin Cash’s scalability was still not sufficient enough for it to become a globally accepted network.
As a result of this debate, further measures had to be taken in order to improve the scalability of Bitcoin Cash and make it more accessible on a global level. A new camp, led by AustralianTaylor.
computer scientist Craig Wright, decided to hard-fork Bitcoin Cash and once again split the network. The result of this fork became Bitcoin SV (BSV), whose block size is much larger than that of Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash.
Supporters of Bitcoin SV firmly believe that it is the best embodiment of the original vision of Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous creator of Bitcoin. Curiously enough, Craig Wright has claimed that he is, in fact, the real Satoshi Nakamoto.
Bitcoin SV varies from its predecessor, Bitcoin, in various ways. Most notably, it increases the default block size from 1 MB to a whopping 128 MB; achieving what some call almost unlimited transactions per second and a low transaction fee of 0.000013 BSV per transaction (roughly equivalent to $0.0019). Already these changes have allowed Bitcoin SV to process 9,000 transactions per second with remarkable efficiency.
Alas, the deep divide between Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV was akin to a civil war, pitting supporters of Bitcoin ABC (short for Adjustable Blocksize Cap) - with its block size of 32 MB - against those in favour of Bitcoin SV’s increased 128 MB limit. The split ushered in dramatic changes, sending the price of Bitcoin Cash plummeting from $425.01 on 14th November to $289 on 15th November, while BSV traded at around $96.50. In the meantime, the new blockchain allowed both sides to pursue their own visions for the currency’s future, distinct
from each other in terms of rules and protocols for processing transactions.
This hard fork has sparked an unprecedented rift in the cryptocurrency world, with two opposing factions. On one side stands Roger Ver and Jihan Wu, champions of Bitcoin Cash that they believe is truer to Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision of a peer-to-peer electronic transaction system. On the other side are Craig Steven Wright and billionaire Calvin Ayre, who are spearheading the Bitcoin SV movement and touting its greater scalability and capacity for more transactions per second - making it a better fit for mainstream usage.
The disagreement between the two camps, Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV, focused on the scalability of Bitcoin Cash. While the Bitcoin ABC faction argued that a block size of 32 MB would be adequate for their current network requirements, their counterparts in the Bitcoin SV camp felt that increasing the block size to 128 MB would facilitate more transactions per second and effectively make this cryptocurrency more accessible to mainstream consumers. This disagreement sparked a fierce debate as each side tried to defend its stance on how best to optimise this digital asset for widespread use. Meanwhile, BSV developers swear that the
cryptocurrency fully complies with all the provisions of Satoshi Nakamoto’s White Paper, published back in October 2008.
The Bitcoin Wars have caused a great deal of controversy and tumult within the cryptocurrency world, prompting many to ask questions about the true value and future opportunities for each coin.
Bitcoin Core, the original version of cryptocurrency created in 2009 and also commonly known simply as Bitcoin, operates on a decentralised network that allows for peer-topeer transactions without any central governing institution. This decentralised network has proven to be an effective way to securely and quickly transfer funds between two parties. However, it has a limited block size of 1 MB, meaning it can only handle a maximum of 7 transactions every second. On the upside, the decentralisation of the Bitcoin Core network provides users with an extra layer of security as there is no single point of failure, making it one of the most reliable forms of financial exchange available today.
Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV), in turn,
provides increased scalability with its much larger block size limit of 128 megabytes, enabling a substantially higher volume of transactions to be processed per second. Moreover, BSV has added micropayment capabilities and is committed to restoring the original vision of Bitcoin set out in Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper – a digital cash system that empowers individuals to make financial transactions without going through third-party
intermediaries. As such, BSV offers an alternative to traditional banking systems that can facilitate more efficient financial transactions at reduced costs.
Despite their differing approaches, both Bitcoin Core and BSV are built on the same foundation of a decentralised digital currency, running on distributed ledger technology. Where they differ is in the scalability and block size limit they prioritise; Bitcoin Core opts for greater security and decentralisation, emphasising its decentralised nature, while BSV puts more emphasis on scalability and focuses on mainstream adoption. This difference in focus has caused a major point of contention between the two camps, with each side arguing that their approach is best for long term success.
Craig Wright, one of the key individuals behind the development of Bitcoin SV, has been a muchdebated figure in the cryptocurrency space. While sometimes being regarded with suspicion and doubt, he has adamantly persisted in his claims that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious creator of Bitcoin. Yet despite this skepticism, Wright’s supremacy in the Bitcoin SV community remains undeniable; his influence on BSV’s evolution has paid off greatly, as his actions have had a profound and lasting impact on its growth and advancement.
The Bitcoin SV cryptocurrency itself has also been the subject of significant pushback from the crypto and financial community at large. Numerous exchanges and brokerages have delisted the coin, with some even erroneously labelling it a “scam coin”. Unfortunately, this has overshadowed the fact that BSV also has a passionate base of supporters and entrepreneurs who view it as an answer to scaling and mainstream adoption of digital currencies. These people see BSV as offering tangible solutions for mass-market access to this technology, firmly believing these features make it a more viable option than other existing cryptocurrencies, enabling efficient usage on a much larger scale.
The traditional banking industry is right to feel threatened by the potential of Bitcoin SV, as the latter’s large block size limit gives it an advantage over other cryptocurrencies in terms of scalability and mainstream adoption. With the capability to process high volumes of transactions, BSV could make existing payment systems obsolete, due to its ability to support micropayments. It’s much more cost-effective for businesses to use this technology, which makes it a compelling alternative to traditional banking solutions.
As BSV continues to evolve and develop, banks are already starting to pay attention and considering how this technology can disrupt their existing models. While still relatively niche, the impact of BSV on the banking sector is something that cannot be ignored and its potential should not be underestimated. With its remarkable capacity for scalability and efficiency, it stands to revolutionise the way we process global cryptocurrency payments. EG
WHILE STILL RELATIVELY NICHE, THE IMPACT OF BSV ON THE BANKING SECTOR IS SOMETHING THAT CANNOT BE IGNORED AND ITS POTENTIAL SHOULD NOT BE UNDERESTIMATED.
In the last decade, there have been significant improvements and innovations in automobile technology. From remote parking, wireless smartphone charging, blind spot technology, autonomous safety systems, voice activation, and mobile apps to the latest camera technologies, cars today are equipped with features that were once only found in science fiction, reports Thomas Hughes.
One of the most notable examples of this is the BMW 7 series, which offers cutting-edge technology such as Remote Control Parking, that allows drivers to move their car forward and backward using the touchscreen Display Key. Let’s delve into the latest advancements in automobile technology that will have you feeling like driving a car worthy of being issued by Her Majesty’s Secret Service!
Remote Control Parking is a feature that allows drivers to move their car forward and backward using the touchscreen Display Key without actually having to be inside the car. This technology, first made available in the BMW 7 series, is a prime example of the cutting-edge developments of today’s vehicles. The ability to remotely control the car’s movement not only makes parking in tight spaces easier, but also adds an extra level of security by allowing drivers to move their car out of harm’s way if needed.
Unlike some other cars that require the driver to be close to the car for the remote parking feature to work, the BMW 7 series allows the driver to remotely control the car from a distance. Additionally, the ”Remote Control Parking” feature can be used in conjunction with the car’s parking assist system, making parking even easier.
However, it’s worth noting that BMW is not the only car manufacturer that offers a remote control parking feature, though they are the pioneers of it. Many other car companies have followed their lead and now offer similar features in their own models. Remote control parking, for example, is also available in cars like the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the Audi A8. These cars use similar technology to the BMW 7 series, allowing drivers to move their car using a key fob or a mobile app.
In recent years, there have been significant advancements in camera technologies for cars. One of the most notable examples of this is the use of multiple cameras around the car to provide a 360-degree view of the vehicle’s surroundings. This technology, known as a surround-view camera system, uses cameras mounted on the front, rear, and sides of the car to provide a bird’s-eye view of the car’s surroundings on the car’s infotainment screen. This feature is especially useful when
parking in tight spaces or navigating through crowded city streets. Another advancement in camera technologies is the use of night vision cameras. These cameras use infrared technology to enhance visibility in low-light conditions, making it easier for drivers to spot pedestrians, animals, or other potential hazards on the road. The night vision feature is especially useful when driving on rural roads or in areas with limited street lighting.
The BMW 7 series is one of the models fitted with this technology. The latest advancements in camera technologies for automobiles are also being adopted by other car manufacturers. For example, the Ford F-150 and the Ram 1500 both have advanced cameras that provide a 360-degree view around the vehicle.
Wireless smartphone charging is one of the latest convenient in-car gadgets that many car manufacturers have started to incorporate into their vehicles. This feature allows drivers to simply place their smartphone on a charging pad in the car, eliminating the need to fumble around with cords
and USB ports. Many new cars now come with this feature as a standard or an optional extra. This feature is especially useful for people who use their phone for navigation, music streaming or other activities that drain the phone’s battery during the drive.
Another in-car gadget that has become increasingly popular in recent years is the integration of voice-activated systems, such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant. These systems allow drivers to control various aspects of the car, such as the audio and climate control, using voice commands. This feature can make it easier to stay focused on the road while still being able to adjust the temperature, change the music or make a phone call.
Another convenient in-car gadget is the integration of mobile apps that allow drivers to control various aspects of the car remotely, such as locking and unlocking the doors or starting the engine. This feature can be especially useful for parents with teenage drivers, as it allows them to keep track of the car’s location and monitor its usage. Additionally, it allows you to remotely start the car, set the temperature, check the fuel level and more. Many new cars now come with wireless charging pads, and some cars even have built-in wifi hotspots.
Autonomous safety systems are one of the most notable improvements in automobile technology in recent years. These systems use sensors, cameras and other technologies to assist the driver in avoiding accidents and making the driving experience safer. Some examples of autonomous safety systems include lane departure warning, which alerts the driver if the car begins to drift out of its lane, and forward collision warning, which warns the driver if the car is at risk of colliding with the vehicle in front. These systems are becoming more prevalent in new cars, and some car manufacturers are even starting to offer them as standard features.
Another noteworthy advancement in autonomous safety systems is the development of semi-autonomous driving systems such as Tesla’s Autopilot and GM’s Super Cruise. These systems allow the vehicle to assist the driver with steering, braking and acceleration in certain circumstances, such as on the highway. While the driver is still responsible for monitoring the driving and intervening if necessary, the systems can help to reduce fatigue and improve safety. Thanks to these systems, the cars of today are able to provide drivers with a more relaxed and secure driving experience.
The push for more advanced automotive technology is increasing as car manufacturers are now offering autonomous safety systems and voice activation as standard or optional features. Some of the recent models that now include this as a standard are Lexus LS and Jaguar XJ. These vehicles also use voice control for audio and climate control, allowing drivers to adjust settings without taking their hands off the wheel. As these features become increasingly common in new models, drivers can expect even more advanced technology available in the near future. EG
THESE SYSTEMS USE SENSORS, CAMERAS AND OTHER TECHNOLOGIES TO ASSIST THE DRIVER IN AVOIDING ACCIDENTS AND MAKING THE DRIVING EXPERIENCE SAFER.Photo: Alamy.com
A recent Reuters headline said it all: “What’s sustainable about soaring private jet use?” Sentiment towards especially private jet travel has turned to scrutiny, and the highly luxurious travel arrangements made and enjoyed by those who can are provoking everything from malcontent to outrage, writes Rachel Smith.
Greening has eventually caught up with the aviation industry, with private jet travel now emblematic of the audacity of the rich, and a very real contributor to global pollution. These changing public and regulatory tones are driving the industry’s response: sustainable aviation fuel. Sustainable fuel is a hot topic right now, and with angry eyes looking at jet makers and their clients, a sustainably produced aviation fuel is rapidly becoming commonplace all over the world. Private flight might be the poster child, but commercial airlines are the biggest movers towards a positive response to current sentiment. In many ways, more eyes are on the commercial airline industry as it is so much more visible.
Can there really be a substitute for jet fuel? Can a biofuel do the job — and is it really sustainable? Sustainable biofuels are not made from food crops or by using agricultural land or freshwater. Rather, biofuels stem from waste or plant material and can be made using solar power in their manufacturing process.
Biofuels are derived from biomass, and depending on the biomass type employed, can lower aviation’s CO2 emissions by up to 98% when compared to normal jet fuel. The first test flight employing a blend of conventional and biofuel
took place over a decade ago in 2008. In 2011, blended fuels with a biofuel component of 50% were authorised for use in commercial aircraft. While bio aviation fuel would surprise no one working at any airport anywhere in the world, that doesn’t mean it’s rapidly taking over the industry. On the contrary, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in 2019 announced that they were aiming for a very modest 2% penetration by 2025.
Aviation biofuel can be made using species of algae, plants, waste and palm oils, or tallows. Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is certified sustainable by an industry recognised third party, and is also known as a “drop in” fuel. This means that it meets all of the same technical performance and safety requirements as fossil jet fuel. Although SAF typically contains the same hydrocarbons as fossil paraffin, its green accolades stem from the hydrocarbons coming from a more sustainable source.
A net reduction of emissions is the clear benefit for airlines using SAF, looking at a life cycle comparison with fossil fuel. With the current push for green solutions worldwide, it’s clear
that aviation fuels can be biomass derived and sustainably produced, while meeting all technical requirements for flight propulsion. Already, current and interactive maps are available online, showing airlines looking to get big into green where they can refuel using SAF.
A sustainably produced aviation biofuel would help decarbonise the medium and long haulers- the kind of air travel that generates the most emissions. It would also axiomatically extend the life of many older aircraft types, simply by lowering their carbon footprint.
Looking at one example of legacy interest in the SAF game, 2022 saw ExxonMobil parade a renewable methanol SAF. By employing a proprietary “methanol to jet technology” using feedstock methanol, the company is adding to its biomass derived biofuel exploration and development. The methanol comes from the “gasification of biomass and waste”. Captured carbon dioxide as well as hydrogen can also be converted into SAF. ExxonMobil is prioritising
methanol technology though, as the company estimates that “this solution has a higher yield of jet fuel than other options, and also provides the flexibility to use a mix of alcohols as feedstock, and produce renewable diesel.”
The field is technically sophisticated, but
Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosine (HEFA-SPK), for example, is a SAF made from hydrotreated vegetable oil. This SAF is in fact a genuinely mature technology, and the current working model for biomass aviation fuels. The process uses oil extracted from plants like Jatropha or Camelina, or algae, waste oils, or babassu oil, to make a biomass-derived synthetic paraffinic kerosene (bio-SPK) through cracking and hydroprocessing.
Another route to SAF involves processing solid biomass using pyrolysis (typically an oxygen deprived burning of plastic waste) to produce pyrolysis oil. This oil is then a feedstock biomass for further refining. Alternatively, gasification will produce syngas, which then also undergoes processing to become Fischer–Tropsch Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (FT-SPK).
Commercially grown algae for the manufacture of jet fuel looks promising, although it’s currently still an emerging technology. That should change shortly, however, as big names like Boeing and
General Electric are invested in it, along with some prominent airlines.
Research is also being conducted on alcoholto-jet technologies. Alcohols like butanol and ethanol are de-oxygenated and further processed into jet fuel. Other processes involve fermentation, where industrial waste gases from the steel industry become the feedstock for a process of microbial fermentation. Even existing ethanol plants can be retrofitted to produce isobutanol- another route to an aviation biofuel. Solar reactors play a big role in some of the methodologies, and some SAFs that employ synthetic biology are also being researched.
While alternative jet fuel could be the saviour of both private and commercial aircraft travel, it still faces some technical hurdles. Because nitrile-based rubber materials expand when in the presence of the aromatic compounds in conventional petroleum fuel, their development alongside petroleum has been symbiotic and successful. Pure biofuels not mixed with petroleum, and without paraffin additives, might cause rubber seals or hoses to shrink. This in turn can lead to serious malfunctions in an aircraft.
While synthetic rubber substitutes might prove to be the answer, as they don’t react as rubber does, the response still needs to be articulated. Additionally, the US Air Force has found apparently harmful fungi and bacteria in aircraft using biofuels, and a process of pasteurisation is needed to disinfect them.
In 2019, the cost of fossil jet fuel production was $0.3-$0.6 per litre, at a price per barrel of $50-$100 for crude oil. In contrast, the cost of aviation biofuel production was $0.7-$1.6, which means a crude oil barrel price would need to rise to $110-$260 for a SAF to break even. Typically today, aviation biofuel costs more than fossil jet fuel, when adding in aviation taxation and other peripheral but unavoidable contributors to the sum total.
Although the current SAF production is a whopping 18 billion litres, the International Energy Agency is forecasting SAF production to grow to around 75 billion litres from 2025 to 2040. This would be a hike from 5% share of the annual aviation fuel consumption up to 19%. Still not a majority, but it remains to be seen whether other factors arise (such as hastened government intervention) that will accelerate the transition to SAF being the default. It looks certain that the default it will one day become, though.
Notable celebrities include Drake, Kylie Jenner, Oprah Winfrey, and Taylor Swift, all of whom love to fly private. And let’s not forget John Travolta who flies a commercial airliner mostly alone. Indeed, all private aircraft owners might want to look into alternative jet fuels, as it’s the kind of touchstone that can get ugly quickly. Better to be on the right side of history, and to be seen doing something to justify all that luxurious globetrotting. Double that for commercial airlines, whose customers are only going to become more green conscious. EG
A SUSTAINABLY PRODUCED AVIATION BIOFUEL WOULD HELP DECARBONISE THE MEDIUM AND LONG HAULERS- THE KIND OF AIR TRAVEL THAT GENERATES THE MOST EMISSIONS.Photo: Standret / Shutterstock.com
Are you interested in owning aircraft, or perhaps you already do and you’re looking to export your fleet to a favourable jurisdiction? Then Malta may just be the perfect choice for you. In this article, we take an in-depth look at the fundamentals of aircraft registration in Malta and discuss its characteristics to give you a clearer picture of the benefits it offers, writes Oliver Taylor.
We will also provide you with an overview of the processes involved in aircraft registration in this jurisdiction, highlight notable services that assist with this task and direct you toward the information you need to make the process as smooth and hasslefree as possible.
In recent years, Malta has set an example of growth in the aviation industry, attracting a number of international organisations to operate in this field. The Maltese government supports aviation with the aim of transforming the island into one of the most prevalent hubs of the aviation industry. The appeal of the Maltese flag is already well known in the maritime industry and Malta’s shipping registry is the second largest in Europe and the eighth largest in the world. Recent initiatives to increase the number of aircraft registrations, demonstrate the country’s desire to see the aviation
industry follow in these footsteps.
Malta’s Aircraft Registration Act (Chapter 503 of Maltese laws) came into force in 2010. The significant changes it brought to the regulations have established Malta as one of the emerging centers for the development of the aviation industry. When registering their aircraft on Maltese soil, the owners can enjoy benefits such as compliance with the regulations of the Cape Town Convention, membership in the EU, relatively low tax rates, and a favourable geographical location.
When it comes to aircraft registration in Malta, one of the most important considerations for aircraft owners is the tax advantages available in the country’s aviation sector. Under the Maltese
tax system based on the transfer of funds, income considered to have been earned outside Malta is exempt from Maltese tax if it isn’t transferred to the country. As a result, this presents as an attractive tax jurisdiction for relocating a foreign aviation company’s tax residence to Malta.
In other words, profits from the operation of aircraft in international travel are only taxed in the country where the company is managed; thus if a company is managed in Malta, it will only be taxed in Malta, unless the profits were earned locally.
Furthermore, Malta’s aviation industry also offers a number of leasing options for aircraft owners. The aforementioned rule also applies to the leasing or renting of aircraft and aircraft engines by non-resident owners to non-resident lessees based in Malta. In this case, Maltese income tax will not be applied, regardless of whether there is a double taxation treaty between Malta and the
country of residence of the lessor.
The double taxation agreements that it does have in place, in fact, can help aircraft owners minimise their tax liability. The Maltese government offers a number of other incentives for companies and individuals operating aircraft, such as reduced landing and handling fees at Maltese airports, and a streamlined aircraft registration process. The Malta Business Aviation Association (MBAA) also offers a one-stop-shop service for aircraft owners, which makes the process more efficient and cost-effective.
For lessors/operators of aircraft who are based in Malta, there are opportunities to benefit from foreign source income while also taking advantage of Malta’s double taxation treaty system where applicable.
Companies that are based and have their residence in Malta, and are taxed on their global income, will be subject to Malta’s standard corporate tax rate of 35% for profits earned from aircraft leasing and other sources of income. However, when distributing these profits, Malta’s imputation system makes a real difference. Under this system, eligible shareholders are entitled to a significant refund of the majority of taxes paid by the company on the distribution of profits. As a result, the final tax payable in Malta is reduced to only 5%.
Furthermore, Malta’s VAT Department has
introduced a new procedure for aircraft leasing which makes Malta an even more attractive jurisdiction to register private and commercial aircraft while ensuring compliance with EU laws. The new rules state that the payment of VAT is based solely on the amount of time the aircraft spends in EU airspace.
The Maltese VAT rules vary depending on how the aircraft is used. For example: whether it is used by the operator for remuneration, primarily for the international transport of goods or passengers, or only for private use. VAT rules similar to those of other EU member states apply to the importation, acquisition or delivery of aircraft within the EU.
When acquiring, importing or supplying aircraft intended for use by the operator for remuneration primarily stemming from the international transport of passengers or cargo, the supplier does not charge VAT, but retains the right to claim incoming VAT on those services.
Owners of aircraft should take into account any potential economic influences when deciding whether to register their aircraft in Malta. The country has a developing yet stable economy, with a focus on tourism, manufacturing, and financial services. The Maltese government has implemented a number of policies to attract investment and promote economic growth, which can benefit aircraft owners.
It’s important to note that Malta’s economy is relatively small, therefore it’s essential to do your research and consult with experts in the field to ensure that registering your aircraft in Malta is the right decision for your portfolio. On the upside, Malta is a member of the EU, which can bring considerable advantages such as access to the EU market and stability in the regulations.
Overall, Malta’s healthy economy and favourable tax regime make it an attractive option for aircraft registration. The government’s efforts to attract investment and promote economic growth, along with the incentives offered for aircraft owners, make it an advantageous location for aircraft registration.
When it comes to registering your aircraft in Malta, it’s essential to have a thorough understanding of the regulations and requirements set forth by the government. The Maltese government has a robust regulatory framework in place for aircraft registration, which is overseen by Transport Malta’s Civil Aviation Directorate.
While advantageous, the process for registering an aircraft in Malta can nonetheless prove to be complex, and involves several steps, including obtaining a Certificate of Airworthiness, a Certificate of Registration, and an Aircraft Radio Station Licence. It is important for prospective aircraft owners to be familiar with these regulations and requirements, and to have the right expertise and assistance to guide them through the process.
Additionally, Malta does adhere to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards and recommended practices, which govern aircraft registration, airworthiness, and air navigation. These standards provide a framework for safety and consistency in the aviation industry, and it is important for aircraft owners to be aware of these regulations. The Malta Business Aviation Association (MBAA) also plays a vital role in ensuring the compliance of business aircraft with international regulations.
To better navigate this process, we recommend enlisting the help of a certified professional who specialises in aircraft registration in Malta. They will be able to provide services based on a profound understanding of the local rules, and will aid you in obtaining your aircraft without a hitch. They will also provide you with guidance regarding all the necessary documents, certifications, and licenses required for your aircraft to be registered in Malta. You can count on them to advise you on any other steps you need to take, such as obtaining liability insurance and compliance with ICAO standards and MBAA regulations.
Having the appropriate knowledge and assistance to help you through the registration process is crucial when purchasing an aircraft in Malta. It can be challenging for aircraft owners to navigate the rules and regulations the Maltese government has put in place for aircraft registration. To this end, do not underestimate the benefit of working with a professional who specialises in
this industry. These experts can offer invaluable guidance and support in your endeavour.
By working with an experienced professional, you can ensure that your aircraft registration process goes as smoothly as possible, and that your aircraft is fully compliant with all regulations.They can also provide guidance on Malta’s tax regime, the country’s economy and other relevant information that may affect the decision of aircraft registration. Take a look at consulting services and compare companies like BizAv, ICCJET, or E&S Group, for example, to find the one that best suits your needs. EG
HAVING THE APPROPRIATE KNOWLEDGE AND ASSISTANCE TO HELP YOU THROUGH THE REGISTRATION PROCESS IS CRUCIAL WHEN PURCHASING AN AIRCRAFT IN MALTA.
Qatar is one of the most affluent countries in the Middle East, boasting a variety of attractions, and its national pride in luxury aviation - Qatar Airways. Established in 1993, Qatar Airways has quickly become one of the most sought after airlines for travellers worldwide thanks to its commitment to excellence, writes Oliver Taylor.
This is evidenced by its numerous awards from leading international consulting firms that specialise in passenger air travel market research. To date, Qatar Airways has established itself as a premier airline for both business and leisure travellers alike.
Qatar Airways is undoubtedly among the most notable leaders in the aviation industry, renowned for its commitment to customer satisfaction. As the only airline to offer direct passenger air service to Qatar, the company makes safety, comfort and punctuality their top priorities, with attentive staff
dedicated to anticipating and meeting the needs of every passenger.
The airline offers travellers an unrivalled level of luxury and convenience. With an expansive global network of 198 destinations in 80 countries on all continents, Qatar Airways provides direct international flights to the world’s most soughtafter tourist destinations, European capitals, and cities in Australia and New Zealand. On board, passengers can enjoy luxurious in-flight amenities such as comfortable seating, gourmet meals, complimentary drinks and snacks, a rich
entertainment system, and committed service from the staff. Such a dedication to service has earned Qatar Airways a reputation as one of the best airlines in the world – making it a favourite among frequent flyers and discerning travellers alike.
The passengers flying in First and Business class are treated to a spectacular selection of amenities that have been carefully designed to provide an unforgettable and exceptionally comfortable journey. From indulging in gourmet meals prepared by award-winning chefs, to reclining into the luxurious lie-flat seats for restful sleep, every detail has been thoughtfully considered. The recently concluded World Cup 2022, hosted in Qatar, has put the airline in the spotlight and given it a chance to showcase its premium services to a global audience.
Let us explore the wondrous range of amenities and benefits that come with flying in First and Business class with Qatar Airways. Passengers can enjoy an array of privileges, such as being welcomed into their flight with a signature beverage or being served exquisite dishes curated from around the world. The airline has also taken special care to ensure that its staff provides attentive service throughout the journey and a personalised experience tailored precisely to each passenger’s needs.
When it comes to luxurious air travel, Qatar Airways stands out as one of the most opulent services in the industry. The brand is built on providing maximum comfort, from the aircraft cabins with entertainment systems in the seat backs, to Wi-Fi access on board. Even in economy class, passengers can stretch their legs and enjoy a peaceful sleep or a good meal which is included in every flight and can be ordered ahead of time or on board the plane.
Qatar Airways’ Business Class is among the best in the world, renowned for its superior service and amenities. Spacious seats recline to a flat position and passengers benefit from expedited check-in and boarding, along with gourmet meals and a wide selection of beverages both on board and in the airport lounge. In addition, they are provided with a special travel kit including lip balm, moisturiser, beauty and winery brand Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio facial mist, cozy pyjamas and White Company slippers.
If you wish to experience the peak of luxury, consider trying a flight in First Class - the highest level of service available on Qatar Airways’ Airbus A380-800. Its upholstered seats not only provide an optimum level of comfort, but they can also transform into full-fledged beds.
Those lie-flat seats are certainly one of the most remarkable features of Qatar Airways’ First Class cabins. They were designed with passenger comfort in mind, offering ample legroom and the ability to recline fully, as if you were in your own bed.
Each seat is also equipped with an individual display, providing passengers with a broad variety of movies, TV shows, music, and games to enjoy during their flight. This entertainment is supported by the Orix One system. Travellers also have access to the OnAir telephone service throughout the trip. Furthermore, passengers can experience even greater privacy and comfort thanks to personal suites which come complete with a closing door for added seclusion. To ensure passengers have the best journey possible, Qatar Airways provides them with free linens, pyamas and sleeping gear.
The First and Business Class experience is truly unparalleled, as evidenced by their commitment to fine dining. Dishes are prepared by world-renowned chefs, featuring a la carte menus and multi-course meals, accompanied by an impressive selection of fine wines and champagnes. The airline also offers passengers a unique dine-on-demand service that allows them to order meals whenever they want during their flight, free from the constraints of a traditional meal schedule. This flexibility gives customers the freedom to enjoy their meal at the exact time they desire.
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar was a major event not only for the host country, but also for Qatar Airways. The airline had the unique opportunity to showcase its high-end services and luxury offerings to a massive international audience, thanks to its pivotal role in transporting fans and VIPs from around the world to this important tournament. The World Cup provided Qatar Airways with an invaluable opportunity to promote its services and unique experiences on an unprecedented scale.
One of the most significant impacts of the World Cup on Qatar Airways was the increase in demand for air travel to and from Qatar. As fans and tourists flocked to the country to watch the tournament, the airline saw a significant uptick in passenger numbers. This allowed Qatar Airways to demonstrate its capability to handle high-volume traffic and provide a smooth and efficient travel experience for its clientele.
In addition to the increased demand for air travel, the World Cup also had a positive impact on the hospitality experience for travellers flying with Qatar Airways. The airline put in a lot of effort to make the trip to and from Qatar as seamless and enjoyable as possible for thousands of fans that came to watch the games. They offered special packages and promotions, which included exclusive access to VIP lounges, premium seating, and gourmet dining options. As a result, these efforts were well-received by passengers, who appreciated the extra attention and care provided by the airline.
The World Cup has now ended with Argentina’s victory, but the positive impact of this event on Qatar Airways will be long-lasting. The airline has gained valuable experience in handling high-
volume traffic, and the praise received from World Cup travellers will aid in further enhancing the overall travel experience for all passengers.
Qatar Airways’ commitment to superior hospitality has earned them a stellar reputation among travellers worldwide. Their cabin crew is renowned for their friendliness and attentiveness; they are more than willing to go the extra mile to ensure that all passengers have a pleasant and comfortable flight experience. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that the airline’s ground staff is also highly efficient, making the check-in and boarding process as seamless as possible.
Paired with luxurious amenities like the VIP lounge in Doha’s Hamad International Airport, the Qatar Airways experience gives passengers the chance to relax and enjoy their travel in comfort. In fact, if time allows, we recommend First Class travellers to visit the Al Safwa Lounge, which was designed to embody the classic beauty of Islamic Art, taking visual cues from the renowned Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. The hall is designed to capture the essence of the local culture, with its minimalist interiors adorned in limestone and detailed marble touches. The open spaces are carefully arranged to create an atmosphere of tranquility and serenity, meant to evoke a sense of peace and inspire guests who enter its walls.
The airline’s devotion to the passenger experience is also reflected in its loyalty program, Privilege Club, which rewards frequent flyers with a range of exclusive benefits and perks. In fact, Privilege Club Platinum members flying in Business Class now have access to the Al Safwa Lounge as well, so don’t pass up on the opportunity. The airline also offers a range of additional services such as massages and beauty treatments that make passengers feel pampered and relaxed during their flight.
Qatar Airways has proven itself to be a leader in airline hospitality, providing an unparalleled luxury travel experience. The airline’s opulent amenities, premium features, and exceptional service set it apart from the competition, making it a top choice among high net worth individuals. EG
THE WORLD CUP PROVIDED QATAR AIRWAYS WITH AN INVALUABLE OPPORTUNITY TO PROMOTE ITS SERVICES AND UNIQUE EXPERIENCES ON AN UNPRECEDENTED SCALE.
At the EFMD Annual Conference in Prague in June 2022, a panel of experts considered the question: “Is small beautiful?” hoping to shed some light on the subject of micro-credentials, a topic that both excites and exercises policymakers, employers, educators, and learners.Article by Dr. Keith Pond DIRECTOR, EFMD GLOBAL ONLINE COURSE CERTIFICATION SCHEME (EOCCS).
So, why micro-credentials? - Microcredentials have gained the attention of the online community in recent times but have a long history according to panel member Professor Mark Brown, Director of the National Institute for Digital Learning at Dublin City University. A St. John’s Ambulance First Aid Certificate from 1833 is a very early example of a skills-based short course where a micro-qualification signals a specific proficiency.
Since those pioneering days of credentialing, micro-credentials have become synonymous with short, flexible, stackable, affordable, inclusive qualifications focused on skills development. Most recently, they have proliferated through the medium of online instruction.
Contrast those characteristics with the more traditional university offerings of bachelor or master degree programmes – typically longer, more rigid, costlier, and more selective, and often subsidised by the state, and you begin to understand why micro-credentials give opportunities to upskill workforces and engage lifelong learners in ways that more conventional qualifications do not. Although it is often intended that microcredentials complement traditional academic courses, rather than replace them. Courses offering micro-credentials have relevance for other key stakeholders as well:
> Employers who need up-to-date skills in their
recent recruits and established workforce.
> Universities and business schools offering “taster” courses to attract students and to offer flexibility in the executive education area.
> Commercial providers, seeking to extend their markets.
> Learners seeking low cost, low impact ways to boost their studies and update their skills.
> Faculty members keen to maintain and enhance their credentials in teaching and facilitation.
Andy Poole, Partnerships Director at Coursera, contributed to the discussion, emphasising the focus on skills demanded by employers – typically, IT, project management, cyber-security and data analysis skills. Often these are skills that update continuously and so do not fit comfortably in a settled curriculum. He also notes the rapid expansion of micro-credential offerings and the awakening of higher education to this innovation.
Maria Kelo, Director of the Institutional Development Unit of the European Universities Association (EUA), our final discussant, commented that whilst micro-credentials were well established, there is no single definition of them. Working with others in the European MOOC Consortium, Maria has recently contributed to
work that promises a common framework and language that aligns with current qualifications. To date, there is no agreement on the size (in terms of credits), duration, level(s), or regulation of microcredentials.
Mark Brown, and fellow authors, provide a very useful “credential ecology” in their 2020 paper:
The “ecology” indicates that unbundled microcredentials have the capacity to be credit-bearing – although many are not. This raises the issue of acceptance and quality. Without an agreed global definition of micro-credentials, it may be many years before an accepted quality benchmark is developed. In the EU, a definition was agreed in June 2022:
“‘Micro-credential’ means the record of the
learning outcomes that a learner has acquired following a small volume of learning. These learning outcomes will have been assessed against transparent and clearly defined criteria. Learning experiences leading to micro-credentials are designed to provide the learner with specific knowledge, skills and competences that respond to societal, personal, cultural, or labour market needs. Micro-credentials are owned by the learner, can be shared and are portable. They may be standalone or combined into larger credentials. They are underpinned by quality assurance following agreed standards in the relevant sector or area of activity.”
It is inevitable that further regulation of microcredentials will emerge. The simplest assumption is that regulators will use the same sort of quality framework as existing programmes offered by HEIs. But this is limiting as it excludes alternative providers.
Alternative providers (i.e. non-HEI providers, which could be private companies, public bodies, non-profit organisations, or others) are a real complication. “Micro-credential” is not a trademarked or regulated term. Unlike the term “degree”, anyone can use it, without meeting a set of standards or regulations. However, good practice can be promoted so that learners are clear about what Dil Sidhu from edX calls “the 7 Cs”:
This leaves the field open for business schools wishing to promote themselves using “tasters”, or hoping to reach larger audiences, widen access to
learning and engage alumni and employers. For example, through a Coursera partnership with Highered, industry micro-credentials are available to, and being used by EFMD member schools around the world to help students build skills for high-demand job roles using content from leading organisations including Google, IBM, and Meta.
The short answer is that it really depends, suggests Maria Kelo. Clearly, they can develop new skills or update their practice with technologybased applications noted earlier. However, for the moment, not all micro-credentials have defined credits attached to them, nor are there any systematic methods or approaches to recognise such credits. The most likely scenario is that acceptance will be on a case-by-case basis. Institutions with rigorous quality assurance processes, such as HEIs, may have an advantage in the short term.
In practice, credential evaluation is cumbersome, slow, and expensive. For systems that consider the institution as a whole (where institutions are self-accrediting and self-awarding) the evaluation of single micro-credentials is left to the internal quality assurance mechanisms of the institution. External quality assurance bodies, such as EFMD, can then review the internal mechanisms explicitly related to micro-credentials. As this is still something quite new, many institutions probably do not have focused mechanisms and policies in place, but the expectation is that they should create and develop them – and swiftly!
The vision of many HEI and commercial providers is to achieve a quality benchmark through currency, efficacy, and branding. This will enable micro-credentials to be applied to social media profiles, such as LinkedIn, to CVs and to university applications. Micro-credentials that conform to the benchmark should also be stackable, in a true modular sense – another key benefit for the parttime and non-traditional learner. There is clear opportunity here for external bodies to offer their own benchmark standards and potentially an “exchange” facility to reassure potential learners of the quality of the credential.
There is much benefit that so many can gain from micro-credentials. Institutions, employers, governments, and learners will all find them helpful towards their separate and different objectives.
In the longer term, national authorities will wish to regulate, hopefully, for quality assurance purposes. This should work well, provided national governments and their agencies are guided by global good practice and the needs of all stakeholders.
If micro-credentials can open higher education to less well-represented parts of global society and empower them to make a difference to their own lives, then, yes, there’s beauty in that. EG
For further information, please visit: www.globalfocusmagazine.com
MICRO-CREDENTIALS ARE OWNED BY THE LEARNER, CAN BE SHARED AND ARE PORTABLE. THEY MAY BE STAND-ALONE OR COMBINED INTO LARGER CREDENTIALS.Photo: wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com
More now than ever in today’s economic landscape, ensuring profitability and survivability is a key concern for businesses of all sizes and spanning all industries, writes Oliver Taylor.
In order to thrive and remain competitive, companies need to be proactive in identifying opportunities, mitigating risks, and optimizing their operations. Here are some effective ways to increase profits in your business, based on insights from leading executives and business experts.
Focus on Customer Retention - Acquiring new customers can be costly, so it’s important to focus on retaining the ones you already have. This means building strong relationships with your customers by delivering quality products and services, and making excellent customer service a key priority.
Cut Costs - Reducing expenses is a simple but effective way to increase profits. Look for areas where you can cut costs without sacrificing quality or customer service. This might involve renegotiating contracts with suppliers, streamlining operations, or outsourcing non-core functions. The less you spend, the more you have.
Focus on Margins - Not all products or services are created equal. Focus on the ones that offer the highest profit margins and allocate resources accordingly.
Optimize Your Pricing Strategy - Pricing is a complex and nuanced process, but raising prices is often necessary to keep up with inflation and maintain profitability. Look for ways to optimize your pricing strategy, such as offering discounts for bulk purchases or bundling products or services together. As customers are extremely sensitive to pricing, first do some research to ensure they are willing to pay more.
Expand Your Product Line - Diversifying your product line can help you tap into new markets and generate additional revenue streams. Look for opportunities to introduce new products or services that complement your existing offerings.
Level up Your Marketing - Marketing is the lifeblood of any business, and essential for attracting new customers and building brand awareness. It might be time to review your social
media strategy, search engine optimization, and email marketing setup. As Dan Kennedy states, “The business that can spend the most to acquire a customer wins.”
Embrace Sustainability - Sustainability is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have. Consumers and investors are increasingly demanding that businesses operate in an environmentally responsible and socially conscious manner. This means adopting sustainable practices throughout the supply chain, reducing carbon emissions, and minimizing waste. “It is my belief that the next 1,000 unicorns — companies that have a market valuation over a billion dollars — won’t be a search engine, won’t be a media company, they’ll be businesses developing green hydrogen, green agriculture, green steel and green cement.” — Larry Fink
Leverage Technology - Technology can help streamline your operations, reduce costs, and improve customer service. Look for ways to leverage technology to enhance your business processes, such as implementing a cloud-based accounting system or using AI chatbots to handle simple customer inquiries.
Keep an Eye on the KPIs - Monitor your key performance indicators (KPIs) to understand how your business is performing and identify areas for improvement. Always watch metrics like revenue, profit margins, customer acquisition costs, and customer retention rates. What gets measured, gets improved. EG
ALWAYS WATCH METRICS LIKE REVENUE, PROFIT MARGINS, CUSTOMER ACQUISITION COSTS, AND CUSTOMER RETENTION RATES. WHAT GETS MEASURED, GETS IMPROVED.Photo: Ground Picture / Shutterstock.com
Andrew Main Wilson mulls over the way in which Covid has impacted business schools’ thoughts on overseas students.Article by Andrew Main Wilson CEO, AMBA & BGA
AMBA’s recently released Application and enrolment report 2022 shows the continued attractiveness for students of attending a business school away from home. In 2021, 36 per cent of all students applying globally to AMBA-accredited MBA programmes were international students, while the percentage of enrolled international students was 29 per cent. This statistic showed no change when looking at the results from the same schools in 2020.
Due to our truly global network, there are striking variations on this figure when looking at different regions. For example, in the UK the vast majority of applications (85 per cent) are international, while over half (62 per cent) of those enrolled are international students.
When looking at regions such as China and India, only around one per cent of those applying and enrolling are international students. With competition for students remaining fierce, business schools are not only competing on a local scale, but are also now competing online on a global scale.
AMBA & BGA recently hosted a roundtable on the topic of internationalisation and invited seven
leaders from European business schools from our network to talk about how they are taking advantage of this new era of borderless education. In addition, it asked for their feedback on how they are attracting and retaining international students and if they thought their business school’s unique selling point, or USP, stood out in the global market.
The responses highlighted a wide array of approaches. One leading European business school said that its USP was a focus on local students, with 85 per cent of its cohort being domestic. The plan for 2023 is to teach in person as much as possible. In contrast, another school said it had 44 different nationalities on its full-time master’s programme and it was significantly investing in digital studios, to optimise the experience for both faculty members and learners and achieve greater impact.
For many schools, having an online option is necessary, as students sometimes find gaining visas difficult. With online options being made available by their business school, students are able to start their course abroad and move to the
business school when their visa is granted. This issue could become heightened as we face increasingly difficult geopolitical events.
The trending topic of the day, and one that many business schools have already invested in, is micro-credentials. AMBA & BGA’s Transformation and the emerging business model shift in business education report found that 50 per cent of responding schools are already offering such credentials and 25 per cent of business school leaders see micro-credentials as the future of business education. These small, stackable modules target a global market and are likely to be a hot topic for AMBA & BGA in the coming months and years.
Our application and enrolment reports repeatedly show the continued demand for MBA programmes. That demand will continue to drive business schools on what their offering might be – whether that is a specifically local programme, or one with a cohort based all around the world. EG
For further information, please visit: www.mbaworld.com
WITH COMPETITION FOR STUDENTS REMAINING FIERCE, BUSINESS SCHOOLS ARE NOT ONLY COMPETING ON A LOCAL SCALE, BUT ARE ALSO NOW COMPETING ONLINE ON A GLOBAL SCALE.
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Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha are collectively a British Overseas Territory situated in the South Atlantic. By location alone, the islands became a persistent point of tussling between warring seafaring nations in times past, writes Cheryl Jones.
The territory consists of Saint Helena Island, Ascension Island, and the Tristan da Cunha archipelago, which includes Gough Island. Formerly called Saint Helena and Dependencies until a new constitution in September 2009 granted equal status to all three entities, they are nonetheless grouped under the Crown as a single British Overseas Territory.
In an initial cat-and-mouse scenario, both Portuguese and British sailors discovered the islands from at least the early 15th century onwards, with both nations attempting to keep the valuable supply point a secret on what were formerly a lot rougher, more hazardous, and lengthy sea voyages. The islands were also considered strategically crucial during World War II, and today these massive volcanic outcroppings host the joint UK and US operation and management of the local airfield — RAF Ascension Island.
The diverse populations that encountered and stuck on St Helena have today produced a cosmopolitan citizenry with a distinctly ocean island and welcoming culture. While many of the younger generation travel away from the islands, the relatively small population of around 5,000 people remains stable, as presumably those leaving are offset by some who return, or new arrivals who settle. There is also a sizeable expat population on Ascension Island, largely of migrant labourers who move on.
Oddly enough, because the population is so small, the Saints today living in the UK and especially in Cape Town, South Africa, likely together outnumber the islands’ population! Famous for being affable and hospitable people, Saints at home are full of old school charm. St Helena, for the record, is “the patron saint of difficult marriages, divorced people, converts, and archaeologists”! Her Feast Day is celebrated on August 18 each year.
Officially founded in 1659, the 121 km² territory’s economy is based on export coffee, fishing, tourism, and the sale of alcoholic liqueurs. The St Helena Distillery produces the exclusive Midnight Mist Coffee Liqueur, world famous as a distinctive treat for connoisseurs. Developed only on St Helena, the drink is derived from greentipped bourbon Arabica coffee, the seeds of which were originally brought over from Yemen circa 1733.
Besides coffee, other agriculture, and the construction, retail, and accommodation sectors are contributors to the fiscus, along with a strong food service industry. Of the total population, around 3,000 work within these industries on the islands. Luxury tourism is a persistent draw card on the islands, with many hotels and services geared for high end travellers. Although there are many similar volcanic islands around the globe, St Helena and Ascension both have a distinctive history and
appeal, and those prepared to make the journey are rewarded for it.
Saints often hop over to work on Ascension Island, in the Falklands, or the UK. Saint Helena also remains one of four countries that receive (and depend upon) financial assistance from the UK. Although not a large annual sum, it’s statistically almost double what the territory itself generates. In 2016, as an example, around £22 million came from the UK, while local tax revenues amounted to £12.6 million in the same year.
As Asian interest in Africa’s resources rises, there will no doubt also be a renewed pull from the West, something that could see the territory experience an invigorated economy, straddling the Atlantic between Africa and South America. Tourism is what most think of when hearing the name, although beaches are few and far between on St Helena. The land mostly meets the sea in a near vertical rock face, although diving activities compensate for the lack of surf and sand. Jamestown has an area optimistically
named The Seaside, but there’s no sandy beach, and most of the area is occupied by The Wharf.
St Helena and Ascension Island were for the longest time among the very few ocean islands that did not make it possible for foreigners to incorporate a company. This has however changed, as the island’s Legislative Council of 2020 passed a Companies Ordinance act, with the Companies Registry based in Jamestown. St Helena particularly wants to develop the alternative source of revenue that foreign owned businesses can bring, although notwithstanding its recent legislative moves to encourage companies relocating or incorporating, there’s a problem with the model.
While it might seem a small point, Bermuda, for example, has done well in carving out a niche as an offshore destination, in no small part because it’s a great place to live as well as do business. Part of the deal with Bermuda is also that business has to be done on the island. The staff, the company office, and a lot of the planning and management has to be done locally.
Company types on the islands are typically one of three: a private company limited by shares, a private company limited by guarantee, or a public company. Foreign branch offices and other registered merchants can also operate in St Helena. The island group is OECD compliant, and with its initial company legislation of 2020, St Helena seems to lean towards strict compliance, rather than making a more complex sense of prevailing global legislation, in order to become more attractive to investors.
The personal tax rate in St Helena ranges from 10-30%. Tax is only charged on income earned in St Helena, whether by a resident or non-resident. The St Helena pound is the currency of the islands, and it’s pegged at parity with pound sterling, resulting in both currencies being commonly accepted and circulated in the territory.
Since a copper halfpenny was struck in 1821 for use specifically on St Helena, the local currency has ever since intermingled with British currency. Indeed, the territory used British banknotes until 1976, at which time it started to issue its own currency. Eight years later, in 1984, the territory also began to issue its own coinage (for both St. Helena and Ascension Island).
Quite remarkably, and something that could well steer St Helena clear of much of the woe due to the rest of the world, the island has no central bank. The Bank of St Helena Ltd is the preeminent bank in the territory and it sets its own deposit and lending rates. The maximum savings rate in 2019 was 4%, while the average lending rate was 7%. Although treated as no big deal by locals, The Bank of St Helena’s relatively unfettered operational architecture might be key to future expansion of the fintech sector.
Notwithstanding the constraints on the territory that might inhibit this, future prospects for St Helena are bright. The core industries keep ticking over, while maritime logistics, fintech, and personal wealth management all loom as potential boom areas for the islands. EG
THE CORE INDUSTRIES KEEP TICKING OVER, WHILE MARITIME LOGISTICS, FINTECH, AND PERSONAL WEALTH MANAGEMENT ALL LOOM AS POTENTIAL BOOM AREAS FOR THE ISLANDS.
The notion that real estate has always been and remains the asset class of smart and dynastic wealth took a beating over the last few decades, says Oliver Taylor.
The naked greed of the banksters who brought about the sub-prime crisis sure didn’t help real estate’s image, and neither does the fact that most areas of human settlement today are more complex investment vehicles. Grapevine stories abound about so-and-so who “lost money on that property.”
When any government overreaches and attempts to cap property market dynamics, it usually makes for more bad press, notwithstanding that government passes legislation to enforce property ownership rights. Let’s be grateful for that at least, and excuse their typically predatory charges on citizens’ property affairs.
All of the above being said, those property rights are the gold, it seems. By virtue of the very fact that we humans tend to settle around our own species, guaranteeing an ever growing realty development market, and when looking at the data, real estate is still king. It’s very often a matter of diligent research and planning, with the right perceptions around what rental property is. Those who “lose” money on investment properties aggravate the human psyche’s predilection for bad news over good. They either gave no real thought to the purchase, or are more traders than investors
Robert Kiyosaki, speaking on stocks versus real estate with Ken McElroy, pointed out that no one is getting “a deal” on the stock market. Investors buy and hold (ideally) blue chip stocks, but there’s not going to be any massive windfall. Investors hope they go up over time of course, but there’s no possible “value add” potential. Adding value to a rental housing unit might be a refurbishment of the interior that justifies a higher rent, or renting furnished at a premium, as opposed to unfurnished dwellings.
That kind of ability to spin more money doesn’t come with stocks, although of course those deeply embedded in that world make some cash. To be fair, the pros of stocks are that they’re far more liquid, and can sometimes make more in a year than real estate, as stock prices can respond to news that’s irrelevant to the rental housing market.
The average retail investor, statistics show time and again, won’t make money out of medium to low risk stocks, however. Even if above average, money made from stocks still lacks the “cash fluidity” of rental real estate. Buying a house generates (rental) cash flow, and by the law of the time value of money, a pound today is more valuable than fifty next week.
When looking at real estate investment, and specifically rental properties, a few obvious differences between real estate and, for example, bonds become apparent. The data clearly shows that rental real estate generally gives greater returns than investing in bonds. Bigger tax benefits come with property as opposed to bonds too. Looking at the risks versus the returns, Bonds are comparatively safe investments, but with duly underwhelming returns . Rental property returns start in the Goldilocks zone, but can become meteoric.
Buying (property) derivatives instead of actual property, you lose the individual ability to wildly capitalise on local happenings (a World Cup, an international conference, or some unanticipated local property boom), as your investment is tied to a property index, homogenised for better or worse. It stands to reason that with ETFs and index tracking funds, rental properties outperform again. These are paper assets, devoid of the potential of rental properties, as well as their cash flow.
Opting for commodities such as gold and other precious metals, oil, and gas over rental property might appear to offer the same potential as real estate. Especially since the petrodollar is dying, and BRICS nations
are forging a gold backed system of trade, investors can be forgiven for imagining exciting times ahead for commodities. It’s still buy and sell, however, but more importantly there’s an old saying on trading floors that says “commodities take the stairs up, but the elevator down.” Upticks (such as recently seen) are strong but unhurried — they’re orderly in their climb. Corrections, on the other hand, can be sudden and ugly, and all “gains” evaporate. Today’s commodities markets are also far more volatile in terms of gains and corrections than the legacy understanding of commodities suggests.
Ditto cryptocurrencies and entrepreneurial business. Cryptocurrencies are a blockchain stock market today, and big gains require big risks. As for business, it’s always been high risk. “Business is risky” is the old adage and, depending very much
on who and what you’re investing in, it can be years before dividends appear.
Buy and hope, or buy and get a cash flow going while looking ahead to less tax and more benefits from the investment — that’s the choice
While it might sound insubstantial to younger citizens, anyone over 50 can remember a time when central banks dared not be anything other than conservative, a big dad, slamming the till drawer shut on citizens’ fingers often enough. They were the kings of stability and fiscal rectitude. In comparison, today whores have invaded the palace! Central banks are printing money as though Rome is burning. Were they just kidding earlier last century
then, when they said that kind of reckless behaviour would lead directly to hyperinflation?
Beneath this rather startling and unusual rain of dollars, pounds, and all fiat comers really, real estate strategies that factor in amortisation, depreciation, and the effects of inflation appreciating the asset, are going to shine. These considerations (along with cash flow and tax implications) actually make real estate the most resilient and powerful asset class for investors in 2023 and well beyond
Amortisation is a factor seldom considered by those who prefer stocks and bonds, but comes standard with a commercial property loan. In a nutshell, amortisation gives an investor the opportunity to offset what would otherwise be a very demanding repayment term, killing their cash flow.
Put differently, in the best interests of property investors making it (and lenders not suffering defaults!), amortisation has emerged as a means to get into property and make it pay, without the immediate heavy pressure of steep repayments. It’s a deferred liability structure that makes it possible for new retail investors to make money out of rental properties. Long term holding of property over time, through thick and thin, also makes the rich get richer. Amortisation facilitates this, and allows property investors to utilise their new cash flow as opposed to losing it all to repayments. The time value of money, once again.
Inflation’s impact on rental property is a mixed bag, but it’s typical for the benefits to outshine the negative effects. High inflation reduces millions of consumers’ ability to secure a mortgage, keeping them in the rental market. As more and more opt for continued renting, demand rises, pushing up rentals. Inflation will also hinder housing development, further cementing a growing rental push.
Taxes are also less than on income derived from short term gains (selling stocks or cashing in bonds). Moreover, depreciation dramatically reduces property taxes over time, something the wealthy understand very well. Put simply, depreciation allows for an asset’s value to be lessened year on year, resulting in a constantly reducing tax liability, whether or not the property’s actual value correlates. Indeed, depreciation can be lessening the tax obligation while appreciation is making the property more valuable over time.
A rental property comes with a cash flow. There are variable expenses to deduct from rental income, depending on where in the world the property is, but real estate can generate a monthly income stream that can do a lot more than zero monthly cash flow can. That potential has huge value, and successful wealth generators know it
It comes down to personal investment preferences, but by not investing in real estate, investors are prevented from building up equity and amortising their repayments, giving liquidity to further investment. Indeed, without the scope and potential intrinsic to rental property, investment can become a wealth killer, as opposed to a wealth generator. EG
Modern Monte Carlo is elegant, somewhat sophisticated, and synonymous with luxury living. Surely the most famous of the districts of the Principality of Monaco, it’s hard to believe that Monaco was once a fractious, insignificant and rather poor assortment of towns without any cohesive image, says Shannon Berkley.
It was Prince Charles III, the Prince of Monaco and Duke of Valentinois (1856-1889) behind modern Monaco’s emergence during the nineteenth century. The city state of Monaco today has nine districts, of which Monte Carlo is the most prominent. Facing rebellious cities in Menton and Roquebrune, external control (of some 90% of its territory), and a substandard economy upon ascending the throne, Charles III traded favours and buttered up foreign royalty (Russia’s Alexander amongst them) in order to quell factionalism, and cement and invigorate the principality.
Having addressed disputes with neighbour France and other burning issues, it was Prince Charles III’s vision that saw Monaco rise as an autonomous and prosperous region. He turned a ragtag collection of mountainous, divided cities into the Monaco of today through economic reforms and fierce political will — and looking back, this has to rank as one of the most successful national reinventions of recent history.
The casinos of Monte Carlo have been depicted as the centre of high stakes gaming and stylish living in several James Bond movies — 1983’s Never Say Never Again and GoldenEye in 1995 — this nod from Hollywood further proof of Monte Carlo’s standing today.
Upon the death in 2005 of the ruling monarch Prince Ranier, his son Albert assumed the throne in the same year. A UN member since 1993, Monaco doesn’t officially belong to the European Union or the European Economic Area, making it a little different to destinations like Norway or Liechtenstein, and even Switzerland. Although it has maintained a distance from the EU, Monaco did phase out the French franc in the early noughties, making the euro the official currency by 2002.
Long considered a tax haven due to its favourable personal and corporate taxation (or absence thereof!), Monaco does not tax individual income, nor companies making 75% or more of their profits from within the country.
Monaco’s persistent refusal to tax residents and international businesses with headquarters in the principality has led to many conflicts with others, most notably a severe spat with France in 1962. A compromise entailed French citizens who were resident in Monaco for less than five years being taxed as per French rates, while Monegasque companies showing over 25 % of their business coming from outside the principality also began paying taxes.
Particularly at the close of the 20th century, many (mostly European) countries lambasted Monaco’s relatively loose banking regulations,
claiming that tax evaders and money launderers were sheltered within the principality. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) put Monaco on its blacklist of uncooperative tax havens in 2002, but Monaco was relieved of its pariah status when it committed to OECD transparency standards in 2009.
Under a mild Mediterranean climate, the experience of living in Monte Carlo is one of sunny days and busy nights. Restaurants, casinos, and high-end retailers dot the landscape, and life rolls over within a now stable and prosperous economy. Shopping predominates as a tourist occupation, right alongside gaming in one of the fabulous casinos that are now emblematic of the local nightlife. Although Dubai and a few other destinations have carved out a niche as luxury shopping destinations, Monaco maintains its allure due to its riviera feel and competitive internal architecture.
Spending a day shopping in Monte Carlo is likely to encompass a visit to the Metropole Shopping Monte-Carlo centre. Situated opposite the Casino Gardens, this is a modern shopping mecca that bedazzles with extensive marble decor and a magnificent period chandelier that hovers over the interior.
For those who demand a more immediate maritime experience closer to water, YCM Gallery is situated on the quai of the Yacht Club de Monaco, offering a diverse retail experience in the heart of the Port Hercule district. The only deep water port in Monaco, Port Hercule is in fact an ancient anchorage. Substantial improvements during the 1970s followed its initial upgrade in 1926, and the district today covers some 40 acres, providing anchorage for as many as 700 ships, yachts, and boats.
A more foreign-friendly experience can be had at the Fontvieille Shopping Centre, where innate euro elegance is dotted with a few familiar
faces like McDonald’s. More mall-ish, a large car park surrounds the clothing, electronics, and furniture stores within the centre, and restaurants abound. Here tourists will also find a Carrefour hypermarket, and for those after a more organic
feel to Monaco, the hale Marché de La Condamine (founded in 1880) is a classic stall-type market that was renovated in the early 90s. Fashionistas will enjoy the relatively new One Monte-Carlo fashion district, boasting over 20 high-end boutiques.
A visit to the Cathédrale de Monaco can be inspiring, while the Old Town of Monaco (aka Monaco-Ville and The Rock) contains many monuments, historical buildings, and old alleyways that take visitors back to the daily life of the Middle Ages.
The Palais Princier de Monaco is almost mandatory, and the Musee Oceanographique never fails to impress. There is also a naval museum for aficionados, and for those who enjoy more refined evening entertainment, the Monte Carlo Casino complex houses the Opéra de MonteCarlo — an opera and ballet venue that is also the residence of the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra. The beautiful Japanese Garden is one of many green spaces around town, and visitors can cycle around Casino Square before taking to the beaches.
The beautiful French Riviera coastline provides the setting for some of the most recognisable casinos in the world, Las Vegas’ efforts notwithstanding. The most famous casino hotel in Monte Carlo is surely Le Grand Casino de Monte-Carlo.
Gamers will also enjoy Sun Casino, which is far more relaxed than other local casinos, and closer to family entertainment centre-type casinos found throughout Europe and elsewhere in the world. The title of smallest casino of the bunch goes to the Monte Carlo Bay Casino — a modest yet cosy casino floor without table games, but rather a slot machine venue with some attractive offers.
Notable others include the Casino de Monte Carlo, and Casino Café de Paris. Gamers will attest to the unique Monte Carlo casino feel, and the country is well versed in providing thrilling gaming experiences for all comers, having quickly assimilated and housed casino gaming when it first became formalised in business venues elsewhere in Europe during centuries past.
For those considering staying forever, the better local property brokerages include John Taylor Monaco (dealing in luxury real estate) and B&C Monaco Properties. Many visitors are smitten by the weather, infrastructure, pace and nature of life, and of course, French Riviera cuisine. Citizenship begins with a residency application that allows you to stay as long as desired. After 10 years of permanent residency, it’s possible to apply for citizenship.
With sunny beaches, zero taxes, a buoyant economy and prime positioning on the French Riviera, it’s not hard to see why so many visitors yearn to return. Welcoming and uncomplicated, Monaco remains a fun, economically strong, and frequently exciting place to live. The Monaco Grand Prix Formula One racing event happens on the Circuit de Monaco every midyear, another big draw card, not only for fans of the sport. EG
SHOPPING PREDOMINATES AS A TOURIST OCCUPATION, RIGHT ALONGSIDE GAMING IN ONE OF THE FABULOUS CASINOS THAT ARE NOW EMBLEMATIC OF THE LOCAL NIGHTLIFE.
PARIS TX, February 1, 2023 – On the morning of our interview with Rusty Lowe, he had to reschedule the call due to a meeting with overseas clients, but he would have just as happily rescheduled if a farmer in Plano had called with a question.
Rusty is humble and doesn’t like to talk about himself; he puts business first, accolades second – but this is not what makes Rusty Lowe great, while being an award winning, top land real estate producer, and one of the few elite land experts in the country chosen to be part of the American Farm + Ranch legacy.
Rusty will tell you he is not the guy who shows up at the party and announces his presence, but he is the one at the party that at some point every single person makes it a point to see. He’ll try to talk one-on-one with you, seemingly unaware of the crowd. And if there is an available piece of land in Texas, Colorado or Oklahoma that you want more information about – Rusty Lowe is the one to talk to. He’ll discuss the land for sale with you in a sage-like way instead of like a show-off, and he will have all the right answers.
Rusty Lowe doesn’t see his greatest accomplishment as being nationally recognised for his success. Instead, his focus is on consistently being able to help people with their land questions – because if you’re going to do something, do it well.
When he was just out of college, Rusty was in the crop protection business and established a good foundation in soil science. Many people – especially buyers new to large scale farm and ranch operations – do not understand that you can have a huge investment in calf and cattle and equipment, but if the soil they are standing on is weak and brittle due to lack of attention and proper treatment, the entire operation can crumble like so much shale on a mountainside.
Rusty took his knowledge to the next level when he joined the real estate office his wife started 23 years ago. His background knowledge doesn’t merely serve his client base: it also helps him understand and provide the right answer to the hardest land questions. He loves land and excels at being its steward, especially in land conservation, game management and protecting private property.
Rusty has his own F1 herd of white Brahmans he stops and checks up on each day. It keeps him in touch with the land he owns and the land he sells.
Rusty works by the principle that people buy from people, instead of from a real estate brokerage. He keeps his eyes open for his clients and enjoys the satisfaction of facilitating someone procuring the property of their dreams.
“In Farm and Ranch Brokerage, clients depend on real knowledge of product and also need real facts when selecting property for their investment. At Century 21 Harvey Properties we supply that need with hands-on experience and proven performance.” – Rusty Lowe, Century 21 Harvey Properties CENTURY 21 HARVEY PROPERTIES has been serving Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma for over three decades. We hold customer service in the highest regard. Our agriculture backgrounds and formal education allow us to provide comprehensive consultation as it relates to farming, ranching, timberland, and recreational properties and land values. At Century 21 Harvey Properties, we are stewards of the land and we live what we sell. You can visit our website at https://www.c21farm-ranch.com/ for more information. EG
For further information, please visit: www.americanfarmandranch.com www.c21farm-ranch.com
HE LOVES LAND AND EXCELS AT BEING ITS STEWARD, ESPECIALLY IN LAND CONSERVATION, GAME MANAGEMENT AND PROTECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY.Photo: T photography / Shutterstock.com
Steps from Canyon Road’s fine art galleries and five-star restaurants, this 2022 Historic Preservation Award-winner is thought to date back almost four centuries. Santa Fe averages over 325 days of sunshine annually and has four distinct seasons. Recognised as one of Santa Fe’s eight buildings of national importance, artist/writer Frank Applegate’s Spanish Pueblo expansion was documented for the Library of Congress in 1937. The complete reno/restoration with all-new infrastructure and Control 4 smart home comforts includes two grand salas for entertaining, chef’s kitchen, multiple ensuite bedrooms, guest wing, guest casita, lush gardens, serene portals, clay tennis court, and rare private well alongside city water. The museum-quality furnishings, curated specifically for the home, are available. Exclusively Offered at $14,000,000
When it comes to desirable and pricey Bordeaux wines, how valuable can a winemaker’s products be? In 1989, William Sokolin, a New York wine merchant, accidentally broke a bottle of Château Margaux 1787 that was valued at $500,000, writes Rachel Smith.
Although patrons of the wine festivities that night dipped their fingers into the remnant wine in the broken bottle, pronouncing it thoroughly corked, insurers paid out $225,000 for the loss, making it the most expensive wine never sold.
“I committed murder,” Sokolin said, after which he went home, completely depressed by the incident. Having paid the British exporter Whitwhams some $212,000 for the bottle (alleged at the time to have been owned by Thomas Jefferson), Sokolin still presumably came out ahead on the deal after the insurance payout. It was the loss and destruction of something that can never be recaptured that upset him. Indeed, the Bordeaux terroir has commanded and continues to command top dollar for its unique flavours and tones, and Château Margaux wines are right up there, still ranked as one of the world’s top ten priciest and tastiest wines.
What makes the Château Margaux brand so desirable? It’s been a fine wine superstar for centuries, recognised as a top wine since the 1855
classification, when it was acknowledged as one of the founding First Growths. Even then, it was the only estate awarded a 20/20 rating in the rankings. While the term “first growth” seems to imply something about planting or harvesting, it’s a term applied to wines in France’s Medoc and Graves regions, denoting rather “first in class”, a reference to an estate’s standing, and the quality of its products.
The Medoc and Graves region’s wines, of which Château Margaux’s are arguably the most famous, are the products of the climate and terrain, the cultivars planted, as well as the undeniable skills of the local French winemakers. More than that, the region is renowned for red wines that are well structured and with significant ageing potential. Made mainly from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, they claimed top spot amongst the world’s wines centuries ago, and they’ve never left the championship lineup since.
Notwithstanding Mr Sokolin’s apparently deteriorated 1787 wine, these wines typically keep for ages, gaining value over time. While the hale Château Margaux Bordeaux Premier Grand Cru Classé 1787 that broke Sokolin’s heart was a true classic, the 1988 vintage today fetches a strong price wherever it’s sold. Bordeaux wines appreciate in value with age, and the Château Margaux estate’s produce has consistently fetched prices far above the average, even within such a competitive region.
A very different item to perhaps fixed property, artwork, or a limited edition classic car, a Château Margaux estate wine can be a potent investment vehicle. It comes with the persistent desire to consume it while appreciating over time, making the estate’s wines a logical purchase for connoisseurs. EG
A VERY DIFFERENT ITEM TO PERHAPS FIXED PROPERTY, ARTWORK, OR A LIMITED EDITION CLASSIC CAR, A CHATEAU MARGAUX ESTATE WINE CAN BE A POTENT INVESTMENT VEHICLE.
Privately situated in the prestigious riverfront and historic community of Garrison, a graceful driveway, stately trees, and rambling stonewalls lead you to a Loire Valley Stone Chateaux. Built in the late 1920’s and never completed, ”Reveille” has been meticulously renovated by the finest craftsmen and women over the last four years to her intended charm and elegance. The stunning hilltop oasis sets on approximately 87 acres of natural beauty defined by acres of gardens, undeveloped woodlands, and meadows. The main Residence, surrounded by numerous perennial and annual flower beds, has French doors that flood the spacious and flowing interior with natural light, enhancing the approximate 6250 square feet of living space. This one-of-kind chateaux property provides a private setting for peaceful escape or year-round family compound. The carriage house has 2 levels, 5 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, Living room/dining room, artist’s studio, two car garage. Pool, billiards & gardening outbuildings. Exclusively Offered at $12,250,000
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WarsawPierce Brosnan, Photographed by Marco Grob Little Treasury Jewelers In the Village at Waugh Chapel 2506 New Market Lane Gambrills, MD 20154