The Seychelles offer a stable legal environment to investors
who wish to conduct efficient and confidential offshore
businesses. Its legal system is based on a mixture of English
Common law and French Civil law.
This archipelago currently hosts one of the fastest growing
International Business Company (IBC) registrars in the world.
Thanks to its unique features, the IBC has proved to be a
dynamic vehicle capable of fitting the various business needs
and operations internationally.
2. Advantages of the Seychelles
The advantages offered by the offshore financial services
sector of the Seychelles are numerous. Some of them are listed
Modern and business-friendly legislation;
No exchange controls;
Fast incorporation procedures;
Large flexibility in the administration of
Competitive government licence fees;
Growing network of double taxation agreements;
Low tax or tax-exempt companies;
Shelf companies available;
Confidentiality guaranteed - details of beneficial
ownership are not disclosed to the Seychelles International
Business Authority (SIBA); and
3.The International Business Company (IBC)
The International Business Company usually takes the form of
a private company limited by shares, but can also be a limited
life company. It is a vehicle which is often used for
international trading, investment holding, owning real estate,
investment in stocks, shares, bonds, etc., shipping, joint
ventures, international contracts, e-commerce and holding
intellectual property rights, among others.
An IBC may not transact business with residents of the
Seychelles, cannot hold ownership interest in real property in
the Seychelles, except for leasing for office use, and cannot
undertake such activities as banking, insurance, re-insurance,
trustee, engaging in the business of company management or
providing registered agent facilities for
The main advantage of the IBC is that its statutory
requirements are minimal, as can be shown below:
Quick incorporation – normally two days;
Only one director and one shareholder required;
Shareholders, directors and officers need not be resident
in the Seychelles;
There is no minimum capital requirement;
Shares may be registered and issued in any currency;
Accounts need not be kept;
No returns are needed of shareholders, directors or
Shareholders and directors meetings need not be held in
the Seychelles and can be held by telephone; and
The Memorandum and Articles of Association are the only
documents that are held on the records of the SIBA.
In all, the IBC is a tax exempt structure which is very easy
to set up, administer and dispose of when no longer needed. Its
government fees are fixed for the lifetime of the company and
its costs of setting up and maintenance are comparatively
In addition, it is possible to have the M&A, resolutions
and other company administration documents in French language
in order to cater for the needs of French-speaking clients.
Suites 340-345 Barkly
Le Caudan Waterfront
P.O. Box 1070, Port Louis
Republic of Mauritius
8, Place du Bourg de
P.O. Box 3627
CH-1211 Geneva 3
Mauritius is now well known as an international financial services center for setting up and administering investment funds. Indeed as at 31 March 2007, more than US$36 billion were invested by Mauritius funds into equities globally, and principally in emerging markets.
Protected Cell Companies (PCCs) were introduced in Mauritius by the Protected Cell Companies Act No. 137 of 1999. Initially thought to be a suitable structure for the business of insurance, it was also worked out to become a versatile vehicle for collective investment funds and for asset holding in Mauritius.
South African residents can now invest up to R2 million abroad, and a question that is often asked is: What are the tax and exchange control consequences where the foreign investment allowance is placed in an offshore trust?
The Mutual Funds and Hedge Fund Act, 1998 was brought into law in the Seychelles with a view to creating an investment fund regime that is designed to be both relatively "light touch" in its regulation at the same time as protecting the interests of investors depending on their level of market experience.
The Mauritian offshore industry was first launched in 1992 when it introduced the Mauritian Offshore Business Activities Act which governed the offshore financial services sector. There was also the appointment of its then regulator, the "Mauritius Offshore Business Activities Authority".
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