There's a red carpet rolled out 500 miles - the approximate length of the island chain - for today's high net worth individuals hoping to make The Bahamas their top choice for relocation. Chester Robards explains why The Bahamas is the clear choice as a residency option.
From Walker's Cay in the North, to Inagua in the South, The Bahamas has been a veritable playground for the wealthy. And they have strut, sailed and flown the length and breadth of the islands to find their own little piece of paradise. The Bahamas has evolved over the years into a growing Mecca for those with new and old wealth.
The development and growth of the international financial banking industry brought with it the promise of fresh investment, wealth management and estate planning options, among others things; however, it also meant high-net-worth individuals would begin to emigrate to the country of 700 islands and cays to engage in management and support in the operation of these companies. And as the country came into its own after independence, its laws and policies made it a favourable country for foreigners to invest and live.
The Bahamas is the only country in the Americas, outside of the United States and Canada that offers such a wide range of benefits to residency"
Wealthy individuals and those with families consider relocating to tropical areas like The Bahamas for multiple reasons: quality of life, tax neutrality, attractive business environment, retirement, opportunities for business expansion, and the list goes on.
There are many jurisdictions promoting themselves to high net worth individuals, and enticing businesses to move their operations and headquarters. Countries like the United Kingdom, Monaco, Dubai, and Switzerland all have a longstanding reputation of being attractive locales for business people and wealthy families. But each brings with it unique challenges including the inability to actually purchase property at competitive prices and a lack of tax neutrality.
The Bahamas offers the perfect combination of permanent residency (which should be distinguished from tax residency); first-world infrastructure; a well-regulated and reputable full-service international financial centre; and proximity to the United States and accessibility to parts of Europe through direct flights, that make this warm water destination one that cannot be rivalled.
The Bahamas does not have an investment for citizenship program. However with the purchase of a residence from $750,000+, the acquisition of permanent residency is expedited. And there are many companies available to move the investor easily and seamlessly through this process.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) does want to ensure that those who seek permanent residency in The Bahamas have done so in accordance with the legal structure and process for residency in the country. And The Bahamas Government has been working diligently to ensure this is not a concern for permanent residents. Policy makers are currently developing a protocol that will clearly draw a distinction between permanent residency and tax residency - as these are clearly two separate constructs.
The Bahamas has a number of international financial institutions adept at managing the processes of attaining residency which is coupled with government's favourable, red carpet treatment of international investors, The Bahamas is a choice destination for high-net-worth individuals to manage their wealth, and carry out asset and succession planning all while living and playing in paradise.
The jurisdiction has no income, capital gains, or inheritance tax; an added incentive for the move to residency in The Bahamas. Families wanting to domicile their wealth in The Bahamas to take advantage of the country's suite of services, bolstered by Bahamian law and policy, and offered by international banks and trust companies, have the benefit of first-class financial institutions.
The Bahamas is the only country in the Americas, outside of the United States and Canada that offers such a wide range of benefits to residency. Profits and gains arising in the Bahamas are not taxed here. However, where tax liabilities exist in other jurisdictions, these are not reduced.
Government, through its Commercial Enterprises Bill, has made it easy and convenient for businesses to domicile their headquarters or a sub-office in The Bahamas. Those headquarters benefit from the trimmings of a modern city in a locale that is authentically outfitted with island charm.
Grand Bahama is being postured as a mini Silicon Valley of the Caribbean. Abaco is still the boating Capital of The Bahamas. Cat Island has retained its old-world charm. Andros is still an unexplored giant. Harbour Island remains a playground for the rich and famous. And they are all at your disposal.
Wealthy individuals who, by beauty of relocating for work, retirement, or simply a change of lifestyle, have ever-growing options to choose from in terms of real estate. From Palm Cay (pictured above), Port New Providence, and Treasure Cove in eastern New Providence to Old Fort Bay, Lyford Cay and Albany in the West, areas for upper middle-class to high-net-worth individuals are continuing to grow and be developed.
Those developments at the extreme ends of New Providence offer gated access, beach and canal access, at a range of prices for homes and vacant land. Of those, Albany, with residents like Joe Lewis, Tiger Woods, Justin Timberlake, just to name just a few, and Lyford Cay, home of Sir Sean Connery, are the most exclusive communities, with private golf courses, restaurants and mega yacht parking.
In between those most easterly and westerly of developments, have sprung places like One Cable Beach, Balmoral, Caves Point, Thirty Six on Paradise Island and the residences mixed into the Baha Mar property. Ocean Club is another high-end development, located on Paradise Island, where Oprah built her Bahamas home.
Still under development are projects like Goldwynn at Cable Beach, and the development that recently broke ground on Paradise Island, Sterling Hurricane hole.
Families are sure to find some of the best educational facilities in the region. Windsor High School, the Meridian School, and Lyford Cay School are premier educational facilities for the children in western New Providence, while St. Andrews is strategically located near Palm Cay, Treasure Cove, and Port New Providence.
Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D'Aguilar said recently that the Caribbean is being developed into one of the most desirable places to visit, work, live and do business.
JUST SKIP PLAN ‘A'
The Bahamas, while clearly an excellent choice for business and wealth, is also replete with options on options for recreation, including sport fishing, boating, golfing, and beaching on some of the most pristine shores in the world.
World-class restaurants are resident in some of the most prestigious hotels in the Caribbean.
When in The Bahamas, there is access to numerous islands dotted with, unspoiled turquoise beaches. And with an average of almost eight hours of sunshine per day, the climate is always comfortable. And, of course, The Bahamian people have been heralded as some of the friendliest and welcoming people in the world.
There are many reasons to make The Islands of The Bahamas home. No matter what reason is cited for the move, one thing remains true, in a world where plan a ‘B' is needed, The Bahamas is the right move to make.