Budget 2016-2017-Main Implications for Mauritius IFC

The 2016-2017 Budget of the Government of Mauritius, presented today, paves the way for the advancement of Mauritius into its next phase of development. A plethora of measures have been announced to re-invigorate the vital sectors of the Mauritian economy, including the financial services sector. 

The measures announced in the financial services sphere set the tone for the graduation of the Mauritius International Financial Centre (IFC) towards greater sophistication, higher value addition, and competitive offering.

To the local industry and the international community, the measures announced invariably give credence to the importance that the Government of Mauritius gives to the financial services sector. And as the dedicated agency mandated to develop, promote and build capacity for the Mauritius IFC, we are pleased to share with our stakeholders the main measures announced in the 2016/2017 Budget for our financial services sector.

WEALTH  MANAGEMENT
Budget Measures:

•    Companies holding an ‘Overseas Family Corporation’ licence delivered by the FSC will be provided with a 5-year tax holiday
•    Foreign Ultra High Net Worth Individuals investing a minimum of USD 25 million in Mauritius will be provided with a 5-year tax holiday
Through the introduction of the Overseas Family Corporations (OFCs) licence, international High Net Worth families will be able to manage their wealth from Mauritius by setting up their family offices in the Mauritius IFC. The new family office regime will equally allow the Mauritius IFC to tap into the growing regional and global movement of wealth and capital in search of a stable and secure wealth management centre.

HEADQUATERING AND TREASURY MANAGEMENT
Budget Measures:

•    Companies holding a ‘Global Headquarters Administration Licence’ issued by the FSC will be granted an 8-year tax holiday
•    Companies holding a ‘Treasury Management Centre License’ delivered by the FSC will be provided with a 5-year tax holiday
The Global Headquarters Administration Licence and the Treasury Management Centre Licence enhance Mauritius’ position as a regional financial and business hub. MNCs would therefore be able to set up their regional administration, procurement and accounting offices, as well as conduct treasury management activities in the Mauritius IFC.

ASSETS & FUNDS MANAGEMENT

Budget Measure:

•    ‘Asset and Fund Managers’ managing a minimum asset base of USD 100 million will be provided with a 5-year personal income tax holiday 
This measure will further incentivize mid to big size fund and asset managers to establish their management offices in Mauritius, as well as create opportunities for regional portfolios to be managed from the Mauritius IFC.       

INVESTMENT BANKING
Budget Measure:
•    Companies with an ‘Investment Banking and Corporate Advisory License’ will be provided with a 5-year tax holiday
The FSC will henceforth issue the Investment Banking and Corporate Advisory License, which will be an umbrella license encompassing the activities of an investment dealer, investment adviser, investment adviser in corporate finance, credit finance, asset management and non-custodian.

CAPITAL MARKETS
Budget Measure: 
•    GBC2 companies will now be allowed to invest in listed securities
Allowing GBC2 companies to invest in listed securities will increase liquidity on the Stock Exchange.  This is equally a move towards more substance in the jurisdiction.  

MINDEX
Mauritius International Derivatives and Commodities Exchange 

The MINDEX platform will revolutionize the trading of financial derivatives, as well as the physical trading and storage of precious metals and stones through a state-of-the-art exchange and vault, in the region.  The upcoming platform further enhances Mauritius’ position as a wealth and asset management centre.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY HUB
Budget Measure:
•    Mauritius will adhere to a number of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Administered Treaties, namely, Patent Corporation Treaty (PCT), the Hague Convention and the Madrid Protocol to facilitate the registration of Patents, Trademarks and Industrial Designs.
The signing and ratification of the treaties will transform Mauritius into an international hub for intellectual properties. The international business community would be able to file one application in Mauritius to simultaneously protect its invention, mark, and designs throughout the world.

INTERNATIONAL LAW FIRMS

Budget Measure:
•    Introduction of a Global Legal Advisory Services License, and a Limited Liability Partnership structure
Flagship international law firms will now be able to set up their regional offices and operations in Mauritius to provide legal advisory services on complex corporate and financial transactions, as well as arbitration and mediation services. Limited Liability Partnership structures, being the preferred structure for services firms like law firms, will also be introduced in Mauritius. The law firms will also be provided with a 5-year tax holiday.

AFRICA STRATEGY

Mauritius will also become the Renminbi clearing centre for the African region to capture trade, investment and financial flows between Africa and China. Mauritius will equally position itself as the centre for clearing of African currencies and securities.


ENHANCING BUSINESS FACILITATION
The introduction of a standardized centralized KYC database for the non-banking financial services sector will ensure an expeditious execution of business transactions in the Mauritius IFC. In the same vein, an Online Licensing system will be introduced by the FSC to reduce lead time in the application process for licenses.