International Financial Services
Over the last decade, Seychelles has seen significant success in establishing itself as a well-known and respected international financial services jurisdiction. This journey started with the establishment of the International Business Companies Act in 1994, the International Trusts Act in 1994 and the International Trade Zone Act in 1995. Since then the Seychelles has swiftly been acknowledged by the global financial community as one of the most competitive and recognized jurisdictions for International business company incorporations.
Today, the financial services sector is said to be the most rapidly evolving sector of Seychelles’ economy with a growing assortment of financial products and services, substantial advancements in the competence and capabilities of the country’s human resource and a common understanding that success, growth and productivity can all be achieved whilst complying with an efficient and up-to-date legal and regulatory framework. One of the key factors leading to the country’s ascent onto the global financial services scene has been its success in implementing a legal framework that is sound, reliable and attractive to investors.
The Financial services sector is often referred to as the third pillar of the Seychelles’ economy and offers a range of services and products that make it such an exciting destination for Investment.
International Business Companies (IBC)
IBCs are limited companies that carry out business activities outside of Seychelles. They are incorporated by the Registrar of International Business Companies which is the Financial Services Authority (FSA). These companies are created for conducting international business outside of Seychelles and are exempt from all forms of taxation. IBCs are ideal for a wide variety of uses such as holding companies, asset protection, patents and copyright holding companies.
Trusts set up under the International Trust Act 1994, provide an efficient, sensible and legitimate means of protecting your assets depending on your requirements. There are various purposes for trusts and these include property-holding trusts, charitable trusts or purpose trusts which are not used for the benefit of individuals, but for some specific purpose.
The Seychelles Foundation Act 2009 encompasses many of the best provisions found in other foundation jurisdictions yet provides more precision on essential legal issues in addition to more flexibility and better asset protection. The Seychelles Foundation is a separate entity, in that once the founder transfers assets to a foundation, those assets become the property of the foundation giving it full legal and beneficial title and no longer form part of the founder’s personal estate. Moreover, whilst its scope is limited to activities for which a Business License or professional qualification is not required, a foundation may still be the owner of securities, real estate and bank accounts and may enter into contracts of any kind that do not imply the practice of a commercial business.
Companies Special License (CSL)
The Seychelles CSL is a local tax resident company specially licensed under the Companies (Special Licences) Act, 2003 by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and is subject to a tax rate of 1.5% of its worldwide (gross) income. It is incorporated as a domestic company under the Companies Act 1972 but awarded a special license by FSA which grants the company a special status as it benefits from access to the Seychelles’ growing network of Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) and can also operate part of its business within Seychelles.
Protected Cell Companies (PCC)
Under the Protected Cell Companies Act, 2003 a company incorporated under the Companies Act 1972 can be authorized to divide into identifiable cells without having to assume a separate legal entity. Cells within a PCC are protected against liabilities incurred by cells of the same company making it an attractive solution for many business activities such as captive insurance or mutual funds businesses.
Limited Partnerships are registered under the Limited Partnership Act 2003 and are subject to the Seychelles Commercial Code. Under the Act limited partnerships must carry out its business activities outside the Seychelles and enjoys benefits such as exemptions from:
- Stamp duty,
- Exchange Controls,
- Trades tax (custom duties) on capital goods for use in its office,
- Social security contributions,
- Work permit fees in respect of foreign employees
Mutual and Hedge Funds
Under the Mutual Fund and Hedge Fund Act 2008, Seychelles’ licensed funds may be administered in Seychelles or in a recognized jurisdiction and can be incorporated as a company, partnership or unit trust. Various types of mutual funds are available such as private funds, professional funds, and public funds. The Act also caters for exempt foreign funds which are funds licensed outside of Seychelles that may obtain authorization to be administered by a Seychelles licensed Fund Administrator. Funds offer increased diversification of investments, that is managed and administered by professionals, as well as the ability to participate in investments that is available to various classes of investors.
Securities industry related licences
The Securities Act 2007 provides for various licences which allow business activity to be undertaken in the securities industry namely:
Securities Exchange licence – which is available to companies incorporated under the Companies Act 1972 that meets the licensing and regulatory requirements to conduct the activity of operating a market, exchange, place or facility which brings together on a regular basis purchasers and sellers of securities. The Act also caters for related licences such as Clearing Agency or Securities Facility (depository, registry and other related business)
Other participants in a securities market such as securities dealers and investment advisors and their representatives may seek for the respective licence under the Securities Act, 2007.
Initiated by the recent activities in the Seychelles securities industry the Seychelles has its first Securities Exchange and which is operated by Trop-X (Seychelles) Limited. The Company was licensed as a securities exchange in 2012 and will start its operations by launching three initial equities boards that allow for the listing and trading of shares of both domestic and foreign companies. These three boards have been named as follows: The Venture Capital (VCAP) Board is aimed at start-up companies, the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Board is aimed at companies with at least a year’s operating track record wishing to expand their operations and the Main Board is aimed at established companies looking to either raise additional funds or increase value to their shareholders.
For more information on this exciting prospect, please contact Trop-X Limited (www.trop-x.com )at the following address:
Trop-X (Seychelles) Limited
Tel: +248 434 68 00
F28/29 1st Floor, Eden Plaza, Eden Island, Republic of Seychelles
All insurance activities in Seychelles are licensed and regulated under the framework provided by the Insurance Act 2008. Seychelles encourages new entrant in the Insurance market and investors are welcome to set up Insurance and Reinsurance offices.