In this interview with Pulse, the CEO of
Can you explain what RIF Trust is all about, what is its vision and how was it created?
RIF Trust is a Dubai-based company servicing high net worth individuals and their families with their international residence and citizenship needs. Dealing only with duly authorized government programmes, RIF Trust’s vision is to be a world leader in the Residence and Citizenship-by-Investment industry. My partner David Regueiro and I founded the company in 2013 with a goal to be a major contributor to this growing industry. We have recently merged with Latitude Consultancy, a leading British firm in the Investment Migration industry who offer exceptional insight and expertise to private clients and governments worldwide. Beyond its growing private client practice, Latitude also provides government advisory services helping countries attract the world’s elite and their capital to their shores. With RIF trust’s rapidly growing private client business and this recent merger, we are seeing the fruition of our vision.
At what point is RIF Trust right now?
RIF Trust is at a great point in his history – we are pioneers in the Middle East and have since become market leaders in the Residence and Citizenship-by-Investment industry, and our merger with Latitude Consultancy only helps solidify this position. We are now able to work at a more strategic level with governments whilst ensuring that we can also provide ancillary corporate services as part and parcel of the residence and citizenship programmes that we offer.
What are your clients looking for when they get in touch with RIF Trust for first time?
Our clients are looking for safety, security and ease of travel. Hundreds of clients every year entrust RIF Trust to assist them in the process of obtaining alternative residence or citizenship. For example, the citizenship programmes currently available in the marketplace offer visa-free travel to between 120 and 180 countries, while a Nigerian passport only affords visa-free travel to 47 countries. In addition, a second passport ensures safety and security for the whole family. It’s like having a good insurance policy protecting the entire family.
Is Africa in general and Nigeria in particular a potential market for RIF Trust?
Yes, as there are more and more Africans intending to obtain a second passport to obtain better access to the rest of the world, and more and more of them now have the necessary funds to acquire one thanks to the expanding wealth being created on the continent. We have seen a surge in interest over the last two years, and from Nigeria in particular.
What are the benefits for a Nigerian on having a second passport?
There are many benefits including ease of travel, better international business and educational opportunities as well as an enhanced quality of life for the family in general. For example, some programmes give the right of settlement in any EU country, which provides great potential for accessing higher education, expand business opportunities or simply to access visa-free travel to over 175 countries worldwide.
And what are the benefits as an alternative investment class?
As an alternative investment class, these programmes not only allow individuals and families with the ability to obtain a second passport but also diversify their investment portfolio, as many are tied to the purchase of real estate for example. Whilst the ease of travel is often the main benefit one thinks of immediately, there are many more advantages including flexibility in banking, the potential for a lower tax burden, wealth management possibilities, increased educational opportunities and many other related and connected benefits. Today, we see some countries accepting crypto and other currencies which demonstrate an expanding industry.
The field of citizenship by investment is a relatively new industry. What has made it appear? Why it is necessary?
We live in a more inter-connected and mobile world than at any time in our history. The world economy is in a constant state of flux, with increasing natural challenges as well as human-made calamities, wars, political and societal strife. Concurrently, on the positive side of things, we are at a stage of ever-increasing wealth. Compared to even just a few decades ago, global wealth is no longer concentrated amongst a select segment of society – it has expanded to a much broader segment of the world population. For the countries offering these programmes, it is a means of generating much needed revenue and attracting talented people rather than to rely on foreign aid and loans, as we have seen in the past.
Dual citizenship and/or residence provides many benefits, opportunities and privileges including ease of travel, safety and security as well as expansion of business and educational opportunities, so this is why it has become a necessary addition to one’s personal portfolio. For those with the financial means, it is simply smart business to provide for their family’s needs by obtaining alternative residence and citizenship. It truly is an investment in our clients and their family’s future.
What are RIF Trust’s future plans in the medium term?
Our recent merger with Latitude Consultancy demonstrates that we are growing from strength to strength. Latitude Consultancy’s senior management has over 75 years of combined industry experience, including in the government advisory space. We are excited to bring that aspect of the industry to our business but also to further develop partnerships with real estate developers, private bankers, law firms etc. With the support of its international partners and institutional relationships, RIF Trust and Latitude aims to provide genuinely innovative products, competitively priced services, and a customer-driven and hands-on delivery that our private clients have grown to expect.
How does RIF Trust differentiate itself from the competition?
Investing in a second nationality is not a quick and easy decision. It is a big consideration that takes many families a long of time to ponder and decide. That is why flexibility and patience are essential skills that we train all our sales team to exhibit, to ensure a positive and gratifying experience for our clients. We strive to deliver the best client experience by providing on time service, transparency and reasonable rates. Overall, however, I believe reputation wise, we are trusted by both governments and clients to deliver on what we promise. We are also the only company belonging to both IMC (Investment Migration Council) and GIIC (Global Investor Immigration Council) - two organizations created to oversee and regulate the industry.
Is there intrusion in the field of citizenship for investment? Why should you choose the company carefully with which you manage a second citizenship?
'Intrusion has a negative connotation. Certainly there is more competition and participants in the CIP industry from other professions, such as real estate practitioners and law firms. However, we welcome this as more and more programmes are launched, this signals the industry is growing and thriving.
It is important for clients to consider many factors when choosing a company to manage their residence or citizenship application, including the experience of their staff, the company’s reputation in the marketplace and, of course, whether they are offering fair pricing. One should not fall prey to advertising gimmicks such as a ‘100% guarantee’ or ‘no application fees’. As the saying goes, if it is too good to be true, it probably is.
RIF Trust is a member of the Investment Migration Council and we are working hard to set the industry standards and advocating best practices that will ultimately result in greater protection for our clients.
What are the pitfalls?
RIF Trust only offers programmes that are supported by governments. We deal directly with our government partners and not through intermediaries, which allows us to provide the most competitive pricing and overall best conditions to our clients. Pitfalls to watch out for include false advertising and unrealistic promises. Just as governments and RIF Trust perform due diligence, clients should do the same when choosing a company to assist them with the application process. Unfortunately, there are many new companies entering the market and many of them do not have the proper credentials or tested experience, so it is vital that clients look for who is really behind the company as they will quickly discover a lack of accountability by some service providers.
Tell us about the award that you received from the Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis. How has it impacted the company?
The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Honourable Mr. Timothy Harris, presented RIF Trust with an award for submitting the most applications under the Hurricane Relief Fund. This was a great achievement for our firm and helped to solidify our position as an industry leader. Externally, this recognition demonstrated the hard work and effort provided by the entire RIF Trust team - day in and day out. Internally, the award is a big motivator as it makes all of our employees proud to be part of such a successful firm. It has also resulted in many additional clients who recognize and trust our firm based on winning such a prestige award.
Is there anything that you would like to add that would be of interest to our readers?
Residence and Citizenship-by-Investment programmes offer exciting opportunities for foreign nationals to gain a second residence or citizenship to the country they invest in. For example, we are seeing an increase in demand from our international clients for European citizenship via the Malta and Cyprus programmes due to the multitude of benefits these programmes offer, including the right of establishment in any EU country, visa-free travel to over 175 countries and the safety and security that comes from holding an EU passport.
The Caribbean Citizenship-by-Investment programmes are some of the oldest and most trusted offerings. Foreign investors have the option to apply for either permanent residency status or citizenship in a number of beautiful and financially secure countries including Grenada, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis and St. Lucia.
About David Regueiro
David Regueiro is the COO / Managing partner at RIF TRUST, with a 9+ years international experience in business development in government, technology and investments industry. Cross-functional management, mentoring and coaching expertise. Innovator, result driven, multicultural and multilingual. Proven track record of successful marketing and sales performance in the Middle-East, South America, Europe and Asia.
About Mimoun Assraoui
Mimoun Assraoui has 18 years of international banking experience. CEO of RIF TRUST that caters to private clients, family offices and larger Institutions. It's sought after expertise covers Second Citizenship & Legal Residency programs, wealth protection and company formations in tax optimized jurisdictions, as well as specific fund raising and structuring mandates.
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