Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Offshore Business Sectors
Investment and Fund Management
Mutual funds are regulated by the Mutual Funds Act, 1997 as amended by the Mutual Funds (Amendment) Act 1998, with Regulations issued in 1999. The Act provides for the licensing of both domestic and offshore mutual funds. There are essentially two categories of fund licenses, namely a private and accredited fund license and a public fund license.
The legal structures that can form the basis of a Saint Vincent mutual fund include an incorporated company, a partnership or a unit trust. Open ended, closed ended and integral funds are allowed, as are umbrella type funds.
A Public Fund means a mutual fund, which offers any shares it issues for subscription or purchase to any interested member of the general public. A Public Fund must publish a prospectus and file it with the Offshore Finance Authority. There are no capital adequacy requirements or minimum subscription limits placed on public funds. However they must maintain accounting records and financial statements. Public funds that intend to do business with residents must also submit an offering document synopsis to the International Financial Services Authority.
A Private and Accredited fund is a mutual fund that either has no more than fifty investors or issues shares on a private basis. An accredited fund issues shares only to accredited investors, with an initial investment of not less than USD25,000, at the time of writing. An accredited investor is one who has a net worth in excess of USD1 million.
All applications to carry on business as a Public Fund or Private Fund must be submitted to the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines International Financial Services Authority for the attention of the Registrar of Mutual Funds.
Insofar as administrators and managers are concerned, they are required to apply to the Authority for a license to carry on business as administrators or managers. The Act provides that a natural person, any mutual fund, company, trusts or trustee may apply for a license to carry on business as administrators or managers. Applicants must show evidence that they have or have available to them expertise and resources necessary to carry out the business proposed. The applicant must meet standard fit and proper requirements.
The competence and character of managers and administrators is seen as paramount to the efficient operation of the Mutual Fund and the integrity of the jurisdiction. Accordingly, the Authority requires that only fit and proper persons may be issued licenses to carry on business as managers and administrators.
As at June 30, 2011, there are 110 Mutual Funds registered in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
There is a licence fee of USD600 for a mutual fund, and an annual fee also of USD600, at the time of writing.