A Trust Company, NTL Trust has been established in The Gambia to serve as a bridge between foreign investors and local financial institutions. The new company will also guide investors through the necessary formalities so all they need to do is sign documents and send funds.
Speaking to The Standard, Ted McEwan, Director of the newly opened NTL Trust office in The Gambia said part of this process will involve the formation of companies or trusts under Gambian law will additionally result in billable work for local professionals, lawyers, accountants etc.
He said NTL Trust develops secure, compliant cross-border wealth management solutions and their clients are financial professionals, global entrepreneurs, high net worth investors and their family offices as well as individuals who value a fresh and independent approach by partners who speak their language, based on traditional values such as trust, personal service, discretion and prudence.
“We co-ordinate not just corporate, trust and private banking matters, but we also advise on and implement essential residence and citizenship strategies that are too often taken for granted. We help clients not just with legal tax mitigation and asset protection, but more importantly to manage broader geo-political and macro-economic risk and opportunity, all based on global diversification. NTL Trust was founded in the Caribbean in 1994. We have many years of experience in processing applications for Investment Immigration. Today our group companies are licensed agents for Citizenship by Investment in the Vanuatu plus five Caribbean countries,” he said.
Mr McEwan disclosed that while border closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic were supposed to be temporary, more than 18 months after the pandemic began many foreign countries have still not restarted consular operations. Borders of the UK, European Union and beyond remain heavily restricted.
‘This has been catastrophic for Gambia’s incoming tourist industry. The effect on outbound travel has been less obvious but equally serious. In today’s globalized world, with information overload on the internet, there is simply no substitute for personal meetings. There are fewer people travelling out, but they are doing bigger deals. Our best and brightest businessmen need to travel, negotiate, export, and manage their overseas business relationships. Without this essential commercial interaction, that is often taken for granted, the country will continue to suffer further economic hardship,” he said .
According to the NTL Gambia office head the solution that many West African business people are looking at may appear a radial first- Investing in countries that offer citizenship by investment so that they can travel to the Uk, Europe and beyond without any requirement .
“We don’t call it ‘buying’ a passport. That term is potentially misleading. In fact, we are talking about a much more sophisticated symbiotic relationship designed to support local business people in developing their international business, increasing exports and bringing much-needed foreign investment to our country. Citizenship by investment is not just a short term transaction – it’s a lifelong relationship, with the benefits of a second passport even passing down to the next generation. Of course, there are financial benefits to the other nation involved too. And needless to say, it’s fully legal, transparent and documented,” McEwan said.
He said citizenship by investment has already taken off in in recent years in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa and NTL Trust’s new office in Banjul seeks to expand access to these programmes to business people not just here but in Senegal, Ghana and other major business hubs in the region.
“We chose Gambia because it’s a safe and secure place to do business. Clients like to fly in here for a few days – spend a few days at a luxury beach resort with their loved ones – and during that time with our concierge service they can complete all the necessary paperwork to apply for citizenship by investment in the Caribbean before returning home,” explains Mr McEwan, himself a native of Banjul.
He went on :“Of course, we also choose Gambia as a hub also because I am Gambian myself. I have lived much of my life overseas and understand the value of international business connections, and maintaining them. The founder of NTL Trust had previously tried to promote in Nigeria but found it overwhelming. When he came to Gambia, we saw over the course of the week how he felt at home. I feel sure that this initiative will also bring more foreign investors to the Gambia in the longer term. By way of example, NTL Trust also represents high net worth investors from other countries that are looking for opportunities in markets such as ours. There is already a well-advanced project from NTL Trust’s owners to set up a new Investment Bank here in the Gambia, something we are working on with GIEPA.”
The NTL Gambia boss said citizenship by investment basically involves creating a long term link with a foreign country by purchasing real estate. “The real estate will typically be located on one of five Caribbean nations that have been quietly offering this incentive since the 1980s: St Kitts-Nevis, Antigua Grenada, St Lucia and Dominica. The real estate, such as an apartment, hotel room or property fraction, is available to the citizen and his family for vacation, should produce a rental return, and can be resold after a designated holding period – typically 4-7 years. In return for this investment, starting at around US$250,000, the businessman, his family and their future offspring will receive citizenship and passports of the chosen Caribbean nation.
“Why would anyone need a second passport? “If you have to ask that question, you probably don’t need one,” jokes McEwan. “But seriously… the sad fact is, our passports are not good for travel. You have to get visas to go anywhere. This is a form of discrimination. But it’s a problem that doesn’t apply, for example, to Caribbean passports that have easy visa-free access to the UK, Europe and beyond.”
For more details visit www.ntltrust.com