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Curaçao: balancing transparency and privacy for private wealth and HNWIs in a changing regulatory landscape

26 November 2021

Valery Gomez-Trapenberg

Managing Director Curaçao

Valery Gomez-Trapenberg

Managing Director Curaçao

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Curaçao offers a stable and well-respected jurisdiction for private wealth clients seeking discretion as well as regulatory compliance

For many wealthy families and high net worth (HNW) individuals in Latin America, privacy is supremely important.

Personal security is high on the private wealth client agenda. People fear the possible repercussions of their wealth being recorded on a public database, which could expose them to the threat of kidnap or hostage-taking.

However, there is also greater global demand for financial institutions to provide more detailed information about the activities and shareholders of registered companies. The world of finance is ever-more tightly regulated. Countries that want to avoid blacklisting strive to meet guidelines set out by the OECD in terms of compliance in this respect.

This is why Curaçao has worked hard to build a solid and trustworthy jurisdiction that is compliant but offers some privacy for wealthy individuals.

Are transparency and privacy mutually exclusive for Latin American private wealth clients?

This was the subject of a panel discussion I joined at the recent Private Wealth Latin America & The Caribbean Forum in Miami.

Transparency is very important in Curaçao. We want to avoid structures that promote tax evasion and we want to adhere to the OECD guidelines. We believe that not being a blacklisted jurisdiction is essential for us to provide a full and comprehensive service to the Family Offices and individuals whose entities are based here.

Curaçao has worked within the OECD framework to ensure its financial companies adhere to the guidelines

The OECD framework, known as the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, aims to encourage countries to sign up to the OECD Standard on the automatic exchange of financial account information. The guidelines aim to curb multinational tax avoidance and offshore tax evasion.

At Intertrust Group we know privacy is extremely important for our clients. Curaçao offers the best of both worlds. We are a compliant jurisdiction recognised around the globe as transparent and compliant. Other major countries and jurisdictions are happy to do business with us. Yet we do not have a public register of companies or financial structures. No information is held in the Chamber of Commerce other than the company name and its directors’ names. There is no publicly accessible record of shareholders or interested parties. This helps safeguard our clients’ privacy.

While we do need to collect detailed information as part of our due diligence with new and existing clients, at Intertrust Group Curaçao we keep this private and secure in-house. It is not accessible to third parties.

Should transparency come first in a 21st century jurisdiction?

Regulatory changes are moving so quickly around the globe, with regulators’ requirements increasing all the time. This creates a very uncertain compliance environment. However, it is clear that all banks and financial institutions are most likely to be obliged to collect and hold detailed information about their clients.

We have seen many leaks concerning the location and status of companies owned by private individuals. When they are revealed, public opinion tends to harden against these companies, which in turn leads to greater regulation.

Choosing a jurisdiction offering a balance between transparency and privacy can be a way to future-proof private wealth interests against any future regulatory changes.

We believe every country will eventually be forced to adhere to the same directive on transparency if they are to be taken seriously as a globally recognised jurisdiction.

Curaçao effectively strikes a balance, enabling transparency in the fight against socially undesirable tax constructions, while protecting appropriate levels of privacy for private wealth clients.

How Intertrust Group can help in Curaçao

We can help clients navigate the rules and regulations of transparency and privacy. Working with Intertrust Group in Curaçao allows you to operate in a jurisdiction that is both compliant and transparent.

As your gateway to Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas, we provide corporate entity formation and management alongside private wealth services.

We provide foundations, Family Offices and high net worth individuals with bespoke private wealth solutions, including succession and estate planning, compliance and liquidation.

Curaçao has strong historic links to the Netherlands and a long history of providing administration, management services and fiduciary services for any type of entity. We can help you navigate our well-established international legal and tax system and take advantage of our position as a prime jurisdiction for fiduciary services for any type of entity.

Why Intertrust Group?

  • We are a publicly listed company with more than 65 years’ experience in providing world-class trust and corporate services to clients around the world.
  • Our 4,000 professionals work together across 30 jurisdictions to offer global reach, deep local knowledge and an extensive international network so clients can achieve their strategic goals.
  • We provide a wide range of financial and administrative services to clients operating and investing in the international business environment.
  • We help companies to expand globally, offering support with restructuring, outsourcing and further developments.