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aggregate portfolio at the end of 2010,up from 28 per cent a year earlier andfar above the 19 per cent global average.Money also flowed into the region,with investments in emerging marketsproviding opportunities for HNWIs insearch of profit. In the first 11 monthsof 2010, according to the MerrillLynch/Capgemini report, investorspoured record amounts into emergingmarket stock and bond funds beforeselling to capture profits as the yearended and after the value of manyemerging market investments toppedpre-crisis highs."In Asia, there is a myriad of serviceproviders available and people choosethem in a variety of ways," says JosephField, senior residential partner, Asia atWithers wealth advisors. "We tend towork with banks, but also with familyoffices and they are as diverse a group asyou see in North America. What isinteresting is that there is a bias towardcorporate investment, which havetended to fare far better in the recessionthan others, and the concept of'liquidity events' is almost unknown."Trends of this nature highlight theneed for a valued partner that is keenlyattuned to the nuances of the cultureand the market. The danger is that largeamounts of time, effort and resourcesmay be poured into strategies that arenever going to return on investment. Conversely, without the right advice,you could entirely overlook large areasof the market that have massiveuntapped potential. Field explains:"Estate planning, for example, is acomplex subject in Asia. Chineseculture has a fear of death and estateplanning is seen as tempting the fates.However, in the past few years, taxationand the size of estates has requiredpeople to give this much more seriousconsideration. Also, many of the Asiancountries have a civil law system andothers use Sharia for regulation offamily matters. It is important to payattention to detail."Jestin at Scotiabank agrees. "You haveto research and find a niche, becausethere are so many countries and they areso different that you could go bankruptmarketing to Asia following a broad-based strategy," he says. "You have tofind out where the affiliation is."The Bahamas positionSo, is it possible that The Bahamas cantap into this undeniablylarge, but equallycomplex market? Thereare a number of basicfactors such as timedifference, geographicdistance and languagebarriers that present fundamentalchallenges to doing business. There isalso keen competition fromjurisdictions that are both moreculturally and geographically alignedwith the region, namely Singapore andHong Kong.However, in principle there is noreason why a jurisdiction such as TheBahamas cannot carve itself a niche inthe market, particularly if providers setup local offices and start buildingcontacts. "The term 'offshore' has nostigma attached to it in Asia," explainsField. "Asians use offshore jurisdictionsa lot, primarily for companies. The term'BVI' [British Virgin Islands] is almostgeneric for an offshore company. ManyAsian tax systems are territorial and thereis little in the way of death duties. TheBVI, Jersey and the Cayman Islands arefrequent visitors and their corporate andThe Bahamas Investor31"You have to research and find aniche . you could go bankruptmarketing to Asia following abroad-based strategy."WEALTH MANAGEMENT

32The Bahamas Investortrust industries are very well known."However, competing with such well-established service providers in theirspecialist areas may prove to beunrealistic and Field goes on to suggestthat The Bahamas needs to play to itsparticular strengths to win a share. "TheBahamas' strengths in the maritimearena and residential possibilities, Iwould think, would be of great interestto an Asian investor; particularly givenyour proximity to the US and Canada."Moreover, a continued desire byHNWIs in the Asia-Pacific region todiversify portfolio allocation can onlyserve to benefit The Bahamas, asinvestors travel more and look to awider array of ventures in which to puttheir money. "More A-Pac countries arespending more dollar for dollar abroadand they are also investing moreoverseas," says Jestin. "In the next threeto five years I think you will see moreinvestors from emerging economieslooking for alternatives to treasuries,bills and bonds-increasing assetdiversification with investment in realestate, indirect and direct participationin tourism projects."Promotional toursIt matters not how good your productsand services are, or the potential forinvestment that you possess, if no onehas heard of you. "The problem is thatThe Bahamas is all but unknown inAsia," says Field. "BVI, Cayman andthe Channel Islands are representedhere three or four times a year and oftenappear at conferences, such as theSociety of Trust and Estate Practitioners(STEP) in Hong Kong, Singapore andthe People's Republic of China. TheBahamas definitely needs to be far morevisible in Asia."Jestin echoes that sentiment: "It'sabout getting shelf space. You have toget your brand in front of people. AndThe Bahamas has a great brand."In an attempt to increase its visibility,The Bahamas was well-represented inAsia during the fall of last year, as theBahamas Financial Services Board(BFSB) took an executive delegation toevents in mainland China, Hong Kongand Singapore from the end of Octoberto the beginning of November.The strategic promotional tour startedin Hong Kong with breakfast and lunchpresentations, followed by attendance atthe China Offshore Summit in Shanghaiin October. The summit was designedto explain to China's top financialintermediaries how they can benefitfrom the unique asset management andcorporate product offerings available inthe world's international offshorefinancial centers. The last leg of the tourtook in the STEP Asia Conference 2011in Singapore. This type of promotional initiativehas to be the first step in a concertedand sustained marketing push if TheBahamas is going to gain any kind offoothold in the A-Pac region. Withpredicted economic activity in terms ofreal GDP growth of emerging Asianeconomies remaining between seven tonine per cent in coming years, it could"It's about getting shelf space. You have to get your brand in front of people. The Bahamas has a great brand."Figure 3: Real GDP Growth Rates, 2008-2010FEmerging AsiaaGrowth 2008-2009Growth 2009-2010FGrowth 2008-2009Growth 2009-2010FGrowth 2008-2009Growth 2009-2010F7.4%8.9%-0.9%6.6%-4.2%2.8%SouthChinaIndiaIndonesiaThailandTaiwanSingaporeKoreaHong KongAustraliaNew ZealandJapanNewly Industrialized AsiaaIndustrialized AsiaaaComposition of Emerging Asia, Newly Industrialized Asia and Industrialized Asia is as per International Monetary Fund definitionsSource: The Economic Intelligence Unit, June 2010Changefromprior year(%)9.68.69.95.16.87.86.04.55.62.53.20.78.51.48.02.30.25.92.25.62.41.32.92.92.8-2.3-1.9-2.0-2.8-0.6-0.6-5.2-1.210%5%0%-5%-10%200820092010FVisit us onlineWEALTH MANAGEMENT