CIU Head Expects Stronger Ranking in Next CBI Index
St. Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme was recently ranked second best in the world, behind only Dominica, and while Les Khan, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU), is proud of this achievement, he strongly believes the federation’s programme will rank even higher when the next CBI Index is released.
The CBI Index, released by Professional Wealth Management (PWM) in July 2017, looked at 12 countries that offer CBI programmes and critically evaluated their performance and appeal across seven indicators relevant to an applicant’s decision-making process, namely: freedom of movement, standard of living, minimum investment outlay, mandatory travel or residence, ease of processing, citizenship timeline and due diligence.
St. Kitts and Nevis’ programme returned scores of perfect 10s in the areas of due diligence, mandatory travel or residence, citizenship timeline and ease of processing.
Khan spoke to the press unit of the Office of the Prime Minister, saying his unit and the government of St. Kitts and Nevis by extension, will work to improve on the areas where the federation’s programme did not return top scores.
“One of the pillars that we did not rank too highly on, we got an 8 out of 10, was the minimum investment outlay,” he said. “The minimum investment outlay really was something that this government consciously made a decision earlier in the year and late last year not to touch. We determined that as a platinum brand at our various threshold of investment, it was the right threshold and if clients are interested in a platinum brand, then they have to pay for platinum brand. We also determined that we were not going to be in a race to the bottom, so from minimum outlay, I don’t think we’ll see too much change in that point level of where we are, so we will have to accept that.”
Khan said he was also surprised St. Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme did not receive a higher score in the area of freedom of movement.
“It’s interesting that St. Kitts and Nevis [w]ould rank 7 out of 10 there when we do have one of the highest number of visa-free countries and visa upon entry of port,” he said. “With a combination of those two, we’re at about 150-155 countries that we can travel freely to. So again, I believe that we are one of the highest and it could be a point in time, but I know that this government and Minister Brantley have been working very aggressively in obtaining diplomatic relations with countries and ensuring that we increase the number of countries we can travel freely to.”
In relation to standard of living, in which St. Kitts and Nevis received a score of 6 out of 10, the CIU official said “it would be interesting to see how that scoring was determined.” He added that while there is still work to do in this regard, “part of that work is engaging with the publisher of this index to determine what the criteria would be.”
Khan said taking all this into consideration, “I would hope that in the next publication of this index, St. Kitts and Nevis would be ranked higher just based on the fact that we will continue to ensure our efficiency, continue to ensure our turnaround time, continue to ensure that the client experience is a good one, that our due diligence is always solid and there are things that we are working on to improve on our due diligence.”