International Collective Investment Schemes
International Collective Investment Schemes (ICIS) is an investment tool for the clients of fund managers. It consists of a relatively safe investment opportunity since it has a specific objective, projected target return and risk profile, which must be set out in the Offering Memorandum.
The investments of the Fund are made by specialized management (directors or the managers) and can consist of securities, bonds, foreign exchange dealings and other financial instruments. It accumulates funds of high net worth in a collective scheme, which is flexible, with minimum regulatory supervision and it can be used as investment vehicle for property investments.
- The sole objective of an ICIS is the collective investment of unit-holder funds redeemable at the option of unit-holders out of the assets of the ICIS.
- A unit-holder is the owner of units in an ICIS and may be companies or individuals, Cyprus or overseas residents. A unit is a share, a participation or an interest in an ICIS.
- An ICIS may take the legal form of:
International Fixed Capital Company, where if marketed to the public or to experienced investors must have a minimum of US$ 100,000 capital. No minimum capital is prescribed if it is a Private Fund.
International Variable Capital Company, where its share capital may vary depending on the contributions of the participating investors. The share capital may be divided into shares without par value and must be equal to the net asset value of the shares of the company at any time in issue. This is the most commonly used ICIS form in Cyprus.
The regulatory and supervisory authority for ICIS is the Central Bank of Cyprus
A private Fund is an ICIS which:
- Limit the right to transfer the units
- Limit the number of unit-holders to the maximum of 100
- Prohibit invitation to the public to purchase units
- Prohibit bearer shares
- Is exempt from the obligation to have the minimum subscription.
Approval and Licensing Requirements
- The prior approval of the Central Bank of Cyprus is required in order to establish a Private Fund. Such approval is readily granted once the Bank is satisfied with:
- The competence, integrity and independence of the directors, promoters, managers.
- The application, the constitutional documentation and the offering memorandum contain the information prescribed by the Central Bank.
- In practice the Central Bank is known to require the appointment of a Manager, unless it is convinced that the Directors of the ICIS have the skills, qualifications and experience to manage the ICIS.
- The name of the ICIS should not be undesirable.
- A Cyprus based company must be appointed to carry out administration work.
- Qualified Auditors must be appointed based in Cyprus.
Major Tax Benefits
- Dividend income is exempt from Cypriot taxation
- Gains from the disposal of shares are exempt from all Cyprus taxes
- Interest income, less expenses, is subject to only 10% tax
- No withholding tax on dividends paid to non-Cypriot tax residents
- Withholding taxes suffered abroad can be claimed as a credit by Cypriot tax resident companies, including ICIS’s.
Source: Global Consultants