BRIC and MINT the next Frontier

Published 13 Aug 2014

By Philip Burgin

Philip Burgin, Group Head of Client Services at JTC, gives his views on the world's fast growing emerging markets and most promising investment destinations in the August edition of ePrivate Client.

Coined by Goldman Sachs’ economist Jim O’Neill, the term ‘BRICS’ has become commonplace amongst private client professionals, with the combined growth of Brazil, Russia, India and China, anticipated to shape the world economy in the coming decades.

In 2011, a new term was introduced - ‘MINT’, grouping Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey together as the next emerging economic giants, whilst more recently the ‘N-11’ has entered popular parlance, referring to the ‘next eleven’ emerging countries.

Keeping tabs on these new acronyms and making sure you have the most up to date intelligence on these geographically diverse markets is a complex thing, but it’s a challenge well worth tackling - these large, fast growing emerging markets are predicted to be the most promising investment destinations over the next decade.

Trends

The Boston Consulting Group predict that wealth creation and profit pools are evolving and that private wealth will grow significantly in these new emerging economic countries. According to the IMF, in 2014 emerging markets will overtake developed economies in terms of share of global GDP.

Which is why, as a business offering internationally-focused private wealth and family office as well as funds and corporate services, it’s been essential for us to invest our time in cementing client relationships in all of the BRIC and MINT countries.

With more billionaires now coming from emerging economies than European ones, the demand for high quality wealth management services is a key trend for rapid growth markets. For some time, this has been the case in the Asian growth markets, where banking and finance professionals are expressing significant levels of optimism surrounding growth in the private wealth sector.

However, global trends also show that Sub-Saharan Africa is destined to be the top emerging market over the next twelve months and the most attractive investment destination, according to the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (EMPEA).

As one of the MINT countries, Nigeria is of key interest to wealth professionals at the moment, but other African nations also merit attention, including Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya – something that has become increasingly clear to the team at JTC during the twenty years they have been visiting clients and intermediaries and delivering services in the region.

African Opportunities

There are compelling reasons for continuing to explore opportunities in Africa, with the continent as a whole offering attractive new sources of return away from the slower paced developed markets.  Increasingly we are seeing Kenya and Nigeria providing more and more investment opportunities, and as a result of elevated economic growth rates generating higher than expected returns along with diversification benefits.

For instance, New World Wealth statistics show the total wealth in Nigeria for 2013 was an impressive USD$227.5 billion, whilst the country has been referenced as having profited the most from Africa’s rapid economic development, being central to Africa’s trade route and making it geographically very attractive.

This inward investment and growth in African economies has of course also had an impact on the number of wealthy African resident individuals and families looking for specialist support. The Knight Frank Wealth Report predicts that the number of multimillionaires in Africa will grow at a faster rate than anywhere else in the world over the next 10 years, for example.

A common feature of all MINT countries is that they boast rapidly growing young populations, which in turn tends to lead to a rapid rise in entrepreneurialism and domestic consumption; both benefiting the economy as a whole.  Africa now has the fastest growing middle class in the world, and seven out of ten of the fastest growing countries by real GDP growth, in the world are African.

Given its strength in international wealth management services, its strong rule of law and commitment to high standards of regulation, and its position at the cutting edge of trust legislation, Jersey has found itself in a strong position when it comes to supporting this rise in an African middle class and wealthy population.

Indeed, Jersey Finance has identified Africa as a key region for investment in the coming years, particularly Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. Recognising the huge potential in these exciting African regions, investment – through market visits and attendance at major conferences and events – has already been made by Jersey in all three markets.

In particular, there is a growing trend for real estate investment work on the private client side in Africa growth markets, involving both inward investment into property within Africa and outward investment by African clients into overseas real estate, most frequently in major cities like London. As a specialist jurisdiction for structuring real estate investment vehicles, Jersey is well positioned to cater for these kinds of cross-border transactions involving Africa.

Jersey Expertise

Wealth structuring through Jersey these days is more about asset protection and security than it is about anything else. Given the potential for political instability and risk in Africa, from an African private client point of view the emphasis is very much on creating structures in supportive and stable jurisdictions where they know their money is safe and being managed professionally.

Jersey is fast becoming a preferred jurisdiction within Africa, thanks to its political and economic stability, range of vehicles, on-tap expertise, substance, experience and simple tax neutrality. Striking an appropriate level of privacy and confidentiality is also very important for high net worth individuals and their families, and Jersey offers high levels of security and confidentiality whilst at the same time adopting a cooperative stance with tax authorities globally.

Furthermore, with its wide range of flexible products and an established framework of agreements to enable seamless trade worldwide, Jersey is well placed to support clients seeking to make the most of the growing number of inward and outward investment opportunities in all asset classes arising from the continued development of the emerging market economies.

Complementing this is a steady rise in the number of mining companies in Jersey, many of whom have African links. Jersey’s reputation as a respected business centre within the African market is positioning it perfectly as a location for mining executives to base their operations in and enable their companies to invest, grow and prosper. One African-focused gold mining and exploration company with listings on the London Stock Exchange and New York’s NASDAQ has successfully operated from Jersey for almost 20 years and has grown to become one of the 100 largest companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Jersey’s strong company law, range of specialist law firms, ability to list on global stock exchanges and attractive corporate environment provides a welcome additional dimension for private clients considering Jersey as their partner jurisdiction.

There’s no doubt that meeting the needs of clients has always been the main driver for a private wealth service provider, but in exploring opportunities in the emerging BRIC and MINT countries, including those in Africa, the need to adapt and provide tailored services becomes even more apparent. This is a reason why the JTC Group decided to establish a presence in Mauritius - to cater for the specific needs of Sub Saharan African clients who can, amongst other things, utilise the large treaty network in Mauritius, alongside the attractive holding structures offered in Jersey.

Key for the years to come, as those rapidly growing economies continue to produce wealthy families, will be Jersey’s ability to stay ahead of the game, fend off competition from other centres and differentiate itself in terms of the quality of specialist cross-border services it can provide.