While the Regional Center program has not been renewed, there is still strong interest in EB-5. What should Regional Centers and Fund Managers do to gain business as they wait for reauthorization?
In Part I of our “Ask the Experts” series, we asked Jill Jones and Rohit Kapuria how issuers should respond to the District Court Ruling that invalidated the EB-5 Modernization Rule, as well as the news that the Regional Center program was not renewed, leaving the program in limbo. In Part II, we heard from Ron Klasko about how to prepare for potential reauthorization and the temporary opportunities that may arise.
While there will be short-term opportunities for Regional Centers to attract investors, what about the long term? How do you position yourself to create lasting relationships with new clients? We spoke with Gregory Sweeney, Chief Client Officer at LCR Capital Partners and Managing Member of International Investors Mortgage, for his take on how this tumultuous time is changing the relationship between investors and Regional Centers.
“EB-5 Regional Centers & Fund Managers have traditionally been focused on the investment product’s structure, compliance, and management itself, without necessarily concentrating on the client experience,” says Sweeney. “In markets where EB-5 agents hold the primary client relationship, Regional Centers & Fund Managers provide little to no direct contribution to a client’s life-altering journey through the EB-5 process.”
They key to building lasting relationships, he says, is understanding the difficulties investors face as they move through the immigration process. While the paperwork may be a headache for you, they have all kinds of other worries to deal with.
“Immigrants come to the United States to build a better life, enhance their career opportunities, and provide a better future for their families. However, settling in quickly is not always easy. Setting up the basic essentials for everyday life in the US like banking or getting a driver’s license, applying for credit cards, getting health insurance, purchasing homes, and making investments can be challenging.”
How do those in the EB-5 industry gain the trust of new clients in a competitive marketplace? It starts with offering more than just investment products.
“As interest mounts for immigration options as a solution to a family’s standard of living, EB-5 Regional Centers & Fund Managers face a completely new market in which they need to operate beyond just raising capital and funding projects,” he says. “They need to focus on building a deeper relationship with clients and enhancing the customer experience. Providing local support, ensuring that communications meet investor expectations, and offering services that go beyond the EB-5 investment are now key differentiators.”
He adds that offering additional services and support will not only put clients’ minds at ease, but make it easier for them to succeed in their immigration goals.
“Regulations require customers to have established a strong credit history over a period of time before they are eligible for the most attractive financial products. For new immigrants, establishing a credit history in the United States that accurately depicts their creditworthiness can take years. International Investors Mortgage has embraced the opportunity to collaborate and serve EB-5 investors and their needs for access to strong, trustworthy, high-quality credit options.”
The ultimate goal? Relationships that don’t end when the EB-5 process does.
“LCR & International Investors Mortgage are developing and offering solutions that can evolve into multi-generational relationships with our client families. The trust that has been built with our EB-5 clients can serve us well if we provide an enhanced customer experience.”
JTC operates with the belief that technology is the key to investor relations, which is why we offer unmatched transparency, with the ability to provide 24/7 access to data and reports through our online portal.
No matter how the industry changes, Sweeney adds, there will always be human beings behind the investments, and focusing on them is what matters.
“The cultural and practical challenges of moving from one’s home country to the United States represent an opportunity for a truly client-centric organization to deliver,” he says. “Regional Centers & Fund Managers need to be working with a new client focused mindset.”