Measures announced for the Financial Services sector were in line with the Government’s effort to strengthen the international image of Mauritius as an IFC and enhance compliance with international standards. As per the Blueprint of the Financial Services Sector, the Mauritius IFC is developing three core pillars namely cross-border investment, cross-border corporate banking and private banking and wealth management. In addition, new financial products such as Fintech, cross- border asset management amongst others have been identified.
The key measures announced in the budget are:
1. Broadening of Mauritian products worldwide by:
- establishing a new framework for fund administration and fund management
- revamping the existing Special Purpose Fund regime to ease access to new markets
- The Financial Services Commission (“FSC”) entering into an agreement with the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City to recognise Mauritian licensed funds and management companies as qualified to operate in the Gujarat jurisdiction.
2. Diversification of Mauritius IFC
- New rules and an attractive tax regime to promote the development of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
- An “umbrella licence” for wealth management activities
- A scheme for headquartering of ‘e-commerce’ activities
- A framework for Green Finance in line with the ‘Marrakech Pledge’ – a continental coalition of African Capital Markets Regulators and Exchanges committed to foster green financing on the continent
- A new trading platform at the Stock Exchange of Mauritius to allow medium sized profitable enterprises that do not qualify for listing on the official and DEM markets to raise capital and trade their shares
3. Facilitation in the conduct of business in the Financial Sector
- A ‘single-window system’ will be set up at the FSC to allow for submission of documents for financial services and global business application.
4. Strengthening the regulatory framework and ensuring compliance with International Best Practices
- Setting up of a Financial Crime Commission to ensure greater coordination among the various relevant authorities;
- Development of a financial data handling code of conduct to address cyber risks by the FSC; and
- Introduction of industry-wide Practice Notes with respect to handling clients’ requests by the Bank of Mauritius, Financial Intelligence Unit and FSC.
- The income tax act will be amended for the determination of tax residency for companies so that a company shall not be considered as tax resident in Mauritius if it is centrally managed and controlled outside Mauritius.