“The financial industry can be very creative and you can think outside the box. The philanthropy side of finance is how it can be used for the greater good.”

Our very own Sharon Atkins talks to Armand Arton, the CEO and founder of Arton Capital in their Cape Town office.

Arton Capital is a global financial advisory firm that specializes in second residence and citizenship programmes for wealthy individuals and South African business people. They provide global mobility, freedom of visa-free travel and how to obtain a second residency/ citizenship for future generations.

Global Citizenship

We ask Armand Arton what Global citizenship is. “Global citizenship is a way of life that allows people to extend their reach by having more than one nationality. Over the last 30 years countries have realised that when they do need financial support from foreign investment one way to attract it is to give an exchange, a privileged residence or a path to citizenship in a more accelerated way. This has created an industry on its own where the ultra-high net worth and the high net worth (you have to have at least 1 million dollars plus) are able today to invest in an exchange received citizenship of a 2nd, 3rd or 4th country and to create a portfolio for themselves of passports that will allow them travel anywhere they want without visas.”

Why would someone want to take up this opportunity? “One of the main reasons why people are doing this is to have more options available for their family and kids and a better, more stable and secure future.  It also allows them do more in their business and to optimize from a taxation point of view.”

Where are they from predominantly? “Africa is a growing market for us. Middle East is where the highest demand is right now due to the political instability and China is also growing.”

What country do they apply for? “Canada and USA used to be popular but currently the first choice is Europe. Interest in island nations is growing where there’s no personal income, capital gains or inheritance tax.”

What is the profile of the people that take up this programme? “The average profile is generally 90 % male, predominantly from the financial sector. Most have a family are between the ages of 45- 65. Currently only 5- 10% are women.”

What are the benefits to the country that offers this besides the financial injections? “To attract global leaders, to interact in their local society and to create jobs and opportunities. That person will buy a home there, run a business and bring his experience to the country.”

How do you and your company give back? “Philanthropy is an important part of what we do. All our clients automatically invest a percentage into the foundations that we have created. We believe education is the basis of what global citizenship is all about. One of the greatest investments that anyone can do it to invest in education for children.”

On a Personal Side

Tell us a bit about yourself and what drives you? “I was born in Bulgaria with Armenian origins. I experienced that the Bulgarian passport was very limited as they were not yet part of Europe so in my childhood I lived with the limitation that this passport offered. I was then educated in Canada and started in the financial sector there. I started my work with the Canadian Government there as a private entity and we collaborated in creating a program with the Bulgarian and Canadian governments.”

Any words of advice for youngsters wanting to enter the area of financial services. “The financial industry can be very creative and you can think outside the box. The philanthropy side of how finance can be used for the greater good e.g. how to finance projects could be interesting. The sky is the limit and with white paper you can create anything you want.”

“I am now based in Dubai. My greatest achievement is my family and of course balancing family with the global work that I do.”

 Sharon Atkins and Armand Arton

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