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Offshore and Alternative Investments
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Offshore and Alternative Investments

Now is the time to investigate your options!

It is easy to say what an “ alternative investment ” is not. It is not a CD in a bank account accruing 3% interest, or buying shares of a certain stock and it is not something for only the “uber” wealthy. Offshore investments and the buzz of the advantages have hit onshore and the even the mainstream investor is poking around to find the best alternatives.

In G8 countries, regulatory structures, such as government, dictate the opportunities available to a resident. Financial intermediaries often manage these alternative investments and this creates a fear among many investors. Therefore, the stock exchange becomes the investment of choice and the attitude that a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush certainly has merit.

However, with education and research these intimidating fears about alternative banking and investments can be dealt with in a reasonable and diligent manner. The investment options tend to narrow themselves to local stock markets, funds that conform to tight investment guidelines, and the savings products of high street financial institutions. When one presents the argument about why these alternative offshore investments are not represented by major firms, the answer is that these alternatives cannot be marketed by regulation in higher tax countries.

There is no need to have an elitist attitude, the due diligence can be performed and referrals can be had. This is all part of the process that has broadened the choices for the sophisticated investor.

As much as we fear the new world economy and the restrictions caused by terrorism, never has there been more options for decreasing a person's tax base, protecting a person or companies assets and investing in alternative offshore markets. Various processes have tended to broaden the range of accessible investment options during this decade.

In most countries, the drop in the value of the dollar has encouraged a more competitive atmosphere.

In Europe in particular, the growth of the EU single market has forcibly demolished exchange and capital controls, and increased the level of competition in financial products.

Due to technology and communication, financial sophistication on the part of investors and their financial advisors has increased.

Finally, and most importantly, the Internet has provided financial institutions with the ability to offer their products directly to retail customers, bypassing geographical restrictions for the most part.

Alongside this increase in accessibility, there has been a parallel increase in diversity, particularly in investment or mutual funds. Twenty or thirty years ago, funds were little more than staid ways of investing in local stock markets without the hassle of going through a grand (and expensive) stockbroker. While such funds still exist, they are out done, particularly for 'alternative' investors, by a vast array of fund instruments based on property, emerging markets, derivatives, bonds, media earnings and just about anything you can name, there is a fund for.

Ownership techniques have blossomed along with the instruments themselves. There is now a very wide choice of jurisdiction, of structures within jurisdictions, and of regulatory frameworks to suit all purposes.

All this diversity gives choice, but none more important than to choose the right advisor, practitioner and attorney. We welcome you call at TrustMakers for a free consultation about alternatives for your investing and asset protection.