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COVID-19: Demand for Second Passport by High Net Worth Individuals Surges 50 Percent

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The number of high net worth individuals looking for a second international passport in order to improve their global access rose by 50 percent year-on-year, according to the latest statement from the deVere Group.

The group said national lockdowns, borders and travel restrictions have helped boost enquiries for second passports, citizenships and overseas residencies this year.

deVere Group, an independent financial advisory firm, that manages over 100,000 clients globally said demand for its residency and citizen service skyrocketed in this highly unusual year.

Most of the enquiries were from high net worth individuals from the U.S., India, South Africa, Russia, the Middle East and East Asia “who are seeking alternative options in Europe and the Commonwealth.”

According to Nigel Green, the Founder and CEO of deVere Group, “Previously, a second passport, citizenship or residency were regarded by many as the ultimate luxury item; a status symbol like yachts, supercars and original artwork.

“While this still remains the case, there’s also been a shift due to the pandemic.

“Now, second citizenship or overseas residency are increasingly becoming not just a ‘nice to have accessory’ but a ‘must have.’

“Whether it be for personal reasons, such as to remain with loved ones overseas or be able to visit them, or for business reasons, a growing number of people are seeking ways to secure their freedom of movement as they have faced travel restrictions which are, typically, based on citizenship.”

He continues: “The pandemic has served as a major catalyst for demand which skyrocketed this year. It has focused minds to secure that second passport or elite residency.

“However, the appeal for is broader than just the global Covid-19 crisis.

“Increasingly people prefer the concept of being a global citizen, rather than being solely tied to the country of their birth.

“They too value the many associated benefits including visa-free travel, world-class education, optimal healthcare, political and economic stability, reduced tax liabilities and wider business and career opportunities.”

However, nations have different criteria for granting citizenship, including time spent in the country, the ability to prove the legal source of funds and zero criminal records.

For instance, Portugal’s residency program requires just two weeks every two years of residency to gain the benefits, including the right to live, work, study and open a business there, as well as travel across the 26 countries of Europe’s Schengen area.

“More and more nations are running citizenship-by-investment programs, in which applicants invest an amount of money in a sponsoring country typically in high-end, new-build real estate developments in exchange for permanent residency, citizenship, or both,” affirms James Minns, deVere’s Head of Residency & Citizenship.

“These programmes, which high-net-worth individuals regard as invaluable insurance, are typically based on property investments that start from 250,000 EUR.”

Nigel Green concludes: “These highly unusual times have fuelled the surge in demand for second passports.

“The pandemic has brought into sharp focus what really matters to people: family, freedom and security.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Brands

Amazon Launches First ‘Real Life’ Clothing Store For Men And Women

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American multinational technology company, Amazon is launching its first apparel store, ‘Amazon Style’.

Investors King gathered that the clothing store, located in a Southern California mall, later this year will feature women’s and men’s apparel, shoes, and accessories from a mix of well-known and emerging brands, with prices catering to a wide range of shoppers.

According to Amazon, shoppers will get personalized recommendations pushed to their phones as they browse the new Amazon Style store. The company also noted that the clothing store will feature a mix of well-known and emerging brands, adding that every individual’s budget would be met.

The store which will be about 30,000 square feet would be digitalized as shoppers will rely heavily on their smartphones in order to browse the store.

Managing Director of Amazon Style, Simoina Vasen told CNBC that when shoppers walk into the store, they’ll see “display items,” featuring just one size and color of a particular product; the remaining inventory for each product will kept in the back of the store.

He added that after logging into the Amazon app on a smartphone, they’ll scan a QR code on the item to view additional sizes, colors, product ratings and other information, such as personalized recommendations for similar items.

“This allows us to offer more selection without requiring customers to sift through racks to find that right color, size and fit,” he said.

After scanning the QR code on an item, shoppers can click a button in the Amazon app to add the item to a fitting room or send it to a pickup counter.

According to Vasen, shoppers will be able to access their in-store purchase history in the Amazon app.

A recently released research by Wells Fargo analysts shows that Amazon has surpassed Walmart as the No. 1 apparel retailer in the U.S.. This is largely due to the e-commerce boom recorded as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wells Fargo estimates that Amazon’s apparel and footwear sales in the U.S. grew by roughly 15% in 2020 to more than $41 billion, which is 20% to 25% above rival Walmart.

This represents an 11 to 12 percent share of all clothing sold in the U.S. and 34 to 35 percent share of all clothing sold online.

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Merger and Acquisition

Sullivan, Ellis Were Top M&A Legal Advisers by Value and Volume in financial Services Sector in 2021

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Sullivan & Cromwell and Kirkland & Ellis were top M&A legal advisers by value and volume in financial services sector for 2021, finds GlobalData.

Sullivan & Cromwell and Kirkland & Ellis were the top mergers and acquisitions (M&A) legal advisers in the financial services sector for 2021 by value and volume, respectively, according to GlobalData. The leading data and analytics company notes that Sullivan & Cromwell advised on 42 deals worth $105.1 billion, which was the highest value among all advisers tracked. Meanwhile, Kirkland & Ellis led by volume, having advised on 76 deals worth $20.1 billion. A total 3,854 M&A deals were announced in the sector during 2021.

According to GlobalData’s report, ‘Global and Financial Services M&A Report Legal Adviser League Tables 2021‘, deal value for the sector increased by 21.1% from $430.6 billion during 2020 to $521.3 billion during 2021.

Aurojyoti Bose, Lead Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Kirkland & Ellis was the only advisor that managed to advise on more than 70 deals during 2021. However, it lagged behind in terms of value and did not find a place among the top 10 by value due to involvement in low-value transactions.

“The average deal size of transactions advised by Kirkland & Ellis was just $264.2 million, while it was $2.5 billion for Sullivan & Cromwell. Apart from leading by value, Sullivan & Cromwell also occupied the fourth position by volume.”

Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz occupied the second position in terms of value, with 26 deals worth $79.1 billion; followed by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, with 54 deals worth $55.9 billion; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, with 37 deals worth $51.6 billion; and Cravath Swaine & Moore, with nine deals worth $47.6 billion.

Alston & Bird occupied the second position in terms of volume, with 55 deals worth $7.9 billion; followed by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, and Sullivan & Cromwell. Willkie Farr & Gallagher occupied the fifth position by volume, with 42 deals worth $13.8 billion.

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Business

Netflix Commits $1 Million Towards Scholarships in Africa

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Netflix, the world’s leading entertainment streaming service, has  announced a commitment of US$1 million towards the newly-established Netflix Creative Equity Scholarship Fund (CESF) for film and TV students in Sub-Saharan Africa. The scholarship fund forms part of Netflix’s global Netflix Creative Equity Fund launched in 2021 to be allocated to various initiatives over the next 5 years with the goal of developing a strong, diverse pipeline of creatives around the world.

The scholarship fund will cover the costs for tuition, accommodation, study materials and living expenses at institutions where beneficiaries have gained admission to pursue a course of study in the TV & film disciplines in the 2022 academic year.

The Netflix CESF is targeted for rollout across the region in the academic year commencing in 2022, starting with an open call for applications in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, in partnership with social investment fund management and advisory firm Tshikululu Social Investments (https://bit.ly/3qLORX2) as implementing partner/fund administrator in Southern Africa. Fund administration partners for East Africa and the West and Central Africa regions will be announced in due course.

“Netflix is excited by the potential of the next generation of storytellers and we’re committed to investing in the future of African storytelling in the long-term,” says Ben Amadasun, Netflix Director of Content in Africa. “We believe there are great stories to be told from Africa and we want to play our part by supporting students who are passionate about the film and TV industry so they too, can ultimately contribute to the creative ecosystem by bringing more unique voices and diverse perspectives to African storytelling that our global audiences find appealing.”

How it works:

The Netflix CESF is designed to provide financial assistance, through full scholarships, at partner higher educational institutions (HEI) in South Africa to support the formal qualification and training of aspiring creatives from a SADC region country that wish to study in South Africa, and are able to obtain the necessary permissions to do so. The following countries will be eligible: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In the SADC region, the fund will be available to students who have obtained admission to study in various film & TV-focused disciplines, for the 2022 academic year, at the following partner institutions:

  • AACA Film and Acting School
  • AFDA
  • Boston Media House
  • Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
  • City Varsity
  • Durban University of Technology (DUT)
  • Tshwane University of Technology (TUT)
  • University of Cape Town (UCT)
  • University of Johannesburg (UJ)
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)
  • University of Pretoria (UP)
  • University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)

Students interested in applying for scholarships for the 2022 academic year will be able to find additional information, application criteria, a list of partner higher education institutions (HEI) and will be able to apply online on our fund manager and advisory partner, Tshikululu’s website. Applications are now open until 04 February 2022 at 23h59 CAT.

The Netflix CESF will also benefit students from other parts of Africa – particularly East Africa as well as West and Central Africa. Fund administration partners for East Africa and the West and Central Africa regions will be announced, along with the calls for applications, in due course.

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