Financial Services

A sophisticated International Financial Centre of Substance

The Mauritius IFC boasts more than two decades’ track record in cross-border investment and finance, and offers an unparalleled well-regulated and transparent platform. As an internationally recognised jurisdiction of repute, the Mauritius IFC is home to a number of international banks, legal firms, corporate services, investment funds and private equity funds.  

Leveraging on its state-of-the-art infrastructure, modern and innovative legal framework and ease of doing business regime, the Mauritius IFC offers a panoply of competitive financial products and services, including private banking, global business, insurance and reinsurance, limited companies, protected cell companies, trust and foundation, investment banking, global headquarter administration, amongst others. Besides being a sophisticated platform for cross-border investment, the Mauritius IFC is well poised to play a crucial role to attract investment and promoting prosperity for and across Africa. The IFC explores new competitive business venues and a wide spectrum of investment opportunities for global companies to invest in Africa.  Strongly bearing in mind, its political, social and economic stability and regulatory framework, the Mauritius IFC offers a certainty to global investors to look up for Africa as an investment destination.

A full-fledged dedicated website on the Mauritius Financial Services  (www.mauritiusifc.mu) will be launched shortly.

11.8 %

GDP Contribution

1032

Global Funds

5.2 %

Sectoral Growth Rate

8720

Employment

19

Number of Banks

188

Number of Management Companies

    • Banking

      Rich in history and ancestral linage, the Mauritius Banking Sector has been at the service of the economy since 1838. Mauritius is in fact eulogized as having the oldest banking institution of the south of the Sahara, and one of the oldest banks of the Commonwealth. Today, the Mauritius IFC is made up of 22 local and international banks, offering a wide array of services, from traditional retail banking facilities to specialized services such as fund administration, private banking, structured trade finance, Islamic banking, investment banking and custody services. All the banks are licensed by the Bank of Mauritius to carry out banking business locally and internationally.

      Besides traditional banking facilities, banks offer card-based payment services, such as credit and debit cards internet banking and phone banking facilities. Specialized services such as fund administration, custodian services, trusteeship, structured lending, structured trade finance, international portfolio management, investment banking, private client activities, treasury and specialized finance are also offered by banks.

      Banks in Mauritius are provided with a single banking licence which entitle them to conduct both domestic and international transactions, and transact in all currencies, including the Mauritian rupee. In practice, the banking business of a licensed bank is divided into two segments; Segment A relates to all banking businesses with the exception of businesses which give rise to “foreign source income”, which is termed as Segment B. The Mauritius banking sector has been the recipient of a number of international accolades and awards over the past few years. The fast expanding Mauritian economy and the buoyant regional opportunities present a lot of opportunities for investment in banking in and through Mauritius in the following fields:

      • Global Business Banking – Leveraging on its set of innovative products for investment structuring targeting the emerging countries of Asia and Africa, the Mauritian banking sector offers lucrative opportunities in global business banking.
         
      • Private Banking – the increasing pool of High Net Worth Individuals in Mauritius as well as in the region, makes the jurisdiction an ideal platform for private banking and wealth management services.
         
      • Investment Banking – the growing need of investments in the region positions Mauritius as the platform of choice for the structuring of financing needs.
         
      • Islamic Banking – boosting from a dedicated set of guidelines for Islamic Finance and Banking. Mauritius offers a neutral and competitive platform for the provision of Shariah compliant banking services. Mauritius is rapidly becoming an active player in the global Islamic finance industry. The combination of fiscal and non-fiscal factors has made Mauritius a very attractive jurisdiction to structure Islamic products.

      Other Opportunities & Services:

      1. Treasury services, including foreign currencies, risk management and investments.
      2. Funds, including Shari’a-compliant investment funds.
      3. Trade Finance, including letters of credit, bank guarantees and collection and discounting of bills.
      4. Representative offices of foreign banks in Mauritius
      5. Regulatory Framework

      The banking sector in Mauritius is governed by the Banking Act 2004 and the Bank of Mauritius Act 2004. The regulator, the Bank of Mauritius, was established in 1967, and was modelled on the Bank of England, the central bank of England. The Bank of Mauritius also governs non-banking deposit taking institutions, and publishes guidelines and guidance notes on all matters pertaining to the commercial operations of banks.

      Basel Requirements
      The banks in Mauritius have to adhere to Basel II of the Basel Accords, as well as certain additional elements relating to the strengthening of the capital framework relating to Basel III, as per the reform package issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. It is noteworthy that the banks in Mauritius largely exceed, nearly around 35%, the minimum Tier I capital requirements recommended by the Basel Accords. This explains the resilience of the Mauritius banking system against shocks arising from financial and economic stresses.

      Capital Markets
      The Capital Markets in Mauritius is one of the most vibrant sectors of the economy and the country provides a dynamic debt and equity market. It is the second largest market in the African region. Mauritius provides investors with a dynamic securities market and offers world class trading facilities. The trade of fixed interest securities and equity normally takes place through market intermediaries, regulated as Investment Dealers. Coming a long way since its launch in 1989, the Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM) is today one of the precursors in sustainability in the African continent.
       

    • Global Funds

      Mauritius is home to some of the most impactful and leading funds from around the world. Boasting over a thousand funds, a collective AUM in excess of USD 80 billion, and a sizeable number of them from development finance institutions and sovereign wealth funds, Mauritius is noted as the gold standard for fund management and administration.

      Mauritius is home to some of the most impactful and leading funds from around the world.  Mauritius is noted as the gold standard for fund management and administration. Mauritius offshore fund clients to ensure the ongoing quality, efficiency and service level of our global fund services. As a global fund service provider, we are both proactive and reactive to support our offshore fund clients' evolving needs.

      The Funds are structured as investment companies in Mauritius, and can either be open-ended, falling under the Collective Investment Schemes category, or closed-ended, commonly referred to as Private Equity funds. The Funds domiciled in the Mauritius IFC are eligible to all the benefits which accrue to Global Business Companies.

      Global Funds domiciled in Mauritius may also take advantage of the flexible listing rules of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius to list on one of the leading platforms in Africa, member of a number of international bodies, including the World Federation of Exchanges, South Asian Federation of Exchanges, African Securities Exchanges Association and Committee of SADC Stock Exchanges. Such listings would attract investors’ value, and demonstrate substance, notably to institutional investors and development finance institutions.

      Collective Investment Schemes
      A Collective Investment Scheme ('CIS' / Offshore Fund / Global Fund) is defined under the Securities Act 2005 as a scheme constituted as a company, a trust, or any other legal entity (e.g. a limited partnership) prescribed or approved by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) in Mauritius:

      1. Whose sole purpose is the collective investment of funds in a portfolio of securities, or other financial assets, real property or non-financial assets as may be approved by the FSC;
      2. Whose operation is based on the principle of diversification of risk;
      3. That has the obligation, on request of the holder of the securities, to redeem them at their net assets value, less commission or fees;
      4. Where the participants do not have day to day control over the management of the property, whether or not they have the right to be consulted or to give directions in respect of such management;
      5. Includes closed-end funds whose shares or units are listed on a securities exchange;
      6. Excludes such schemes as are specified in Part II of the Schedule SA 2005.

      Global CIS
      The Global CIS is a fully-regulated CIS, and they are funds which are essentially meant for the public. This CIS normally does not hold a Category 1 Global Business license, and is not entitled to any of the exemptions generally provided to funds.

      Professional CIS
      Professional CIS are schemes which offer their shares solely to sophisticated investors or as private placements. Sophisticated investors include Governments or public bodies, and banks, amongst others. Professional CIS are exempted from most obligations and regulations as long as the interests of the Professional CIS are not resold to the public and they are not listed on a securities exchange, whether in Mauritius or elsewhere.

      Specialized CIS
      A Specialized CIS consists of funds which are invested in real estate activities or in derivatives or commodities, as well as other products which may be approved by the Financial Services Commission.

      Expert Funds
      An Expert Fund consists of funds which only available to Expert Investors. An Expert Investor is an investor who makes an initial investment for his own account of no less then USD 100,000. Most of the obligations and restrictions governing Global Funds do not apply to Expert Funds.
       

    • Insurance

      The Mauritius IFC boasts a well-developed Insurance sector; it is regulated and supervised by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) under the Insurance Act 2005. The current regulatory framework has many strong elements, including reliance on solvency monitoring, prudent asset diversification, international accounting standards, and actuarial methods. The well-developed insurance industry in Mauritius comprises of 24 companies and contributes to 3.1% to the GDP.

      Insurance Business in Mauritius
      Long Term Insurance Business means life insurance, pension and permanent health insurance business. General Insurance Business: insurance business other than long term insurance business whereby policies are delivered with respect to Accident & Health, Engineering, Guarantee, Liability, Motor, Property, Transportation. External Insurance Business: Corporation engaged in insurance business, including captive insurance business, restricted solely to non-Mauritian policies. In 2014, total assets of Life and General insurance companies reached 33.7% of GDP whereas the Long-Term Insurance category held assets totalling USD 3.92 Billion. There is no minimum requirement for investment in Government securities.  Investment in overseas assets are limited to 25 percent of total assets, except for foreign life companies and general insurance business which are not allowed to invest in overseas assets.

      Captive Insurance
      Following the enactment of the Captive Insurance 2015, the legislative framework has been set for the establishment and management of pure captive vehicles in Mauritius. The captive Insurance Law is a fine and modern piece of legislation which should establish the jurisdiction as a domicile of choice for captive insurers focusing on Africa and why not Asia too.

      The Act only applies to “pure captives” meaning the business of undertaking liability restricted to the risks of parent and affiliated corporations. The Insurance Act 2005 which has now been amended was previously governing captives but unfortunately not in a satisfactory manner. Captive insurers will be regulated by the Financial Services Commission and can also be licensed as Global Business Companies Category I.

      Mauritius offers an attractive and stable environment for captive insurance companies. The Captive Insurance business has become an ever increasing method for companies to manage their annual premium payments with sustained and continued growth over the past decade. There are over 5,700 captives worldwide writing a total of more than USD 55 billion of premiums annually.

      A captive is a wholly owned subsidiary created to provide insurance to its parent company and group. It is essentially a form of self-insurance where the insurer is owned by the insured. It reduces costs and risk management and enhances risk control. These captives do not offer insurance to the public. They do not cover life insurance business or items such as liability for motor vehicles.

      Regulatory Framework
      The Financial Services Commission, Mauritius (the ‘FSC’) is the integrated regulator for the non-bank financial services sector and global business. Established in 2001, the FSC is mandated under the Financial Services Act 2007   and has as enabling legislations the Securities Act 2005, the Insurance Act 2005 and the Private Pension Schemes Act 2012 to license, regulate, monitor and supervise the conduct of business activities in these sectors. The current regulatory framework has many strong elements, including reliance on solvency monitoring, prudent asset diversification, international accounting standards, and actuarial methods.

       

    • Others

      Global Legal Advisory Services Licence
      The Global Legal Advisory Services (GLAS) Licence enables flagship international law firms to set up their regional offices and operations in the Mauritius IFC.

      The law firms licensed under GLAS are eligible to provide legal advisory services on both international and domestic laws, including in the field of alternative dispute resolution, financial services, and corporate and cross-border transactions, capital markets, insurance, and banking, amongst others.

      Limited Liabilities Partnership
      The Mauritius IFC has introduced the Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) to provide a conducive structure for the flagship international law firms to establish in Mauritius. The LLP also caters for other professional service providers operating in fields other than legal services.

      Overseas Family Offices
      The Overseas Family Office Scheme caters for the domiciliation of assets and wealth of high net worth families in Mauritius.  The Scheme consists of two licences, one for single family offices and the other for multi-family offices.

      Asset and Fund Managers
      The Fund and Asset Manager Scheme provides mid to big size fund and asset managers with the incentive to establish their management offices in Mauritius, notably for their African portfolio.

      Global Headquarters Administration
      The Global Headquarters Administration Licence is provided to a holding company, incorporated in Mauritius and belonging to a well-established international group, reputed in its field of business and industry.

      Global Treasury Activities
      The Global Treasury Activities Licence caters for treasury nerve centre of multinational corporations incorporated in Mauritius, and providing treasury services to related entities.

      Investment Bank
      The new Investment Banking Licence caters for investment banks to establish in Mauritius, and to provide investment banking services in mergers and acquisitions, listings, IPOs, cross-border investments and other advisory services.

      Capital Markets
      The Capital Markets in Mauritius is one of the most vibrant sectors of the economy and the country provides a dynamic debt and equity market. It is the second largest market in the African region. Mauritius provides investors with a dynamic securities market and offers world class trading facilities. The trade of fixed interest securities and equity normally takes place through market intermediaries, regulated as Investment Dealers. Coming a long way since its launch in 1989, the Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM) is today one of the precursors in sustainability in the African continent.

      The SEM operates two markets:

      • The Official Market
      • The Development and Enterprise Market

      In pursuit of its internationalisation strategy, the Mauritian capital markets is embracing multi-product and commodities platforms in addition to its equity-based platform.

    • Mauritius Legal System and Regulatory Overview

      Mauritius has a hybrid legal system which draws inspiration from the French and English Legal system. Mauritius was under French rule until 1814 when it became British, but still kept its French laws and customs. Whilst the substantive laws, e.g. the Civil Code, the Criminal Code and the Commercial Code remained French, the English judges presiding in the Mauritian courts preferred English procedure, which was familiar to them. Therefore, historically, English law gradually grafted itself on French law to supplement the former.

      In 1968, Mauritius became independent and the country became a Republic within the British Commonwealth in 1992. Parliament enacts the laws and in specific cases, the power is delegated to Ministers to make regulations. Mauritius has stable and transparent regulatory framework based on international standards which caters for innovative sectors such as company, banking, finance, offshore, taxation, shipping, insurance and intellectual property.
       

    • Relevant Legislation

      Relevant Acts:

      1. Financial Services Act 2007
      2. Captive Insurance Act 2015
      3. Insurance Act 2005
      4. The Insurance (Amendment) Act 2015
      5. Private Pension Schemes Act 2012
      6. Protected Cell Companies Act 1999
      7. Securities Act 2005
      8. Securities (Central Depository, Clearing and Settlement) Act 1996
      9. Trusts Act 2001

      Other Legislations:

      1. Companies Act 2001 (Corporate and Business Registration Department)
      2. Foundations Act 2012
      3. Limited Partnerships Act 2011
      4. Financial Intelligence and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2002
      5. Insolvency Act 2009
      6. Prevention of Corruption Act 2002
      7. Prevention of Terrorism Act 2002
      8. Mutual Assistance in Criminal and Related Matters Act 2003
      9. Financial Reporting Act 2004
      10. Non-Citizens (Property Restriction) Act 1975
      11. The Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018
      12. The United Nations (Financial Prohibitions_ Arms Embargo _ Travel Ban) Sanctions Act 2019
      13. The Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2019
    • Regulators

      The financial services sector in Mauritius is regulated by two bodies who have adopted the best international practices– each with specific statutory objectives: -

      Financial Services Commission
      The Financial Services Commission, Mauritius (the ‘FSC’) is the integrated regulator for the non-bank financial services sector and global business. Established in 2001, the FSC is mandated under the Financial Services Act 2007   and has as enabling legislations the Securities Act 2005, the Insurance Act 2005 and the Private Pension Schemes Act 2012 to license, regulate, monitor and supervise the conduct of business activities in these sectors. The current regulatory framework has many strong elements, including reliance on solvency monitoring, prudent asset diversification, international accounting standards, and actuarial methods.

      Bank of Mauritius
      The Bank of Mauritius (BOM), set up in 1966, well known to all, and which is responsible for the regulation of banking services.  The Bank has been set up as the authority which is responsible for the formulation and execution of monetary policy consistent with stable price conditions.  It also has responsibility for safeguarding the stability and strengthening of the financial system of Mauritius.


       

  • The Global Business segment of the Mauritius IFC provides convenience, fiscal efficiency and risk mitigation for companies engaged in international operations. Domiciled in Mauritius, the Global Business companied have been instrumental in driving investments and growth across continents.

    Starting from modest beginnings in 1992, the global business has grown significantly over the years to become one of the main pillars of the economy, offering sophisticated products such as global collective investment schemes, close-ended funds, expert funds, specialized collective investment schemes, CIS management, investment dealers, amongst others.

    The fiscal regime of Mauritius is underpinned by a transparent system which provides for a level playing field and a competitive tax bracket for businesses and individuals at a single rate of 15%. This regime has successfully generated substantive economic activities across all sectors of the Mauritian economy.

    Value Addition of Global Business in Mauritian Economy
    As a vital sector to the Mauritian economy, the global business sector contributes has succeeded in generating high value-added employment.  It is estimated that the sector, including banking, directly employs more than 15,000 professionals. 

    Number of Direct Employment in the Financial Services sector (Non-Banking) as at 31 December 2019 - 8,720

    Source: Financial Services Commission (FSC)

    In addition to this, the financial services sector currently contributes 11.8% of the Mauritian economy.  The GDP contribution is currently made up of 7.1% of financial intermediation, which is essentially banking activities and the capital markets, 2.6% of insurance activities and 0.7% of financial leasing and other credit granting activities.  The development of the global business sector also spurred substantial growth in the other sub-segments of the financial services sector, as well as in the foreign reserves of the country and balance of payment. Contribution of taxes paid under the global business regime exceeded 3.7 billion of rupees in 2015, and is an important source of revenue for the Government.

  • In a bid to position the country as a premier financial and legal services centre in the region, legal services were liberalized to enable law firms to establish local offices or joint ventures in Mauritius following the amendment of the Law Practitioners Act in December 2008.  The new laws provide a framework for the regulation and practice of foreign and international law in Mauritius.

    International Law firms advises Mauritian businesses as well as international corporations, financial institutions on all aspects of corporate, commercial and regulatory law, public and private mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, bankruptcy, capital markets, fund formation (private equity funds and hedge funds), joint ventures, strategic and advisory corporate assignments.

    Mauritius as an International Arbitration Centre for the region 

    Mauritius is embracing this new model of dispute settlement a legal culture as it offers a tailor-made option for investors which caters for a cheap and fast out-of-court alternative to settle commercial disputes which would safeguard confidentiality. The International Arbitration Act offers a simple and ready-made mechanism for the incorporation of arbitration clauses in the constitution of Global Business companies based in Mauritius. In addition to, investors can also have additional comfort in the availability of a pool of international arbitrators for settling disputes. Arbitration is preferred across sectors for the flexible approach over the rigidity of courts.

    Mauritius has signed a Host Country Agreement with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) and this was the first time in history that an agreement of the kind was made for a permanent representative outside Hague. As a token for recent progress made in the region, Mauritius has been granted the right to host the 2016 ICCA Congress, a key event in the international arbitration calendar held every two years, which Copenhagen, Sydney and Hong Kong were all in the race to organize the Congress.

  • With the new digital revolution that is happening in the financial services sector in Mauritius and as an avant-garde jurisdiction, the country possesses the ecosystem to assist the global ambitions of Fintech companies.  The use of mobile apps is embedded in the average Mauritian’s everyday life while the country already provides services such digital insurance, mobile banking amongst others. 

    Several enterprises, particularly those aiming towards Africa, are already using Mauritius as a viable Fintech platform. For such institutions, with its facilitating business environment and its array of Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements; Mauritius can be considered a safe International Financial Centre that acts as a buffer between source jurisdictions and recipient African states. The stable business climate and well-established corporate governance culture in Mauritius, favourable time zone, excellent connectivity and highly-educated labour, mitigates the high-risk profile of certain African countries.

    Furthermore, Mauritius offers advantages which provides an optimal internet connectivity and already host a number of international IT companies as well as Fintech start-ups. Boasting a workforce of above 19,000 multilingual professionals working in the ICT sector, Mauritius can be used as a test-bed for experimenting Fintech products before disseminating them to the wider global market.

    Consult the Guidelines to apply for a Regulatory Sandbox Licence for Fintech Projects

  • Africa is increasingly becoming a preferred investment destination. Over the last few years, in spite of the development challenges, many African countries have embarked on a process of transformation, experiencing unprecedented rates of growth, a rise in trade and investment, and structural transformation. According to the IMF, for developing countries across Africa, foreign direct investment is a critical driver of future growth and development, thereby presenting an opportunity for the Mauritius IFC.

    The Mauritius IFC’s Africa strategy is underpinned by this appetite for foreign investments, by providing access to finance and expertise to and from Africa.  The strategy will not only contribute to the transformation of Africa into a stable and competitive continent, but also create substantial spill-overs to the Mauritian economy across various segments, for instance banking, global business, insurance, capital markets, and support services such as legal and accounting services.

    Mauritius is also well poised to be the risk-mitigating platform that would provide the security and peace of mind to investors with 23 Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs) signed with African states, which include clauses for protection against expropriation, compensation for losses and free repatriation of capital profits.

    Also, Mauritius is a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which is part of the World Bank Group, since the 28th December 1990. Hence, companies incorporated in Mauritius are eligible for MIGA guarantees which protect investors against the risks of transfer restrictions, expropriation, war and civil disturbances, breach of contract and failure to honour sovereign financial obligations.

    Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements

    Double Taxation Avoidance Treaties

    UNCTAD - World Investment Report 2019

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