A Solid Jurisdiction with a Proven Track Record
When we look back, it seems clear that Curaçao is one of the few international financial centers that has always taken advantage of the latest developments and provided solid solutions for the international financial needs of the moment. As with any financial service or product, certain conditions must be met, starting with the recognition of a need in the presence of existing right conditions and incentives.
The main ingredients or conditions that have led to the recognition of Curaçao as a very good choice for channeling international investments are:
1. Political constitution and stability of government: As of 1954 Curaçao forms part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
2. Availability of a good professional infrastructure: As part of the Dutch Kingdom, and its geographical location, Curaçao has always functioned as a bridge, between the USA, Europe and Latin America. This bridge function has facilitated the development of many skilled and experienced professionals of various disciplines, such as lawyers, accountants, bankers, marketers, and others, the majority of whom speaks 4 languages, Dutch, Spanish, English and Papiamentu.
3. Access to an extensive network of high quality, Bilateral Investment Protection Treaty Network.
The economic history of Curaçao in the 20th century started with the discovery of substantial oil reserves in Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela and the subsequent establishment of a refinery in Curaçao to refine and sell this oil on the international market.
With the establishment of the refinery, a large pool of professionals, accountants, bankers, lawyers, trustees and notaries, were attracted to settle on the island.
Some of the more notable international solutions that were developed in Curaçao and successfully deployed in the international market would include among others:
1. The first offshore banking services were created in 1930s to provide an investment alternative for the nouveau riche of Venezuela in need of a safe location to protect some their wealth against the so-called confiscaciones [confiscations] by autocratic governments, which was common in that time in Venezuela and other Latin American countries.
2. As the threat of Nazi domination of Europe developed in the late 1930s, many wealth Dutch individuals and companies moved their wealth to financial institutions on Curaçao. In the 1940s and 1950s, much of the wealth was returned to the Netherlands but that unfortunate occurrence again permanently raised the quality of professional and fiduciary services on the island.
3. Prompted by the tax treaty between Curaçao and the US, during the1960s a lucrative euro bond market, was developed in Curaçao and used to finance the rebound of many US multinationals such as Eastman Kodak, Exxon and PepsiCo. During its peak this market reached US$ 48.9 billion, compared to the US domestic corporate bond market of US$33.5 billion, at the time.
4. Curaçao was instrumental in the development and implementation of the first offshore holding companies in the 1970s, prompted by the extensive double taxation treaty network of the Netherlands that was used to create what became famous as “the Dutch Sandwich.”
A similar structure captured head-lines lately, as it has been discovered that multinational companies, such as Starbucks, Google and Apple, are currently using, a Dutch-Sandwich model, to substantially lower their tax bill.
5. The development of the first offshore hedge funds in the 1990s, the most famous of which is the Quantum Group of funds, was started by Mr. George Soros. He became famous as “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England,” when the Quantum Group made enormous profits by using the Deutsche mark to bet against the pound sterling. Even now, the Quantum Group is still considered one of the most closely watched and most influential financial power-houses of the world.
6. Most recently, in 1998 to be exact, the clever minds of Curaçao, blended 3 entities, the Lichtenstein Anstalt, the Charity Foundation and Company law, to create a new hybrid-type of legal entity, called The Private Foundation. The private foundation became so popular that currently many common law countries are adapting their legal system to allow for the legal recognition and use of the private foundation in their country.
Throughout the modern history Curaçao has proven to be a jurisdiction with a solid track record, in the development of innovative legal solutions to service the needs of both investors and corporations.
All of us here at Sadekya Fiduciary Partners B.V. take pride in our contribution to that history.