The reputation of Mauritius as an International Financial Centre rests on the quality of its services and its pool of highly qualified professionals. The Financial Services Act (FSA) adopted in 2007, simplifies the regulatory regime and consolidates the legislative framework of the global business sector.
In monitoring the conduct of business activities of its licensees, the FSC focuses inter alia on market conduct, Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism requirements, corporate governance principles and international norms and standards.
A company applying for a Global Business Licence should pass the test of conducting business outside Mauritius. An applicant for a Global Business Licence is required to submit the appropriate application to the FSC, channeled through a Management Company of its choice. Management Companies (MCs) are service providers which act as intermediaries between their clients and the FSC. MCs are licensed by the FSC under Section 77 of the FSA to set up, manage and provide nominee and other services to a corporation (which carries on or intends to carry on any global business and such class of corporation as may be prescribed) or act as corporate trustee or qualified trustee under the Trusts Act 2001.
Mauritius Management Companies Licence
Management Companies act as intermediaries between clients and the FSC and operate under the FSC Guidance Notes for Management Companies. While performing their Customer Due Diligence (CDD) duties, they are under the obligation of collecting and verifying all necessary information about their clients and retaining the information to be submitted to the FSC as and when requested.
Obligations of Management Companies
Management Companies must:
- ensure that their business is at all times in conformity with the stipulated conditions, norms of honourable conduct and with the laws of Mauritius;
- take all reasonable measures and exercise due diligence to ensure that their clients are sound and reputable;
- keep books and records in connection with their business of company management that reflect accurately their affairs and business;
- keep separate set of accounts for each company they manage;
- keep separate funds, assets and property of each of the companies they manage; and
- keep in one bank account, separate from their own bank account, all moneys held on behalf of their clients.
Services provided by Management Companies are inter alia:
- Company and trust formation and administration;
- Trusteeship services;
- Provision of directors, secretary and nominee shareholders;
- Registered Agents for Category 2 Global Business Licensees;
- Registered Office for Category 1 and Category 2 Global Business Licensees;
- Preparation of incorporation and application documents for Global Business Licence;
- Ensuring post-statutory compliance with company and tax laws (filing of changes on Directors, Shareholders);
- Maintenance of books and accounting records; and
- Fund administration services such as NAV calculation, preparation of quarterly reports.
Mauritius Insurance Licence
The FSC licenses, under the Insurance Act (IA), insurance/ reinsurance companies as well as insurance service providers (Insurance Broker, Insurance Agent (company /individual), Insurance Manager, Insurance Salesperson and Claims Professional) to conduct insurance business activities.
Mauritius Pensions Licence
The FSC licenses, under The Private Pension Schemes Act 2012 (PPSA), private pension schemes, external pension schemes and foreign pension schemes.
Mauritius Capital Markets License
Entities operating in the Capital Markets sector are licensed under the Securities Act (SA). The SA provides a comprehensive framework enabling entities to operate in full transparency and lists all the requirements/criteria and the prudential norms which need to be followed and the relevant disclosures.
The FSC licences securities exchanges, clearing and settlement facilities, securities trading systems, market intermediaries, Collective Investment Schemes (CIS) and Closed-end fund (CEF), CIS Functionaries and also registers Reporting Issuers and Investment Clubs.
Global Funds are entities holding a Category 1 Global Business Licence under the Financial Services Act and are authorised under the SA as a CIS or a CEF. Global Funds can be structured as a company, a trust, a protected cell company (PCC) or in any other legal form as approved by the FSC.
Global Funds can take the form of:
- A CIS which has a variable share capital (Open End Fund). Investors are allowed to redeem their shares at net asset value at pre-determined times in accordance with its Constitution;
- A CEF which has a fixed share capital. Investors do not have the right to call for their shares to be redeemed at net asset value by the company. The company may be formed with a limited life after which the assets are distributed to investors on winding up.
Other NBFIs Licence
The Second Schedule (Section 2) of the Financial Services Act provides for Financial Business Activities, in respect of Non-Banking Financial Institutions (NBFI’s). These are categorised mainly into the financial services providers/activities and the specialised financial services/institutions.
The FSC ensures, prior to licensing any NBFI’s that the applicant meets the “fit and proper” criteria and that it fulfils prudential requirements and conditions of operation.
The FSC ascertains inter alia that applicants have in place the necessary compliance functions including appropriate internal control measures, continuous internal audit and monitoring system, and adequate resources in terms of qualified personnel and equipment. Applicants are required to comply with the Code of Corporate Governance to prevent conflict of interest, financial crimes and money laundering.