We spoke with Bilal Sassa, Head of Sales at AXYS Group, a broad-reaching financial services group based in Mauritius with operations across the world and in Africa.
Tell us more about AXYS and some of the corporate services solutions that you offer clients.
AXYS is a financial services group with activities ranging from stockbroking, asset and wealth management, corporate finance as well as corporate services where we offer a full range of services from corporate secretarial, accounting, fund administration and investor services as well as trusteeship services. Operating under the brand name of NWT, our corporate services business operates in Mauritius and Geneva with a presence in Hong Kong & Brazil. We are also licensed as a corporate services provider in Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM). AXYS has been operating for over 20 years in Mauritius and Geneva.
How do you go about advising a corporate who is looking to structure their business through Mauritius?
Mauritius is an attractive jurisdiction for cross border investment and trading for several reasons.
Mauritius has a hybrid legal system, combining both civil and common law practices. It is governed by principles drawn from both the French Code Napoléon and the English common law. The Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority in Mauritius and has unlimited jurisdiction to hear any criminal and civil proceedings. Mauritius has retained the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of the UK as its final court of appeal.
There are various vehicles used to structure a business including:
- Societés (derived from French law), often described in Mauritius as civil or commercial partnerships.
- Limited partnerships.
- Limited liability partnerships.
Further, the absence of exchange controls makes it easier to manage regional treasury functions knowing that many places have exchange controls in place. This makes flows among group companies more challenging and time-consuming.
Mauritius also has over 40 Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAA), along with Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs), thus making Mauritius an attractive jurisdiction in which to structure a business.
One of the key findings from the EMPEA 2015 African Fund Domicile Survey shows that approximately 97% of GPs with vehicles in Mauritius reported they were satisfied with the jurisdiction.
What are the principal considerations for ongoing administration that corporates and funds should think about after establishing an offshore vehicle?
Once a structure has been established, the most important factor that needs to be considered is to remain compliant with the relevant legislation and rules. Given the regulated nature of businesses, it is imperative that all stakeholders are always well looked after. Investment valuation, investor services and NAV reporting, as well as timely reporting to investors and the regulator, is imperative for funds to be considered as a serious operator. Therefore, the choice of the service provider with the right experience and infrastructure makes a big difference.
Where are you currently seeing the most growth for corporate services across the continent?
The focus of the AXYS group is on the African continent and we have been present in Kenya since 2015. We are now expanding our footprint in Africa with new offices to be opened in the coming months. More and more funds are looking to structure through Mauritius to take advantage of the investment opportunities in Africa.
Particularly for corporate finance, our focus remains on sub-Saharan Africa since we are seeing more corporate finance deals coming out of the region.
How does Orbitt help you with your business development process?
Orbitt, through its platform, is a very powerful business development tool given the ability to have access to deals that are happening on the continent. On the basis that each deal potentially represents a corporate structure or a fundraising opportunity, it fits well within our objectives. Through our network, we believe that we can also add value by being a service provider matchmaker through Orbitt.