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Planners to cash in on SIV scheme

The government’s Significant Investor Visa program presents client generation opportunities for the financial planning industry, according to commercial law firm Baker & McKenzie.

Financial services regulation partner Bill Fuggle and senior associate Sam Appleton say that the immigration program – which will see high net worth foreigners entering Australia on temporary visas for investment purposes – will have widespread benefits for the business community, including financial planners.

“If migrant investors have [a minimum of] $5 million to invest for SIV purposes, they are likely to have other assets for which they will require advice and planning services,” the lawyers wrote in an upcoming article for ifa magazine.

“The structure of the SIV program allows migrants to test the waters under the temporary visa before deciding to settle in Australia permanently.

“We consider the need for financial planning services will be greatest at the point during the initial four-year temporary visa period when the migrant investor decides to settle in Australia permanently.”

Given that more than 90 per cent of the 400 SIV applications already filed with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship have been from Chinese citizens, Fuggle and Appleton recommend that planners increase their knowledge of Chinese language and culture.

Some financial services firms have already begun developing joint ventures with China-domiciled companies in anticipation of the influx of SIV investors the lawyers explained – a trend they say will likely continue.

“While the sheer size of funds involved makes SIV migrants an attractive target and client base, sourcing SIV clients may prove difficult if existing distribution channels have few Chinese relationships,” they wrote.