Belize is a reputable, well-regulated jurisdiction offering cost-saving and efficient financial services. The jurisdiction has one of the most attractive, modern and comprehensive offshore mutual fund laws in the world. Belize Mutual Funds Act 2000 establishes regulatory environment for operation of mutual funds in Belize, and generally protects the interests of mutual fund investors. The competent and non-excessive regulation of Belize mutual funds provides for easier and quicker establishment process and low administration costs.
The Mutual Funds Act states general licensing requirements for Belize Mutual funds. The Belize Registrar of Mutual Funds issued a number of additional Regulations and Policy Guidelines, which actually regulate the practical application of the Mutual Funds Act. The Policy Guidelines issued by International Financial Services Commission contain a very detailed description of all the conditions that are applied to any applicant who wishes to be licensed in Belize as fund manager or administrator.
The Belize Mutual Funds Act regulates the three main areas: Private and Professional Funds and their registration, Public Funds, and licensing of Fund Managers and Administrators. Private funds are funds with less than 50 investors; the funds of this type are not allowed by law to offer its share to the public. Public Funds can offer their shares to the general public. Professional funds are available only to professional investors. The initial investment required to professional mutual funds should be not less than US$100,000.
From all the types of funds, Public Fund requires the highest level of regulation. It needs registration before it can operate from or within the country, while other types of mutual funds can be recognized under the Belize Mutual Funds Act being already registered in another jurisdiction; the government requires this fund to issue annual audited financial statements.
All kinds of Belize-registered offshore mutual funds enjoy flexibility of structure and an access to great number of investment options and strategies. For Belizean mutual funds, there are no minimum capital requirements and statutory limitations. Investment funds incorporated in Belize also enjoy minimal or no-tax status on income and profits, capital gains and dividends. The commissions, fees and profits of fund managers, administrators and advisors are also either liable to minimal taxation, or exempted from tax. There are no exchange controls or restrictions on financial transfers that apply to Belize offshore mutual funds.
As regards the investment policies, investment instruments and borrowing powers of Belize-incorporated Mutual Funds, there are no statutory limitations, and they are regulated by internal documents of the fund — Memorandum and Articles of Association, Prospectus, Placement Memorandum, Offering Circular, etc.