Cyprus, continuing its heritage as an international business ‘meeting point’ through the centuries, constitutes today an attractive jurisdiction for doing international business, with excellent legal and taxation systems.
The Fiduciary sector – coming from the Latin words fides (faith) and fiducia (trust) – in Cyprus is a business field of great importance. The sector has been a major contributor to the country’s GDP for the last 20 years, as well as a major employer of thousands of educated professionals. Additionally, it contributes greatly in attracting foreign investments to the island into many other sectors of the Cyprus economy.
Since December 2012, the provision of fiduciary services is regulated by the Law Regulating Companies Providing Administrative Services and Related Matters (Ο Περί της Ρύθμισης των Επιχειρήσεων Παροχής Διοικητικών Υπηρεσιών και Συναφών Θεμάτων Νόμος του 2012). As per the Law, the following services constitute Administrative Services, and anyone providing them should acquire a licence:
- The management or directing of trusts including, without limitation, the undertaking or provision of trustee (commissioner), wherever these are created or established, or the management or investment or marketing of assets of a trust.
- The undertaking or provision of the service of managing companies, including, but not limited, to the management or the managing of companies, general or limited partnerships, or other organisations with or without separate legal personality anywhere these may be registered or established and the provision of the following services:
- providing directors for legal persons;
- secretary, or assistant secretary of legal persons;
- holding the share capital of legal persons and registering the holder in the respective registers of shareholders on behalf of third persons;
- provision of address of registered office and or the official mail and or electronic address of companies;
- provision of general or limited partners in partnerships;
- provision of other similar services, or in conjunction with services described above, in relation to other legal persons or organisations, with or without separate legal personality;
- opening or managing bank accounts;
- safe keeping of financial instruments on behalf of clients, including acting as depositary, as defined in Annex III, Part II, paragraph 1 of the Investments Services and Activities and Regulated Markets Law, and other related services, unless this is provided as an ancillary service by an IF in the framework of the Investment Services and Activities and Regulated Markets Law.
The supervisory authority is the Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission (CySEC). The following are exempted from the enforcement field of this Law:
- (i) a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC), (ii) a general or limited partnership or a limited liability company whose majority of general partners and directors are members of ICPAC, and (iii) a subsidiary company, owned directly or indirectly, by any of the above,
- (i) a lawyer and or a limited liability company as defined in the Advocates Law, (ii) a general partnership or limited partnership whose general partners are lawyers or a limited liability company and (iii) a subsidiary company, owned directly or indirectly, by any of the above,
who are regulated by the Boards of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC) and the Cyprus Bar Association (CBA), respectively, in their capacity as Competent Authorities in the framework of the Prevention and Suppression of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Law.