The Foundation is an alternative vehicle to Trust and is convenient for succession planning and private wealth management. It is the dedication of property to an entity to be used for the benefit of people for a specific purpose.
A Foundation is in many respects similar to corporate entities but benefit from the protection and continuity derived from the use of trusts. It has no members or shareholders, and is in most cases established to reflect the wishes of the founder, who may be an individual or a corporate entity. These wishes are included within the Foundation’s Charter and Regulations. Foundations can be established for a fixed or indefinite period of time and can be used for charitable, commercial or family purposes.
Foundations are an essential tool when structuring the ownership of family and corporate assets and are generally important where trusts are not generally recognised. In jurisdictions where the concept of trusts is less well known, Foundations are being used increasingly.
The Mauritius Foundations Act 2012 offers one of the most versatile and dynamic Foundations available from any jurisdiction and further promote the jurisdiction as a platform for wealth management services, succession and estate planning.
A Foundation may upon application to the Financial Services Commission of Mauritius, hold a global business licence and may elect to be tax resident in Mauritius to benefit from the wide network of Double Taxation Agreements (“DTAs”) in force in Mauritius.
Where are Foundations used?
- Private relationship: For example, the founder’s wishes are not publicly registered;
- Accumulation and preservation of wealth;
- Succession and estate planning;
- Separation of voting and economic benefits;
- Employee share option schemes;
- Pension funds;
- Charitable purposes;
- International tax planning.
Types of Assets that can be Held by a Foundation
- Shares and stocks in both listed and private companies;
- Investment portfolios;
- Real estate;
- Intellectual property;
- Bank deposits;
- Most other types of assets.
The salient features of the Mauritius Foundation are as follows:
- It could be set-up intervivos (by Charter) or by Will;
- It could be set-up to benefit persons, class of persons or to carry out a purpose which may be charitable, non-charitable or both;
- It would have to be managed by a Council which should comprise of at least one member ordinarily resident in Mauritius;
- It would require a secretary in Mauritius which would need to be licensed by the Financial Services Commission;
- It would need to have a registered office in Mauritius;
- When registered it would have a separate legal personality;
- It would need to keep proper books of accounts and keep its records in Mauritius at its registered office;
- It would not be subject to being set aside by a Mauritius Court and a Mauritius Court would not recognise the validity of any claim against the property of the Foundation pursuant to the law of another jurisdiction or the order of a court of another jurisdiction;
- Where the founder and all the beneficiaries are non-resident (or if set-up for a purpose, that purpose being carried out of Mauritius) it would be exempt from tax in Mauritius.
A Foundation is created by registering the following particulars extracted from its Charter:
- The name of the Foundation;
- The date of the Charter; and any amendment made to the Charter before its submission to the Registrar;
- The purpose and objects of the Foundation;
- The date of the Articles, if any, of the Foundation and any amendments made to them before its submission to the Registrar;
- Name and address of the Founder;
- Details of the beneficiaries or the manner in which the beneficiaries may be appointed or removed;
- The name and address of the secretary;
- The name and address of the Council Members;
- The address of the Registered Office of the Foundation;
- The Period, if any, for which the Foundation is established.
Where the Registrar is satisfied that an application for registration complies with the Foundation Act, it shall issue a Certificate of Registration.
Management and Governance
The Foundation is managed by a Council which carries out the objectives and purposes of the Foundation. Similar to Trustees, Council may have the power to appoint new beneficiaries and determine the extent and nature of beneficial rights.