Labuan Financial Services Authority (“Labuan FSA”) has re-issued the Guidelines on establishment of Labuan mutual funds including Islamic mutual funds which came into effect on 1 January 2014 (the “Guidelines”).
The mutual fund or fund sector in Labuan is allowed to be structured as a Labuan company, partnership, protected cell company (“PCC”), foundation or unit trust. You may also set up Labuan Islamic mutual funds operating in compliance with Shariah principles.
Mutual fund activities mean:
- collects and pools funds for the purpose of collective investment with the aim of spreading investment risk; and
- issues interests in a mutual fund which entitles the holder to redeem his investments that is agreed upon by the parties and received an amount computed by reference to the value of a proportionate interest in the whole or part of the net assets of the aforesaid types of entities, as the case may be,
and includes an umbrella fund whose interests in a mutual fund or units are split into a number of different class funds or sub-funds and whose participants are entitled to exchange rights in one part for rights in another.
TYPES OF MUTUAL FUND
- PRIVATE FUND
- PUBLIC FUND
- MAXIMUM 50 INVESTORS
First time investment by each investor is NOT LESS than RM 250,000 (equivalent in Non-Ringgit);
UNLIMITED NUMBER OF INVESTORS
First time investment by each investor is NOT LESS RM 500,000 (equivalent in Non-Ringgit)
- Not offered to general public
- Fund manager need not be licenced
- No approval required from Labuan FSA
- Notification to Labuan FSA prior to launching of fund by submission of fund offering documents
COMMON TYPES OF FUND VEHICLES
Ordinary shareholder & Preference shareholder(s)
- LIMITED PARTNERSHIPS
General Partner & Limited Partner(s)
- UNIT TRUSTS
Trustee & Unitholder(s)
EXAMPLE OF MUTUAL FUND STRUCTURE
INFORMATION MEMORANDUM OF LABUAN PRIVATE FUND
Information memorandum of Labuan private fund should provide full, true and plain disclosure of all facts and circumstances that would facilitate a reasonable assessment by a prospective investor in determining whether to purchase or subscribe to the private fund and shall contain at least the following disclosures:-
- General Information
- Investment Strategy
- Financial Results
- Redemption Policy
- Material Changes
LABUAN IBFC TAX SYSTEM
Labuan Business Activity Tax Act 1990 (“LBATA”) governs the imposition, assessment and collection of tax on a Labuan business activity carried on by a Labuan entity in, from or through Labuan. Only Labuan entities carrying on a Labuan business activity are chargeable to tax under the LBATA.
Labuan entities that carry on a non-Labuan business activity are subject to the provisions of the Malaysian Income Tax Act, 1967 (ITA).
“Labuan business activity” means:
- a Labuan trading or a Labuan non-trading activity carried out by a Labuan entity;
- activities carried on in, from or through Labuan;
- business currency other than Malaysian currency;
- activities carried out with non-resident or with another Labuan entity
“Labuan non-trading activity” means an activity relating to the holding of investments in securities, stock, shares, loans, deposits or any other properties by a Labuan entity on its own behalf. Such activity is not subject to tax under LBATA.
“Labuan trading activity” includes banking, insurance, trading, management, licensing, shipping operations or any other activity which is not a Labuan non-trading activity. The Labuan entity shall pay either 3% of net profits as per audited accounts OR RM20,000/- upon election annually.
Labuan company carrying on both Labuan trading and non-trading activities will be deemed to be carrying on Labuan trading activities. Hence, it will have the same tax treatment as those undertaking Labuan trading activity mentioned above.
KEY BENEFITS OF MUTUAL FUNDS IN LABUAN
- Flexible structure – in the form of Labuan company, partnership, protected cell company, foundation or unit trust.
- Support multiclass fund – multi currency / asset class.
- Hassle free private fund set-up – no approval required, fund manager need not be licensed, fund manager can be based outside Labuan / Malaysia.
- Simple tax structure.
- Withholding tax exemption on payments made to non-residents.
- No stamp duty on instruments relating to offshore business activities including share transfer.
- No foreign exchange controls.
- No capital gain tax, inheritance tax.
- Double Tax Agreements between Malaysia and over 70 countries
- Strategically situated in the Asia Pacific region and sharing a common time zone with many large Asian cities
- 50% tax abatement for expatriate professionals and managers employed under Labuan companies
- 100% exemption for director’s fees received by non-citizen directors of Labuan companies