The benefits of setting up a Managed Trustee Company in the Cook Islands
The ability to access the Cook Islands strong legal and regulatory framework as well as its independent and robust judicial system, without the need to establish a physical presence, has always been an option for those looking to carry on trustee company business in the Cook Islands. The cost of setting up and maintaining a business can therefore be avoided, whilst enjoying the benefits available, through the use of a managed trustee company (MTC).
To further encourage trust and company service providers to consider the Cook Islands as a location for their business, the Cook Islands Financial Supervisory Commission has issued a guidance note on MTC business (the Guidelines) to provide certainty and clarity as to the regulatory regime applicable to MTCs as well as to assist with operational matters.
A MTC in the Cook Islands is one that is licensed under the Trustee Companies Act 2014 without the need for a physical presence in the Cook Islands. Instead, it has its trust company business managed by a licensed trust company (“LTC”) that does have a physical presence. A MTC is required to submit a full licensing application to the Commission and will be subject to the same regulatory and anti-money laundering legislation as a LTC.
The MTC is not required to have a resident director, although the Commission may require a director be present for any audit or onsite inspection. It can conduct its business and keep its records at the offices of the LTC. That LTC can also provide the money laundering reporting officer and compliance officer (as required by legislation) to the MTC.
A MTC provides the licensee the benefits of having a trust company business license without the cost of establishing and maintaining an office in the Cook Islands. It allows the licensee time to develop its business before deciding to establish a physical presence.