Michel Soler is the Managing Director for Latin America at Henley & Partners.
Brazil is the leading economy in Latin America and the Caribbean, a region that is home to over 669 million people and just over 8% of the world’s population. Understanding this diverse region often requires overriding engraved misconceptions and a deeper analysis of its unique dynamics.
While it may be obvious that political stability, economic growth, and social steadiness are not its most favorable angles, Latin America’s resilience has seen it mature from a heterogeneous group of developing nations to a geostrategic bloc of countries in the international arena.
Surprisingly, over the next decade, wealth growth is expected to rise for Latin America’s most dynamic countries (Brazil 45%, Mexico 50%, Colombia 60%, Chile 65%, according to New World Wealth). Consequently, the total number of millionaires, centi-millionaires, and billionaires will also increase to record highs. These high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals are more than ever exposed to international investment opportunities and a sophisticated wealth management environment, where asset managers, private bankers, and estate planners continue to flourish.
Numerous fiscal framework reforms, complex tax amnesties, and stricter transparency regulations across Latin America have contributed to a surge in demand for specialized and tailored services, resulting in a wealth management boom in recent years.
As wealthy individuals transcend their socio-economic status, the region is likely to see further outbound millionaire migration. According to the Henley Private Wealth Migration Dashboard, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico were forecast to suffer among the highest net losses of millionaires in 2023, with more millionaires exiting their countries of origin and relocating to more stable, wealth-attracting nations than arriving.
Latin American investors and entrepreneurs frequently rely on investment migration as a powerful tool to enhance their global mobility, jurisdictional diversification, and asset protection.
The Spain Residence by Investment Program remains a favorite among Ibero-American nationals given its shortened path to citizenship of two years for them, and the close historical and cultural ties to the host country.
Brazilian appetite for the Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program is strongly reflected in the historical number of approvals of Brazilian applicants since its inception, with Brazil the second largest nationality after China.
Wealthy Mexican investors traditionally have the US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program and Canada Start-Up Visa Program on their radars to provide educational, career, and business opportunities for their children and family members. Given the geographic proximity, increased trade ties, and economic integration in North America, Henley & Partners expects to see a larger number of applications from high-net-worth Mexican families in the coming years.