The popularity of the EB-5 program has grown exponentially over the past few years. More and more Regional Centers (RCs) are being approved by the USCIS, and some of those entering the space are large experienced companies, thereby significantly increasing the level of competition for investors. In some cases, newly approved Regional Centers may find it a little daunting to compete with longer running, more established, big brand RCs. There are several marketing strategies that every new and existing Regional Center can follow to help ensure a higher chance of success.
1) Develop the best channel to investors and stay involved. Prospective foreign investors have many choices when considering which project to invest in. With direct overseas marketing, you are able to leverage the understanding of the in-country culture and the network of your channel partners to speak to investors directly about why they should invest in your project versus a competitor’s. Align yourself with proven partners that value your project and can help you develop a pipeline of prospects. Taking the time to interact directly with and getting to know these investors can go a long way. It also provides hands-on knowledge as to any objections with respect to the project or channel, so that you can address it.
2) Follow best practices, focus on the needs of your investor first, and do things the right way. The life cycle of EB-5 is lengthy, so it is essential to start off the process with the proper procedures and setups in place. The level of competition is increasing. The level of professionalism for operational and internal systems that support the needs of your investors matter. Remember, the investor is primarily interested in achieving a green card. To that end, all of the systems and processes implemented should support that requirement. A successful financial win for the issuer, but a negative result for the investor, is not the reputation you want to have.
3) Opt for more conservative and investor friendly escrow structures. Using an escrow agent who is experienced, knowledgeable, and ethical is crucial to having the best project around. Investors also appreciate a Regional Center that takes the time to ensure the highest levels of security, transparency, and compliance are in place. As a general practice, more conservative escrow terms usually result in higher project success rates.
4) Anticipate and implement procedures that exceed the oversight requirements of the industry. The USCIS and the SEC have gotten more involved with EB-5, resulting in Regional Centers having to step up their operational game. Recently, Senator Tom A. Coburn sent a letter to all RCs asking for Regional Centers to submit detailed information about operations in a short period of time. Independent of whether this request was in-bounds or not, Regional Centers should view this as an opportunity. Those that embrace best practices can readily provide this information, and those that do not will require more time and work to respond to the request. If your RC was part of the latter group, this presents a chance to evaluate your operational processes moving forward. Utilizing the resources of valuable players like IIUSA, whose mission has always been to make the program a permanent and successful part of U.S. economic policy, can also be very helpful in tackling challenges along the way.
5) Focus on the basics. For your project to be successful, no detail can be overlooked. Pay attention to every step from start to finish, and exercise the highest levels of care and caution in whatever you do. The EB-5 Regional Centers who succeed are the ones who take every detail seriously and invest the time and money needed to ensure that the highest quality operational systems are in place.
While it may seem like this is an additional burden, by working with the right partner, many of these processes can be achieved quickly and efficiently. NES Financial is the leading provider of EB-5 solutions, having developed products specifically for the industry. Our EB-5 suite of solutions helps Regional Centers streamline operations throughout the entire life cycles of the investment and immigration processes.
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