I recently attended the Advanced & Practical In-Depth EB-5 Finance Workshop in Dallas, TX. The agenda included very informative topics.
After the introductions by Brian Su of Artisan Business Group the sessions began.
Laura Reiff, Co-Managing Shareholder with Greenberg Traurig, spoke about the USCIS upcoming move from California to Washington D.C. and the recent hiring of an individual with an immigration background who will oversee the USCIS. The outlook is that Regional Center approvals will be quicker and the process will be more streamlined. She also mentioned that there are 100% RFEs on I-924 petitions.
Kate Kalmykov, Counsel at Greenberg Traurig, spoke about Tenant Occupancy issues. On December 20, 2012, USCIS provided some new guidance and has indicated that they will look at each situation on a case by case basis. She mentioned that Brokers are apprehensive about marketing project that may have tenant occupancy issues. This will continue to be a challenge. Matter of Ho continues to be used as the method of compliance for Regional Center approvals. Escrows continue to be the best practice for securely holding investors funds. She mentioned NES Financial as the leading provider with high recommendation.
Phil Cohen of Strategic Element Consulting, gave an overview of creating the right business plan. He mentioned that the trend is for developers to seek out less than 70% of funding from EB-5 capital. Phil gave a business plan outline to meet Matter of Ho requirements. He indicated that the plans should have a good business description, market analysis, marketing strategy, development plan, list the organization and management, site the job creation and contain financial information.
Steve Anapoell, shareholder and attorney with Greenberg Traurig, spoke of Securities Issues and Due Diligence for EB-5. He indicated that a majority of the new Request for Evidence (RFE) are looking at securities issues. Additionally, the SEC is looking very closing for violation in securities laws. He advises that all Regional Centers and project principals take a look at the following to make sure they are in compliance; Securities Act of 1933, Investment Company Act of 1940, Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Investment Advisers Act of 1940.
Brian Su of Artisan Business Group, gave an update on the Chinese Market and spoke about some of the top projects that are being marketed in China. Most of which NES Financial is providing escrow solutions to. He mentioned that there is growing competition for Regional Center and EB-5 projects. Chinese Brokers tend to promote the larger projects, which becomes a challenge for smaller projects to get attention.
Michael Gibson of USAdvisors.org, spoke about his website EB5info.com. His comprehensive website provides valuable information on all areas related to EB-5. He provided a sneak peek of his new platform, EB5M.com. This platform will allow potential investors to view a project and obtain specific information as it relates to the project. This platform will assist smaller projects in raising EB-5 capital. It will also report on fraud or misrepresentation as well as provide information on how many I-526 have been approved per project. I found that the platform will be very useful in the industry.
Overall, the event was highly informative, as always Brian Su put on a great event. I look forward to not only attending more of Brian’s events, but also sponsoring some! I always learn something new.