This past week, our team attended the 6th Annual IIUSA EB-5 Industry Forum. While it was an honor to be a Premier Platinum sponsor and to hear Executive Vice President Reid Thomas speak on EB-5 program integrity, the invaluable experience of joining over 400 industry peers for two days was as refreshing as it was insightful. Here are four takeaways from the event.
- Envisioning the future: Investors in future EB-5 projects will be significantly more diverse, as investors from Mainland China face extended waiting periods. Brazil, Lebanon, Egypt, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates have been tabbed as prospective new markets, with Turkey, Nigeria, and Western Europe in the fold.
- Navigating the now: The elephant in the room was, of course, the short-term extension of the EB-5 Regional Center program and the uncertainty of the now. Texas Representative Michael McCaul addressed the need for re-authorization with improved procedures for national security and fraud, even though the hot topic of conversation was proposed integrity measures.
- Expect regulatory oversight: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is taking steps toward fraud prevention. Michelle Layne, Regional Director of the SEC’s Los Angeles regional office, provided valuable insights. Similar to regulation in more traditional funds, the SEC will conduct thorough examinations of books and records to identify and trace funds, subpoena bank records, and crack down on disclosure discrepancies and issues regarding broker registration.
- EB5 is working: Given the large sums of money inherent in the EB-5 program, it is easy to get tied up in the $15 billion of foreign direct investment and the valuation of new American jobs. But among the most memorable moments of the past week was meeting EB-5 project investors that successfully obtained green cards and were granted permanent residence in the United States. In addition to seeing clients, partners, and other familiar faces at our booth, it was a good reminder that there’s a dynamic human element to the EB-5 program.
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