There are multiple ways you can invest in Portugal to secure your golden visa residency permit. The fund investment category is a recent addition that offers investors a more sophisticated & diversified portfolio. Despite significant growth in the number of funds now available, only a handful of these funds get the lions’ share of inflows. The question is why they are more attractive and how can you be sure it is the best fund for you.
Since the Portuguese Golden Visa fund industry is relatively young it lacks long term performance data. Investors are often told that ”Past performance is no guarantee of future returns'', yet it is human nature to look for a track record as part of our risk assessment when we invest. To fill this void, an investor can assess several key criteria to help with risk assessment.
Here are my top 5 tips to help you with your assessment:
1- Team – who is the fund manager and who is the advisor
It is important to understand the difference between fund managers and fund advisors. While their roles differ, they work in tandem to ensure the success of the fund. The fund manager is regulated by the CMVM (Portuguese Securities Market Commission) and takes care of client KYC, fund compliance, rules & regulations.
On the other hand, fund advisors conceptualise and promote their strategies within the legal framework offered by the fund managers. The regulatory side gives us structure and compliance, but the fund advisors are key to the investment strategy that ultimately produces the returns. Part of your research should thus be who the fund advisors are and what their track record is in terms of industry expertise. They may not have a 10 year FUND track record, but if you are looking at a fund that invests for instance in prime real estate, the fund advisory team should have prime real estate experience.
2- Conflicts of Interest
You should ask about potential conflicts of interest within the investment portfolio. There are for instance fund advisors who are also developers and exclusively invest in their own developments. This will be clearly stated in the fund mandate. Many of these developers have vast existing portfolios that offer good investment opportunities so this strategy is not necessarily good or bad, just a different mandate & risk profile that you should be comfortable with.
3- The Funds’ Risk Profile
Perceived risk is subjective and specific to each investor. I assess risk based on diversification, expected ROI’s, size of the fund and protection mechanisms. For me a well diversified fund invests in multiple asset classes across different sectors of the economy. This can include prime real estate, development stage risk, commercial investments, other geographic market exposure, retirement projects, health sector, touristic investment and agriculture. Ask your fund advisor to explain the expected return on investment, the size of the fund and term of investment. Ask what downside protection mechanisms are built into their strategy as you want your capital to be preserved.
4- Fee Structure
While fees are basic Investing 101, it is important enough to be included in this list. Fees include subscription fees, annual management fees as well as performance based fees at exit. I prefer performance based fees over higher annual management fees as it aligns the funds interests with yours as an investor.
5- Exit Strategy
Ultimately your capital gain is realised towards the end of the investment term and is very much dependent on the successful execution of the exit strategy. Here are a few questions to ask to clarify the funds’ strategy:
§ How will the fund sell the underlying assets - is it phased or a one-time event?
§ Who will they be selling the assets to – who is the end user?
§ Does the fund outline various exit strategies across different asset classes?
§ Is there more than one exit strategy to protect you?
The Key Take-Away
I always look at a Golden Visa investment, be it real estate or a fund, from a pure investment point of view. Take a moment to ask yourself the question, “Would I consider this investment as part of my global portfolio if there was no Golden Visa attached?” In other words, does this investment make sense from a financial point of view with the Golden Visa being simply a bonus?
Researching the 5 key markers will help any potential investor answer these questions and invest with confidence.