What We Think

May 17, 2023

Driving a Corptech Revolution: Our Partnership with Binderr

At Seed we have always prided ourselves in approaching anything we do with a unique perspective. We have been working with Binderr in delivering the corporate services platform which is already helping many CSPs be more efficient and effective. This article is about why we embarked on this journey.


The corporate services industry has historically seen limited technological integration. At Seed, we view this not as a hurdle, but as an opportunity for innovation.

Together with Binderr, we are focusing on harnessing technology to make our operations quicker, easier, and more accurate. By integrating Binderr's platform we are not only enhancing our own service efficiency but are also setting a precedent for the industry.

Our collaboration with Binderr is a key step towards driving a tech revolution within our industry. Binderr's technology prowess will provide any CSP using the platform with a formidable advantage, enabling them to deliver smarter, more responsive corporate services.

Binderr’s technology is helping other Corporate Service Providers (CSPs) to manage larger client portfolios with smaller teams. By leveraging Binderr's technology for automated updates to registers, structures, document creation and so much more, CSPs can be confident in their client's compliance, freeing them up to focus on other value-adding tasks.

Through this collaboration, we aim to streamline complex processes, reduce operational costs, and enhance accuracy, all while ensuring total compliance. This will result in a significant leap in service delivery standards for clients, setting a new benchmark in the industry.

In essence, our partnership with Binderr represents a considerable leap towards a technology-driven future. We're enthusiastic about the potential this holds and remain dedicated to catalyzing innovation in the corporate services space. With Binderr alongside us, we're geared up to usher in a new era for corporate services.

We believe the collaboration with Binderr signifies more than a partnership; it's a testament to the game-changing power of technology. As we leverage Binderr's technological prowess, the corptech revolution in corporate services is not just a vision anymore; it's becoming a reality.


Many of our clients ask us about the tax implications of obtaining citizenship through the Naturalisation by Direct Investment route, in Malta. Firstly, it is important to note that there is no direct relationship between obtaining citizenship in Malta and being taxable therein.

Once an individual obtains Maltese citizenship, as part of the above-mentioned programme, he/ she will not be automatically deemed tax resident or domiciled in Malta, simply as a result of becoming a Maltese citizen. The attainment of tax residence or tax domicile in Malta depends on a number of other factors, which are totally separate from the citizenship process.

An individual will be deemed to be tax resident in Malta if such individual resides in Malta for more than 6 months in one calendar year or resides in Malta with the intent to establish his or her residence therein. Once an individual is deemed to be tax resident in Malta, they are taxable on:

  1. Income and Capital Gains arising in Malta;
  2. Foreign income which is received in Malta.

Any other income or gains would not be taxable.

Therefore, whilst an individual could become tax resident in Malta as a result of the number of days spent here, there is no automatic link between obtaining Maltese citizenship and being taxable in Malta.


The concept of ‘domicile’, on the other hand, is distinct from nationality and residence. Every individual is born with a domicile of origin, typically this would be the domicile of their parents. An individual could change one’s domicile, to a domicile of choice. This is done by severing all ties with one’s previous domicile with an intent to never return and to establish themselves and all their ties, in the new domicile of choice.  Here again, the concept of obtaining citizenship in Malta does not result in one being deemed to be tax domiciled there.

Typically, taxation always comes into play when individuals relocate from one country to another. This could be both as a result of become taxable in a new country or of any exit taxes applicable in the country where one would be relocating from. It is important to understand when and if such taxes would apply, prior to simply deciding on which citizenship or residence route seems most attractive.


Nicky Gouder

Partner, Seed Consultancy


January 2023

What We Think

May 17, 2023

Transparency in the Investment Migration Industry

Amongst the three most common categories of arguments brought against the investment migration industry, being that the industry is a "security threat", the outcomes are ethically "objectionable", and there is a lack of transparency across the industry. This transparency argument offers opportunity for standardisation within the industry.

It is indeed the case that investment migration programmes have the capacity to become a great deal more forthcoming with regards to the timely disclosure of key data. While it may be difficult to access the industry from a security or ethical view point, it is within the industry's power to demonstrate high levels of transparency and, thereby, to neutralise and invalidate at least one of the three main criticisms against it.

Investment Migration programmes across the globe differ greatly in their level of transparency. Standardisation of transparency is key to improve the image of the industry and maintain a low level of negative press. Information in terms of the criteria by which applicants are approved or rejected, in terms of the statistics regarding the number of application each year, the origin and nationality if the applicants, the fiscal amounts they contribute, and conclusively how the money raised through investment migration programmes is spent by government needs? to be made public.

But transparency, while a justifiable ideal, must be balanced with the key principle of privacy.

The majority of applicants, such as those born into autocratic jurisdictions, have legitimate and morally justifiable reasons for wishing to limit the number of individuals and organizations aware of citizenship and residence status. Publishing specific information  of applicants from certain countries could jeopardize their safety from unjust persecution, as well as complicate the CRBI country's diplomatic relations with the country of origin.

The two aims of transparency and privacy are in direct conflict and, since neither may be dispensed with in favour of the other, the industry continually grapples with need for a compromise. There is a line which needs to be between showing the media, and intragovernmental bodies that the industry has nothing to hide, whilst also demonstrating to applicants that their personal data will be respected.

To that end, it is important to provide frank, objective, and measurable benchmarks and standards of transparency by which investment migration programmes can evaluate themselves and each other. The hope is that standardised benchmark for transparency in the industry will instigate public and private debate, self-reflection as programme administrators, and ultimately lead to lasting improvements in investment migration industry.

For further information on the above kindly contact:

Nicky Gouder  Jessica Debono  Rachel Micallef

What We Think

May 17, 2023

Regulating the platform economy

Over the past few years, the world has started going through a new economic revolution, disrupting the economy, businesses, labour markets and our daily lives in a way not seen since the industrial revolution. Driven by technological innovations and increased online connectivity, the role of digital labour market matching is rising. At the heart of this change is the rise of the platform economy. COVID has only accelerated this revolution.

Due to the lockdown measures, most activities have moved online, this proving to be a lifesaver for some, especially in the restaurant business. The pandemic has led to an increase in the use of online services and an increase in the breadth of users, including those who were not using such services before. As the COVID-19 crisis is lasting, the shifts in consumer behaviour may last as well. Closure of shops and travel restrictions have impacted many sectors of the economy. Businesses in the tourism, hospitality, transportation, and event-focused sectors have experienced the hardest economic shocks, while retailers had to turn to ecommerce to pursue their activities by plugging into online platforms and the associated ecosystem including last-mile delivery. It is here that the platform economy has proven to be instrumental for a number of agents. In the case of food delivery platforms, these fulfilled several differing needs by different economic agents. Sellers that needed last-mile delivery; buyers that wanted to enjoy the variety of meals from the comfort of their home and workers that wanted to work within their flexible parameters. It may be argued that digital platforms have improved the lives of consumers, by enhancing the quality, cost and accessibility of services

While the gig economy has been talked about for years, the rise of the economy through digital platforms is relatively new. As the platform economy evolves, there are both new opportunities as well as new challenges that arise with heightened complexity. The current debate on the working conditions of couriers and the recently issued guidelines issued by the DIER are a case in point.

However, let’s start from the basics.


What is the platform economy?

The platform economy is a complex phenomenon that is significantly disrupting the general concept of what is referred to as normal jobs. It is any type of digital platform that uses the internet to connect dispersed networks of individuals to facilitate digital interactions between people. Within the platform economy there is a triangular relationship between three parties; the platform; the worker and the customer or customers as in the case of food delivery the customers are both the restaurant owners and the end-user. It is the job of the platform to connect people with demand, the customer/s, to people that provide supply, the worker.

Traditional linear business models create value through creating products and services that are sold to a customer. Platform based business models on the other hand, create their value by connecting users, both consumers and producers, on an online network. The platform does not own the means of production, but rather creates the means of connection. The strength of the platform economy lies in its ability to eliminate trade barriers by using increased information sharing between different players. This creates a much more open economic system, with much greater participation of its users. And this where the concept of equity comes in.


Is there hope for an equitable platform economy?

As with many other technological change and disruption, the platform economy forces us to re-evaluate laws and regulations. There needs to be some sort of regulatory catch-up in terms of laws and regulations and ultimately in enforcement.

Unfortunately, we often talk about platform workers as one big cohort. There is huge diversity in the type of platform workers. One can differentiate between three main cohorts of workers; first, the primarily dependent worker who fully relies on the earnings of the platform; the partially dependent worker who uses the platform as a part-time job; and the supplemental worker who uses the platform to create supplemental earnings. In addition, the platform economy has also been a very inclusive employment market giving people the ability of finding flexibility that suits their lifestyle or commitments.

Given the surge in demand from end-users for delivery services, businesses providing couriers to platform operators have been established. It is here that platform companies do not have visibility of the conditions that these couriers are being subject to. It is also here that the true challenge exists, and it is where codes of conduct and charters, together with a renewed regulatory framework are needed which will then be followed by enforcement. Given the complexities it might also be time to discuss a new employment category that seeks to protect workers whilst still supporting the inherent flexibility of platform workers.

Done right, we can shape a fair future of work. The platform economy is here to stay. It is important for stakeholders to come together and find the best route forward to bring an equitable platform economy for the benefit of all parties.


For further information on the above kindly contact:

JP Fabri

What We Think

May 17, 2023

The Effect of Global Crises on Investment Migration

Recent worldwide events have had an impact on most industries, including Investment Migration. The investment migration industry will keep having to change and adapt to the demands brought as a result. Brexit, Covid-19 and the recent ongoing Russia-Ukraine war between have had an impact on the demand and eligibility for residency and citizenship programmes, and the ways in which applications are submitted.

Unlike other sectors it seems that Investment Migration benefits from crisis, but why is this? According to the Investment Migration Executive 2021 survey of RCBI clients, 67% of the respondents chose the ‘need for mobility and the ability to travel freely’ as the main reason for obtaining citizenship or residence by investment. It is likely that recent events and crisis’s made individuals re-evaluate their priorities, leading them to seek access to countries which would provide a safer life for themselves and their families, this includes countries with a stronger health care system following the pandemic.

The most popular residence by investment programme in 2020 was that of Portugal’s Golden visa. With the Schengen zone being closed for most of 2020 high-net worth individuals realized the importance and value of having a European residence card. The freedom of movement is taken for granted until that freedom is taken away and the pandemic put a spotlight on the perks of having a 2nd residence.

The recurring extensions of the lockdown currently occurring in Shanghai, China and various restrictions imposed on Shanghai residents without advance warning is leaving them frustrated, concerned and uncertain on whether their lives will ever return to normal . This has spurred an increase in enquiries for obtaining a second residency or citizenship. In this specific case, the requests are leaning towards the increase of physical relocation and the relocation of applicants’ assets to RCBI countries.

The motivation for ultra-HNWI to secure alternative residence or citizenship is becoming more personal, with applicants looking to diversify not only their options for investments sake but to improve their lifestyles. For years to come, diversification of residency and citizenship through investment migration will be a robust and sustainable solution for ever changing social, political and economic circumstances.

Malta continues to provides a number of solutions to clients seeking relocation in terms of residence, tax residence and also citizenship. Get in touch with our team should you wish to organise a call to understand how we can assist.


For further information on the above kindly contact:

Nicky Gouder  Rachel Micallef  Jessica Debono 

May 17, 2023

Productivity matters

Productivity matters greatly for the wellbeing of every person in Malta. It is key to supporting high quality and rewarding jobs, and funding public services. Unlocking Malta’s productivity potential will help build a stronger more resilient economy that delivers inclusive and sustainable growth.

On February 22, the National Productivity Board launched the National Productivity Report 2021. The report, entitled Digital Malta, focuses on the role of the digital transformation as a tool that can foster productivity gains leading to improved economic outcomes and to a higher quality of life. The Report presents the outcomes of Digital Transformation Readiness Index that was rolled-out amongst a representative sample of Maltese firms to gauge their readiness to implement and reap the benefits of transformation.

The Index is aimed at shedding light on the micro foundations of digital transformation and firm readiness through twenty-two indicators across five main dimensions being governance & leadership, people & culture, capacity & capability, innovation, and technology. The results highlight very specific gaps in Malta’s digital ecosystem as well as in the readiness of companies across sectors, particularly the low-productivity ones, to truly embrace and internalise digital transformation. Based on the results, the report presents a holistic policy framework to support a digital Malta which will enable the country to achieve higher productivity. In addition, twenty-five specific recommendations are put forward across five enabling factors being talent & skills, research & innovation, financing & incentives, infrastructure & security, and policy & governance.

Despite Malta’s strong and resilient economic performance over the past few years, its productivity performance unmasks several structural economic challenges the country and specifically non-service-based sectors are facing. Malta has successfully steered its economy towards service-based sectors. This has led to the formation of two main sectoral-based clusters. The first cluster, represented by the gambling, information & communication, and other service-based sectors, presents higher-than-average productivity which generated a high-level of value-added with a leaner workforce. In contrast, the second cluster of more labour-intensive sectors has failed to generate high levels of productivity. Even when benchmarked against European countries, Malta’s non-service-based sectors are losing ground compared to other European countries highlighting reduced competitiveness and slower productivity gains. This has an impact on Malta’s national productivity and economic outcomes. Various other economic challenges exist that are structural in nature including unfavourable demographics, low educational outcomes, and fragmented ecosystems. Increasing productivity is the only way to maintain income growth and access to essential goods and services. Since the first industrial revolution, the introduction of new technologies has contributed to higher productivity in firms and in the economy. On this basis, the development and incorporation of new technologies into production processes is essential for growth.

There is no doubt that digital transformation is a key policy goal across many countries including the European Union and Malta as COVID has accelerated the push towards digital transformation. The digital agenda strongly promoted by the EU, supported by a clear strategy and generous funding mechanisms, provides a strong framework within which Malta can operate; membership of the envisaged Digital Single Market will also strengthen Malta’s competitive position. Malta’s digital readiness places it among the front-runners within the EU – Malta performed above the EU average across all five dimensions of the Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) in 2020 and ranked 5th out of the 27 EU Member States. With a strong policy vision, supported by an investment package of the European Union, particularly the Resilience and Recovery Fund, Malta is well-placed to capitalise and accelerate digital transformation.

Improving productivity is not only an important economic goal, but it can improve the quality of jobs and lead to an improved quality of life. It remains an important concept that needs to be understood and analysed properly. To this end, it is also being recommended that apart from this annual report, the National Productivity Board establishes a research programme and collates supporting datasets to assess and benchmark the driving factors behind productivity differentials between firms, and particularly Maltese firms, to build a broad evidence-base for further enterprise policy intervention. One such stream of research will be to further refine the proposed Digital Transformation Readiness Index and to have an annual report which can benchmark and trace sectoral developments towards digital transformation. Organisations, sectors, and countries are reimagining, reshaping, and retooling for a new era driven by fast technology developments which are impacting our daily lives, employment, consumption behaviours, business models and production processes. Embracing digital transformation has become a matter of survival and if harnessed fully, it can lead to productivity enhancements, improved growth and employment opportunities and better economic outcomes that ultimately can lead to improved quality of life.


What We Think

May 17, 2023

Update regarding press release issued by the Parliamentary Secretariat for Citizenship and Communities

In a Press Release issued by the Parliamentary Secretariat for Citizenship and Communities, dated the 2nd of March 2022, it was announced that all applications by nationals of the Russian Federation and Belarus with Community Malta Agency and Residency Malta Agency have been suspended. These agencies handle Malta’s Permanent Residency Programme and Citizenship for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment applications.

The press release states that as a result of the current situation in Ukraine, the due diligence checks required as part of the procedure of these investment migration applications cannot be effectively conducted. Therefore, all applications which are being processed by the authorities have been put on hold and submission of new applications will no be entertained. For applicants which already possess a Maltese residence card issued under these programmes, the residence card will remain valid during this suspension period and requests for renewal of expiring cards will be examined on a case-by-case basis.

Agencies have stated that they would also consider a review of the legally stipulated timelines should this suspension be lifted in the future.

For further information on the above kindly contact:

Nicky Gouder

What We Think

May 17, 2023

The economic importance of investment migration

Residence and citizenship-by-investment (RCBI) programmes enable individuals to acquire an additional residence or citizenship by making an exceptional economic contribution to another country. This is achieved by successfully completing the application process which comes with a RCBI programme.

These programmes are structured to attract much-needed foreign direct investment, and ensure that the investment contributes to the welfare, advancement and economic development of the country, primarily real estate development, business development and job creation. Interest in these programmes has accelerated in recent years thanks to a combination of factors including improved visa-free travel in many RCBI countries, business access to a new market, tax incentives, and more recently, the mobility issues brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

RCBI programmes must be run in a manner which is legal and transparent, in keeping with the constitution of the nation offering the residence and citizenship, and minimizing the risk of corruption and money laundering. Ensuring that the individual is also obtaining a sound legal right to their new permanent residence or citizenship.

High-net worth individuals from emerging market economies are driving the trend in the RCBI industry. Data from the US EB-5 programme, which allows foreigners to invest in real-estate projects in exchange for a fast-tracked green card application, highlights this shift in demographics. Whilst China is still the predominate source, making up about 80% of all applications, places like Vietnam, India and Brazil have been sources of growth in the past few years. European investment migration programmes are showing signs of the same trends, with applications from over 50 countries being registered. Furthermore, since Brexit there has been an interest from UK citizens for the first time.

Investment migration has forged new economic sectors and has enabled the development of cutting-edge infrastructure, start-ups and R&D programmes. Over the past few years, investment migration has been defined by growth and expansion, to reach an estimated global value of €20 billion. According to research conducted by the Investment Migration Council, almost 100 countries around the world now offer investment migration programmes, with some countries generating between 2 per cent and +30 per cent of their GDP from these programmes.

The COVID-19 pandemic is showing to have a far more devastating impact on the world economy than the 2008 global financial crisis, and has fostered a rise in individual interest in increasing the access to mobility by means of an additional residence or citizenship. Despite mobility being defined by travel restrictions, border closures and quarantine requirements, investment migration can be utilised to induce gains and add to economic recovery by attracting fresh capital and talent, and fueling much needed investment.

Investment migration is especially important for smaller countries, which are considered by international development agencies as economically and ecologically vulnerable. Revenues accruing to the RCBI programmes can substantially fund public infrastructure reconstruction, flows of foreign finance associated with investment migration have provided a significant contribution to public sector revenues, contributing to the improvement of health systems, bringing clean water, and an enhanced sanitation structure.


For further information on the above kindly contact:

Nicky Gouder

What We Think

May 17, 2023

UGlobal Article - 'The impact of the Ukraine war on the migration industry in Europe'

Seed's co-founder, Nicky Gouder, shares his insight on the impact which the war in #Ukraine is having on the #investment #migration industry published on Uglobal.



What We Think

May 17, 2023

2022. VUCA is the name of the game

What is VUCA?

Coined for military operations, the acronym for a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous external environment has become highly used in management and in economics when explaining operating environments. The past few years has reaffirmed that we are truly living in a VUCA world and looking into 2022 the trend is expected to continue.


2022 & VUCA

Globally, the spread of the omicron variant is already restarting a phase of measures and lockdowns which will further impact already strained supply chains and increase the uncertainty around a robust economic recovery. Risks to the global economy remain on the downside as global inflation concerns have already forced central banks to review their monetary policy stance. Gone was talk from the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank or Bank of England that rapidly rising prices were temporary, transitory, or transient. Instead, they began to worry about high inflation being “persistent”.


The global challenges: supply and energy shocks

There are two main challenges the global economy faces: supply-chain constraints and energy inflation.

The shipping bottlenecks have exposed one of the most serious threats to the global economy as it continues to slowly emerge from the pandemic: whether the worldwide shipping jam remains gridlocked or begins to flow again in 2022. If the bottlenecks persist, freight costs will remain high, space for cargo on ships will be limited and retailers and manufacturers will have to endure chronic delays. That could in turn fuel inflation, prompt supply chain upheavals and accelerate consolidation of shipping networks, fundamentally changing world trade.

On the energy front, the global economy was shaken by a major crisis in 2021. Prices for oil, gas and electricity surged as our economies reopened after the shutdowns imposed in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Though last year’s events were extraordinary on many levels, spikes in energy prices are a common phenomenon. Since the 1970s, sharp movements in energy prices have been a recurring source of economic dislocations and volatility. And yet, the roots of today’s shock are likely to go deeper. While in the past energy prices often fell as quickly as they rose, the need to step up the fight against climate change may imply that fossil fuel prices will now not only have to stay elevated, but even have to keep rising if we are to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement.


Malta’s challenges for 2022

On a local level this will surely leave an impact on our small and open economy which depends entirely on imports across a number of sectors. With inflation edging up and local businesses feeling the pinch of tighter supply chains, 2022 is expected to lead to higher cost-push inflation. Economic fundamentals remain strong, and forecasts see the economy continue to recover robustly. However, uncertainty around the spread of the virus is expected to impinge on the tourism industry. The temporary support measures that Government implemented and saved thousands of jobs and various enterprises are also expected to taper off. Malta is expected to continue making headway in its efforts to be removed from the grey list and one hopes that the possible risks will be mitigated as much as possible. With an election happening in 2022, further uncertainty might also impinge on the recovery. From an economic point of view, it is imperative that Malta’s productivity is high on the agenda as it is only through a sustained improvement in productivity that the island can remain competitive, attract investment, sustain public finances, and contribute to an improved quality of life. It is therefore critical for the country to address sectors that are losing in terms of productivity and reforms to support such improvements need to be given priority and incentivized. It is specifically for this reason that Government support tied to COVID should also include conditionality elements that focus on implementing measures that tangibly improve productivity.


Looking ahead

As we look ahead, the operating environment remains highly uncertain on a global level. Further government-led investments especially as European funds start being disbursed and invested into the economy will support the recovery. The effective implementation of various strategies and policies will also play a key role in supporting the recovery as well as using Malta’s traditional agility to carve out new opportunities in emerging sectors or markets. Agility and adaptability are in fact going to be key ingredients for Malta’s resilience in 2022.  


This article first appeared on The Sunday Times of Malta.  

For further information on the above kindly contact:

JP Fabri

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