What Really Happened in Panama

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Recently by Simon Black: Surprise, Surprise… US Picks Up the Panama FTA Again


This weekend’s Sovereign Man Offshore Workshop is over, and I am simultaneously exhausted and exhilarated. After months of planning, weeks of preparation, and days of speaking with very little sleep, the event truly took its toll on me… but it was well worth it.

Attendees came from all over the world – we had folks come in from as far as Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Spain, Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, England, Thailand, etc. As for the speakers, they were my own contacts and professional colleagues, also hailing from around the world.

We had immigration specialists, tax attorneys, bankers, private asset managers, corporate secretaries, etc. from places as far and diverse as Singapore, Switzerland, Brazil, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Cook Islands, and many more.

These are trusted professionals, many of whom are my friends and advisers, and they came a long way to help people take action, stay compliant, and do everything above board, in the light of day.

After kicking off the event with an exquisite social/cocktail hour, I explained our single objective:

“I want each of you to leave this event with a very clear plan – to know exactly what you need to do, to understand why, and to start taking action on your plan right here at this event.”

These are complex topics, and I think traditional offshore conferences fail miserably at explaining them. Most of the time you get an endless parade of speakers who talk at the audience, infomercial style, and attendees leave more confused than ever, often having purchased some overpriced structure that they don’t understand or need.

We sought to shatter this traditional conference model… in fact, in many ways, we ran the anti-conference.

Our idea was to present short-bursts of high-level information in front of the entire audience through a series of solutions-oriented panel discussions; we wanted to provide enough background so that each attendee would be able to quickly rule out options that don’t really apply to them.

During the residency panel, for example, I held a brief Q&A session with each speaker, representing about a dozen residency and citizenship options. The sessions were brief, but they provided enough information for people to rule out certain countries, and to identify the ones that they were more interested in.

In the second phase of the event, audience members broke down into smaller groups to listen to more detailed presentations about the solutions and jurisdictions that they identified interest in.

These small group sessions ran simultaneously in order to maximize content – in other words, our immigration attorney from Brazil was speaking in one room while a Singapore private banker was speaking in another.

In total, we had 5 sessions going at any given time, and there was plenty of redundancy to make sure that people could see all the speakers they wanted. It was during these sessions that they received the specific information to customize their own plan, as well as open accounts, register companies, etc.

The speakers were all completely accessible for the entire event, making themselves personally available to all attendees. We also had plenty of tax attorneys on hand to provide clear guidance for anyone with questions about structures, reporting, and compliance.

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