How do I find the best EB-5 project in terms of investment?
I realize that the major concern of most EB-5 investors is to get a green card, but I see little information about the investment itself. My interest is initially the investment and the green card is a consequence. I want more information to choose the best investment. How do I go about finding the best EB-5 project investment-wise?
You should be able to review the project''s business plan and securities offering documents, which will contain much of the information you seek, including the development history of the project principals. A due diligence report may have been prepared by a third party for your use, or you can have one prepared for you. We also recommend the use of an investment adviser.
John J Downey
Find an investment vehicle where you might have some expertise, then hire a firm to perform due diligence strictly on the investment, separate from EB-5 considerations.
I would recommend that you first retain an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney who will provide immigration due diligence as to whether the project is EB-5 compliant. The EB-5 immigration attorney can then refer you to a credible and experienced broker/dealer and investment adviser registered with the SEC and FINRA to provide you with advice and due diligence on the investment and the project.
If you place good return over the green card, then my friends, you are in the wrong place. A typical EB-5 project has very poor return rate, and therefore is not an ideal investment target for non-EB-5 investors. You really need to take a balanced look at the overall picture. Most EB-5 investors are contented to pick a project that is "safe", which means not only a green card, but has good prospect for the return of the half million investment. Having a realistic approach, plus the right business intelligence should usually guide you to the right EB-5 project.
To find EB-5 investment opportunities, you can research the various regional centers and ask them for their offering/project documents. The documents outline returns (which cannot be guaranteed) and you can also get an indication by speaking to the project representatives. The typical return you see from a regional center project is around 1 percent, BUT the fees that you pay (administrative fee of up to $50,000) really make the return negative.
My recommendation is that you hire a good corporate attorney that is familiar with private placements and offerings to conduct due diligence. Also - your financial adviser or accountant, if you have one, can help you understand some of the financing structures and corporate documents. And yes - you should study and understand the investment itself. While the green card is important, the investment should also have equal importance because the job creation requirement of EB-5 depends on the investment being solid.
You should only consider a project on which professional independent due diligence has been performed, and should only work with a licensed general securities principal.
Please note that EB-5 is an immigration program, thus the focus will be on securing the immigration benefit foremost. There are plenty of other investments that will yield you better IRR on your investment. Most of the good regional centers that have excellent track record for approvals and good exit strategy, i.e., return of the investment funds at the end are paying about 1 percent annual interest, which is the same as most of the banks. Some of the new regional center projects that do not have this kind of track record may promise more. However, please note that EB-5 rules prohibit any guarantee on return/income from the investment as the funds you invest must be put "at risk."
Thanks for reaching out. I would recommend you do a thorough due diligence on the regional center you are planning to invest in, like the regional center''s qualification certificates, how many current investors, the portion of capital stacks rather than EB-5 funds, their partners like law firms, PE, or escrow agent. Last but most important, the best way is meeting and talking to the persons in charge of the regional centers and visiting the projects yourself if it is possible.
Past performance, as you know, is not an indicator of future results. And many EB-5 projects simply do not have a track records because they are "one off" deals. But if you have investments in which you are interested, it pays to have an attorney perform due diligence on the manager, its principals, the deal itself, insurance/bonding in place and their history in handling the assets of others. Performing background checks on these individuals on your own is also money well-spent. I would also suggest that any investment you consider be placed or sold through a broker-dealer in the United States, which adds an added layer of scrutiny. Whatever you do, read what you receive carefully and share it with your legal counsel AND your accountant as well. You would be surprised how good deals go sour when the tax issues are not handled properly..