Egypt isn’t the only country with political, social and financial problems. It's just the one that is on our news programs today. These events, however, are forcing companies and families to confront the reality that it can happen almost everywhere. Wealth at risk in a global world is wealth that needs to be protected on a global basis.
What we are seeing in Egypt reflects the trends throughout the world. Investments and businesses operate in multiple countries. Family run businesses have family members working in more than one country, just like large multinational corporations. Even new immigrants to one country have business or investments ties to the old country.
But Egypt, as we are seeing, isn’t the same as other countries in the Middle East. Much less the same as the United States, European Union, China, Japan or any place else. Each country operates on its own particular set of historical, cultural, political — as well as legal — levels. Wealth may be becoming “globalized” but we are separated by far more than just language.
Without much question, this new world order of globalized communications facilitates political movements as well as the movement of investable funds. Money should be expected to avoid unacceptable political risk and jurisdictions and flow to whichever country's investment opportunities offers the best return per unit of risk. In this regard, the United States is still the leader of the pack.
The Egyptian turmoil highlights the need for the physical protection of people and property no matter where you are. Most Egyptians, and lots of people around the world, are finding out that having all their money safe in a local bank isn’t worth much if they can't get their money out to buy food or bodyguards.
So what is the lesson to learn from this? That surviving a disaster means taking the time and effort to organize your affairs in advance so as to guard them against both future fiscal emergencies and having the financial resources available to provide for your own personal protection.
It is a world of risk although I am not one of those that say that the world is more risky than ever. But there are certainly areas where some forms of existing risk are growing. Upheavals — social, political, cultural, religious, and personal — can overflow from one country to another rather quickly. And wealth once thought safe can be lost if not protected on an international basis.
The benefits of using international structures to protect wealth makes for a rather long list. For one thing, if there is a crisis in one country — Egypt, for example — then assets held in other jurisdictions remain safe. There are, in fact, quite a number of countries that offer specific law to protect assets from civil legal liability and governmental expropriation while legitimately providing an appropriate level of confidentiality and privacy.
The events of Egypt are instructive in at least warning us that a crisis could happen at anytime and anywhere.
With this understanding, people who have some amount of mobile wealth realize that they need sophisticated international wealth protection strategies to assure their financial, and perhaps personal, survival.
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