An Indian remittance company branches out in Australia
Our Client is a money remittance firm registered in India. The company operates an online portal which is used by the expatriate population in several countries including USA, Canada, Britain, Germany and Singapore to remit money to India and Philippines.
In Australia, our Client planned to setup a subsidiary to offer similar services to the Indian expatriate population, who are the largest source of permanent migration to the country. Furthermore, our Client planned to benefit from the business friendly environment in Australia. In order to fulfill these objectives, the company directors approached Healy Consultants in September, 2015.
The initial conversations between Healy Consultants and our Client took place over the phone. Our Client pointed out they wanted to register a money remittance company in Australia. Healy Consultants realized the complexity of this engagement as money remittance companies face additional scrutiny from the Australian Government due to money laundering and terrorism financing concerns. However, given our prior experience with such projects, Healy Consultants assured our Client we could assist his firm and immediately forwarded the Client engagement letter.
With the company name and corporate structure agreed, Healy Consultants proceeded to reserve the name with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). Next, Healy Consultants proceeded to incorporate the company by submitting all the requisite documents to ASIC. After receiving the Certificate of Incorporation, Healy Consultants scanned the same and emailed it to the Client.
With the company registered, Healy Consultants proceeded to open the corporate bank account with Westpac Bank, Australia. First, Healy Consultants skillfully negotiated a travel exemption for our Client, because of which our Clients were not required to travel to Australia. Instead, our Clients simply traveled to the Westpac branch in their home city of Mumbai to sign the corporate bank account opening forms. The entire corporate bank account opening process was completed within 6 weeks.
Thereafter, Healy Consultants applied for internet banking services, after which the bank tokens were independently couriered to the Clients in India.
Engagement strategy document
Next, our Client requested Healy Consultants to prepare an engagement strategy document to address several issues including i) license requirements for operating money remittance business ii) HR and office space requirements and iii) taxation and compliance obligations. Healy Consultants contacted over 50 law firms, company secretarial firms and accounting firms; and based on consensus feedback prepared this document within 1.5 months.
Next, Healy Consultants proceeded to register our Client’s Australian subsidiary as a “money remittance company” with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC). For this purpose, Healy Consultants assisted our Client with i) appointing an AML/CTF officer and ii) preparing an AML/CTF program. Thereafter, Healy Consultants submitted a formal proposal to the authorities for their approval.
Virtual office services
Additionally, our Client engaged Healy Consultants to use our Australian virtual office service for their company. This move has enabled our Client to more effectively operate their business in Australia.
Singaporean hotel developer enters Australian market
Our Client FC, a Singaporean citizen, owns a portfolio of property assets in Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia, including small resort developments, apartments and luxury villas. He wanted to expand this portfolio by investing in Australia, a market which he believes offers excellent long-term prospects. Australia’s Tourism Forecasting Committee, for example, estimates that the country will require some 10,000 extra hotel rooms by 2014.
FC’s initial objective was to purchase a small hotel in Perth, Western Australia, a city he knows well because he has family and business associates living there. Healy Consultants had already assisted him in 2005 with a residential property purchase in southern Thailand, and the efficient outcome of this had prompted him to contact us for assistance with his latest endeavour.
FC had identified a small hotel for sale in the eastern suburbs of Perth, close to the river, but since he was busy pursuing other business interests in Asia he required Healy Consultants’ assistance with completing the purchase, obtaining financing and advice on minimising his tax liabilities as a foreign investor.
His case was referred initially to our Perth office, which provides strategic consulting services for entrepreneurs investing in Australia, including liasing with government bodies to obtain foreign investment approval.
With this in mind, our Perth office approached Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), with a view to obtaining approval for the hotel purchase – since FC is neither an Australian citizen nor resident. The FIRB referred our staff to its ‘Singapore Help Desk’, whose task is to assist Singaporean investors with direct investment applications in Australia.
The Singapore Help Desk e-mailed a foreign investment application form, which our staff completed on FC’s behalf. In addition, they prepared the FIRB’s standard Proposed Purchase document, which provides a full description of the property, including number of rooms, features and facilities, and the current use of property.
Jainey, our Client Relationship Officer in Perth, submitted these documents by courier to the FIRB near Canberra, and followed up with a telephone call two days later to confirm that they had been received. Jainey was advised that the approval time would be approximately three to four weeks.
As expected, the FIRB gave written approval Jainey within four weeks, and she communicated this to FC in Singapore. He was especially relieved because he did not wish to delay the process of making a formal offer for the property.
With this objective achieved, Healy Consultants commissioned a commercial inspection of the property through Archicentre, to enable FC to make an informed decision before making an offer. As well as providing peace of mind for the investor prior to purchase, a survey is also normally required by finance lenders, and so FC had requested that our staff include this step in the plan.
At this stage, Healy Consultants’ solicitor became involved in the project. FC had made a written formal offer for the property, which had been accepted by the vendor. FC was then required to lodge a 10% deposit with the solicitor to secure the property, which Healy Consultants did on his behalf. Our team forwarded the receipt from the solicitor directly to FC.
With this step complete, our solicitor began the conveyance process, drawing up the Contract of Sale. Once this had been drafted, the contract was couriered to FC in Singapore for his perusal, approval and signature, which, being in good order, was returned to our Perth office within one week.
The next phase of the engagement was for Healy Consultants’ staff to source a suitable lender for the purchase. Our recommendation to FC was to obtain a Singapore dollar mortgage from a Singapore-based bank. However, to ensure we explored all options, representatives from three large banks visited our Perth office to present their Australian dollar mortgage products, and this enabled Jainey to draw up a detailed comparison table and recommendation for FC’s review, which he received by e-mail.
At the same time, the Banking Team in our Singapore office also approached three Singapore-based banks with a view to securing a Singapore dollar mortgage for FC. At this stage, it became clear that the Singapore dollar mortgage was a preferable solution for FC’s requirements.
Within one week, FC had decided to proceed with the Singapore dollar mortgage offer from ANZ Bank in Singapore, which was able to offer an interest rate of just 3.9% against 6.9% for the Australian dollar mortgage. Upon FC’s instructions, our Singapore Banking Team began to prepare the Singapore dollar mortgage application documents on his behalf.
Accounting and tax support
Obtaining a property investment bank loan can be challenging, and the bank required a detailed Business Plan describing the hotel facilities and why FC required financing. Healy Consultants’ Marketing and Media Department therefore prepared a detailed Business Plan, providing information on the property type, its location, financial projections, as well as an analysis of hospitality market conditions in Perth.
The Singapore dollar loan was approved in three weeks, our Singapore Banking Team couriered a complete approval pack to FC. With financing in place, Healy Consultants’ solicitors arranged for exchange of contract on FC’s behalf.
To complete this phase of the project, Healy Consultants’ Australia Accounting Team registered FC for goods and services tax (GST) and paid stamp duty to the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
The principal challenge for an engagement of this type is to efficiently manage the many disbursements, including legal fees, stamp duty, mortgage application fees, insurance and rates, council taxes and utilities. FC was grateful that he was not required to visit Perth during the whole process due to business commitments in China, but was able to remit via Internet the necessary funds to cover costs when required.
The hotel property is now ready for occupation, and FC expects the hotel to welcome its first guests in October 2007. To coincide with the opening, Healy Consultants has been engaged to design and develop a website for the property, which will be delivered to the Client on budget and schedule.
ICT consultant sets up Australian LLC
David Wilson is an Australian IT expert who has worked in the telecommunications and IT sector in Australia for the last 10 years. Until early 2007 he worked for a large internet communications technology (ICT) provider in Melbourne, and had gained an in-depth knowledge of project management and finances in his role there. With this experience under his belt, David wanted to strike out on his own and set up his own ICT consulting business, devising ICT strategies for Clients, managing ICT projects and building databases. The Australian ICT sector is a rapidly expanding area, but faces an acute shortage of qualified experts to meet demand, and Mr Wilson hoped to tap into this demand imbalance and build his business accordingly.
David first contacted Healy Consultants in March 2007 to find out how we could help him with his endeavour. Our business startup services are as varied as our Client’s needs, and David was especially interested in utilising our marketing expertise to drive his company forward once it had been incorporated. The first step was for Healy Consultants to prepare a detailed cost proposal, covering company incorporation, assistance to open an Australian corporate bank account, and marketing support, including copywriting press releases and designing, developing and optimising a business website. David also expressed an interest in our tax and accounting support, especially with respect to filing tax returns and preparing audited financial statements, which are statutory obligations under Australian company law.
With engagement costs agreed, David settled our invoice and also provided due diligence as outlined in the Client Engagement Letter. David also explained his required corporate structure – he would act as the Australia-resident director and shareholder for the private limited company, while Healy Consultants would fulfill the statutory requirement for a resident company secretary. With this agreed, Healy Consultants began preparing the application documents required by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) for incorporation, including proposed company name, registered office details, director and secretary details and share structure details. These documents were then submitted to the ASIC for processing. The following day, Healy Consultants received a Certificate of Registration for the company and an Australian Company Number. Upon receipt, Healy Consultants e-mailed copies of these documents to David for his reference, along with a printout from the Australian Business Register.
The next task was to open a corporate bank account for the new company. Opening a corporate bank account in Australia is challenging, since banks require a lot of information on signatories and the company before an application is considered. With this in mind, Healy Consultants prepared a detailed business plan for David’s company, providing comprehensive information on its activities, products and services, as well as its Clients and suppliers. The plan also included information on the bank signatories, an analysis of the ICT market in Australia as well as some financial projections for the first three years of operation. Along with a completed corporate bank account application form, Healy Consultants couriered the business plan to David for his signature and return to us. Once this was received, Healy Consultants prepared a detailed bank application, including the application form, business plan and corporate and personal due diligence on the signatories. This was then submitted to the bank. Bank account approval was received within three weeks by Healy Consultants along with separate packages containing a corporate cheque book along with credit and ATM cards. These items were then sent to David in separate postings.
Accounting and tax support
The next step was to register David’s company for goods and services tax (GST). An Australian company is required to register for GST if its turnover exceeds A$50,000 (US$45,000), a level which David expected to easily surpass. Healy Consultants filed an application to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to register the company for GST, which was completed on the same day.
Healy Consultants’ final task in the engagement to date was to initiate a marketing campaign for David’s company. Our first role in this was to build a business website based on brief content supplied by David (which he had supplied for his bank account business plan). Healy Consultants’ copywriters elaborated on the content, while the website design team built the template according to David’s rough design guidelines and specifications. At the same time, Healy Consultants’ marketing staff also prepared press releases and advertorial copy which was supplied to IT and ICT trade magazines in Australia, to accompany a print advertising campaign. Press releases announcing the company’s launch were also sent to press release agencies on David’s behalf, thereby maximising exposure. The website was launched shortly after the print media campaign, and our web designers had optimised the pages to ensure it was compatible to the leading search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN.
David’s business is growing steadily, and he has Clients both in Victoria and New South Wales. He has requested Healy Consultants’ assistance to prepare financial statements and a tax return at the end of the financial year, in line with statutory requirements.