We are pleased to present this overview of the "Fideicomiso" or Mexican bank trust, a mechanism that has enabled some of the world's leading tourism industry companies, as well as individual investors, to benefit from the growth of Mexico's dynamic tourism sector.
Mexico, including some 6,000 miles of beautiful coastline, has attracted significant investment interest for many years. The trust mechanism was created to allow foreign investors to participate in Mexico's tourism and other rapidly expanding sectors exercising complete and legal control over their investment while complying with Mexico's investment laws.
A "Fideicomiso" or bank trust is defined for real estate purposes as a transaction entered into between a Mexican bank and a foreign individual or firm investing in an area otherwise restricted to foreign investment. The bank serves as trustee for the legal owner with respect to certain real property interests and the investor serving as the legal beneficiary of the trust. The bank holds title to the property in trust for the beneficiary who retains the exclusive right to the use and control of the property.
As trustee, the bank acts on behalf of the beneficiary in transactions involving the property held in trust. However, the beneficiary controls and makes investment decisions regarding the property, including the decision to transfer, assign or otherwise dispose of his or her interest in the property.
The trust is essentially a contractual arrangement, which in most respects is identical to the type of trust commonly used in the United States. Trusts are established for initial 50-year periods and can be renewed indefinitely.
The law governing foreign investment though trusts requires a Mexican banking institution to act as trustee on behalf of a foreign entity with respect to property held in trust. The bank holds title to the property for the benefit of the investor and acting on behalf of that investor in transactions involving the property.
The beneficiary retains the use and control of the property held in trust and except for direct acquisitions, makes the investment decisions with regard to the property. This can include the decision to transfer such property interest to another foreign or domestic investor.
The trust mechanism allows foreign entities to invest in Mexico's coastal and border areas, which in the past were restricted from foreign investment of any type. The trust permits foreign investors to obtain almost all of the economic benefits that accompany equity ownership, as the direct owner of such property would have except for direct acquisitions. In addition, the beneficiary may transfer or assign beneficial interest to any person, keeping the profits from the sale, which are subject to applicable tax laws, according to the instructions given to the trustee.