ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece is preparing new measures to attract family offices offering dedicated wealth management services to ultra-rich clients, as it seeks to overhaul its image as an investment destination, two senior government officials said.
The centre-right government’s reform plans were disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic last year, but Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has announced steps including special tax breaks to attract foreign investors and lure highly qualified Greek expatriates back home.
The latest move would allow family offices to deduct staff costs and operating expenses from tax, targeting both Greece’s own business dynasties and rich non-Greek families, a senior official said.
“Our target now is to attract very rich foreigners and also Greeks who have their money abroad, in Switzerland for example, and also investors,” the official told Reuters, but offered no detail as the legislation was still being prepared.
The drive to reposition Greece as an investor-friendly destination follows a decade-long financial crisis that cut the country’s economy by a quarter and fuelled regular street protests against its international creditors.
Mitsotakis is counting on a mix of investments in digital infrastructure, education and green energy as well as high-end, environmentally friendly tourism to reshape Greece’s image abroad after the crisis years.
Family offices offering dedicated services to ultra-rich clients including investment, charitable giving, tax and wealth transfer have mushroomed in the years since the 2008 global financial crisis.
While Greece is unlikely to challenge established centres such as Switzerland, attracting “sophisticated wealthy families” could help change perceptions about the country, a second official said.
“It is part of the government’s strategy to extend, redefine and upscale its tourism product,” the official said.
The Greek economy, which lost about half its foreign investment during the financial crisis, had started to recover in recent years, but is expected to shrink by about 10% in 2020 under the impact of the pandemic.
Additional reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by James Mackenzie and Alex Richardson