SME profile: Former Dubai banker’s residency-for-investment consultancy generates growing interest

Not many Dubai-based businesses stand to benefit from Donald Trump’s first few months in office – well, not many that hadn’t completed licensing deals with the Trump Organization before he was sworn in as US president, at least.

But RIF Trust, a relatively young company started by former banker Mimoun Assraoui, is one that could.

The company offers consultancy services on schemes that offer citizenship or residency in an overseas country by way of investment.

In the wake of a couple of recent failed attempts by Mr Trump’s government to ban citizens from an initial seven (later six) Muslim-majority countries, RIF Trust has received a spike in inquiries, Mr Assraoui says.

“We have clients who are calling us because of all of these bans,” he says. “We are positively correlated to instability.”

Mr Assraoui, a French national with Moroccan heritage, started RIF Trust with his wife, Alexia, in 2013.

He had spent most of his career in banking, working in Europe, Asia and the Middle East for the likes of Société Générale, ABN Amro, and, latterly, for National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

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Citizenship by investment schemes have existed for more than 30 years, starting with the Caribbean islands of St Kitts and Nevis, which offered people a passport in

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