The Business Year

Juan Darí­o Gutiérrez

COLOMBIA - Economy

Juan Darí­o Gutiérrez

Partner, Gutiérrez Group

Bio

Juan Darío Gutiérrez is the co-founder of Gutiérrez Group and head of the legal practice of the company. Along with a team of skillful professionals, he handles business, corporate, real estate, immigration, foreign investment, IP, banking, taxes, and reporting matters. He has played a fundamental role in structuring and shielding hundreds of new and ongoing businesses in Colombia, purchasing over 500 real estate properties all over the country and handling more than 3,000 foreign investment operations. Thanks to his fluency in English, French, and Spanish, as well as his years of education in America and Europe and his more than 15 years of experience helping clients from all parts of the world, Gutiérrez is able to greatly facilitate and expedite inception within the Colombian legal and business frameworks for his clients.

Gutiérrez Group is a multi-family office offering legal, real estate, investment, and wealth management advisory services to international clients in Colombia.

What was the focus of Gutierrez Group during 2022?

Our focus is to consistently strengthen our offer of investment vehicles, delivering exceptional and diversified opportunities to our client base. We have concentrated on several fronts. On the one hand, we began the promotion of our latest real estate project and we have been expanding our directly led holdings of real estate, which we have ample experience in. We also finalized the restructuring of a truly industrial-scale size forestry project for carbon capture. It had an interesting evolution from an early thermo-electric energy production project to now solely capturing CO2. This unique project offers attractive metrics to investors looking for environmental investments with a high ROI. Internally, we focused on strengthening our communications and marketing departments. The aim is to increase our market visibility in order to reach more investors.

How can Gutierrez Group be an excellent partner for international investors looking for investment opportunities in Colombia?

We have been providing professional services even before there was international interest in Colombia, from medium, small-scale entrepreneurs that are coming in by the thousands now. We have been in operation for over 15 years. We have captured their attention and made ourselves a solid ally by demonstrating that we have great experience, linguistic abilities, skill sets, and a network. We can narrow that cultural gap that people encounter when coming from Europe or the US. When you combine that ability with what we have, which is an indistinguishable love for Colombia and excellent work ethics, it is an extremely attractive proposition for anyone looking for a partner.

What is the importance of expertise when carrying out investments in Colombia?

Experience and expertise are key. Knowing how to navigate specific waters, how to deal with authorities, and having the right networks in order to secure those important allies that are necessary to accomplish your plans in Colombia will all be the key differentials in being successful or being frustrated all the time. You need to understand the local idiosyncrasy and know how to blend it with foreign culture to facilitate goals. They also need a high degree of sensitivity or emotional intelligence to bring those two ends together. When you have important deals on the line, you always want to have those type of people on your side of the table. Finally, there are principles and work ethics to consider. We have a pyramid of principles, and we do not entertain corruption or illegal shortcuts. We believe in old-fashioned values, and these have always worked for us. This has appealed to many people.

What services do you offer to international investors?

We are a one-stop shop and can do many things. We can help our clients with the entire chain of services that arise from the mere desire to invest or live in this country. An investor coming here or someone planning to relocate here will need help with opening accounts, transferring and properly registering incoming funds, creating structures, purchasing property, managing property, opening businesses, obtaining residency and citizenship, hiring employees, protecting trademarks, reporting, compliance, and accounting: we do it all. We also help our clients invest and manage their wealth in Colombia by putting together unique investment opportunities that offer returns that are far greater than what they are used to receiving in their own countries.

What makes Gutiérrez Group’s ESG forestry project, which is fully dedicated to carbon emissions capturing, so interesting as an investment opportunity?

What makes it interesting is a combination of multiple factors. If ESG is what investors are looking for, then we are attractive because we are FSC and Gold Standard certified, and these are certifications that do not come around easily. We have had them for almost five years, which has proven to be a huge advantage. From an economic perspective, which appeals to most, we have an interesting track record with 10 years in this field. We have a proven thesis of over 5,000 has planted. We offer above average returns that start at 15% per annum. This is all quite appealing to people who are interested in the economic aspect of the investment. Now, I like to believe that the reason why people find us most attractive likely has to do with that personal fulfillment of emotionality that accompanies an investment when it is made with a superior purpose. Colombian Timber is a fully turnkey project that has an attractive yield but it is also an investment that you can make money on while generating a tangible difference to our environment. Moreover, it is also about supporting and making a difference in a community that has been historically neglected by the government, such as the community of the Orinoquía. We are making money while helping the environment through removal of thousands of tons of CO2. At the same time, we are providing long-term, meaningful employment to hundreds of people within these impoverished communities. When I talk about the emotion and the fulfillment around an investment, it has been priceless to see communities flourish and thrive. The government has actually noticed this and is slowly coming in to put in infrastructure and roads, education, health, and other amenities. For an investor that is seeking all that as a combination, Colombian Timber is the right choice for them.

How is Gutiérrez Group capitalizing on Medellín’s tourism boom?

Despite the 18-month slowdown due to the pandemic, Colombia and Medellín have performed brilliantly in terms of tourism growth. The average annual increase over the past eight to 10 years has been close to the 15% mark, almost four times the global average. The city has greatly benefited from that. It is not hard to understand, as Medellín is immensely attractive as a tourism option. Combined with the high purchasing power of Americans and Europeans, the available opportunities for entrepreneurs or digital nomads, and the highly qualified Colombian workforce, that is a tough combination to beat. We are playing an important role in that equation by putting together real estate projects that cater to customers that want to discover the city and enjoy maximum comfort. That would be here and for other parts of Colombia as well. What makes our projects special is our unique know how and a spotless reputation, which appeals to our investors. 

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