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Guernsey - A Jurisdiction of Choice for Family Offices

Guernsey is ranked as one of the jurisdictions of choice when individuals are looking to establish a family office to manage their wealth structures.

At an event in London in July focusing on family offices, organised by We Are Guernsey, research was released outlining a growing trend for demand in the jurisdiction. The research, carried out by consultancy firm Gibson Strategy, highlighted substance as an influencing factor. 

One of the main reasons for this is Guernsey’s stability and international credibility.  Dominic Wheatley, CEO of We Are Guernsey, said: “There are many reasons for Guernsey being a top 10 financial centre but a significant one is it being  ‘whitelisted’ in both the OECD and FATCA rankings.”

Panellist Catherine Grum from KPMG commented: “It is imperative to get the right jurisdiction as the main base for a family office. Guernsey (and the Channel Islands) are starting to see a trend emerging where they are the go-to jurisdiction over the UK and Switzerland.”  

Guernsey was reaffirmed by the European Union in March as a cooperative jurisdiction in terms of good tax practice and transparency, having satisfied “substance” requirements.

Matthew Gilligan, Client Relationship Manager at Louvre Trust (Guernsey) Ltd, attended the event and said: “As well as demand for Guernsey increasing, emerging trends in family office structures were also discussed.  Many family offices are now establishing a family investment company from which family office(s) are evolving.

“The ‘traditional’ family office model was also highlighted, as previously in the UK and Switzerland such offices would have been a one-stop-shop housing all the expertise in house, whereas now it’s becoming more common for the office to be formed with an accountant or trust professional and the majority of the requirements outsourced until such time demand for the expertise grows and it is brought in house.”

“The benefit of this is that your overheads as a family office are reduced as you are paying for expertise on demand and can tailor it as needed.  In time, some of these services can be brought back ‘in house’ once the managers of the family office have the suitable skills and experience to do so,” Matthew concluded. 

Speaking at the event, Rajah Abusrewil, Partner at Walkers, noted: “More and more private clients are turning to top fiduciaries as a ‘General Manager’ of the family office, which tends to evolve from existing structures growing over time.  This then transitions with the assistance of a law firm to the establishment of a family office. Invariably, due to the key part we play in the establishment, we stay engaged with the new office. 

Dr Andy Sloan, Deputy Chief Executive, Strategy, at Guernsey Finance, added: “Supporting the development of family office services is a key strategic focus for Guernsey. I am pleased therefore to see this independent research confirming that substance and reputation are now driving jurisdictional choice in the family office space – a trend which supports what we are seeing with this type of business in Guernsey.”

You can read the full research report by We are Guernsey here: https://bit.ly/2XWJA2k

For more information about Louvre Group’s Fiduciary services, please contact Matthew Gilligan on matthew.gilligan@louvregroup.com or call +44 (0)1481 727249.