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Guernsey - A Safe Jurisdiction and a Spectrum of Opportunities

Louvre Group Managing Director, Jon Bachelet reflects on the Covid-19 pandemic and Guernsey’s unique position as a jurisdiction.

Guernsey is one of the first jurisdictions in the world to be operating business as usual post the Covid-19 pandemic. A well-established international finance centre for more than 50 years, Guernsey’s stable environment boasts a robust legislative framework alongside a world renowned modern Trust law which for many reasons makes the island a jurisdiction of choice. 

People are also at the heart of our sector and the pandemic itself has demonstrated very clearly, how on many levels when we all work together given various challenges the skills and experience of our team shines through.

Professional development is at Louvre’s core and our people actively want to continue to develop themselves personally and professionally increasing their technical knowledge.   

Louvre was founded and is headquartered in Guernsey and we are very proud of the international credit the States of Guernsey has received for its efforts to eradicate the virus locally. The work that was achieved to bring the island in and out of lockdown in such a short time was remarkable. The island as a whole worked together to listen to and follow instructions laid out by the States and because of this we were all, as an island, able to come out of lockdown way ahead of the majority of other jurisdictions. 

These actions demonstrate Guernsey’s stability and independence as a jurisdiction of choice for clients.

The crisis has for many created a time to reflect and take stock and our clients weren’t immune to that.  We found a lot of them took the time to restructure assets within their offshore arrangements and indeed establish new Trusts and Companies as part of their future planning. Part of this was down to clients having more time but also wishing to diversify assets and prepare for life after lockdown.

 

Benefits of a Trust in a crisis 

The concept of a Trust is very much an extension to one’s family wealth and one that is constantly looked after by your appointed Trustees. Because of Louvre’s Business Continuity process, all staff members were working from home with full access to systems and software for a seamless transition to the “working from home” environment. 

This meant that whilst some of the world stopped, we carried on and were able to transact on behalf of our beneficiaries. So even, where beneficiaries were (and some who still are) in lockdown it was business as usual in dealing with assets held within a trust and associated structure.

 

Succession Planning 

It is important for a High Net-Worth Individual (HNWI) to take stock of what part of their assets were exposed during the pandemic and how an offshore structure might have helped protect or shield this. 

Succession planning is a mid to long term strategy but it is important to have this established as soon as possible to have the assurance that, at times like these, their assets are safe, secure and professionally managed. HNWIs should consider updating any advice that they have in respect of existing offshore structures and should give consideration to new structures to complement their circumstances.

 

The sector Post Covid-19

We have already seen changes with our regulator making allowances for licensees to utilise video calls for verification of client due diligence.  This is a great step forward for Guernsey. Video calls with clients will become more prevalent and may replace physical meetings (save for when physical meetings on island are required for substance purposes). Factoring the “working from home” policy most firms will now bring in will mean there will be less travel for clients and intermediaries albeit I would expect this to pick up again in the second half of 2021.

 

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