Guernsey is a leading international fiduciary centre with more than 50 years’ experience supplying trust and corporate services to clients from around the globe. It was one of the first centres in the world to establish a system of licensing and supervising its trust and corporate services providers via the Regulation of Fiduciaries, Administration Businesses and Company Directors (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law 200.
There is a wide range of fiduciary and corporate service providers in Guernsey, from subsidiaries of major European, North American and South African financial institutions to owner-managed independent trust companies. In total, there are more than 150 licensed fiduciaries in Guernsey. In addition, there are many licensed individuals who can act as trustees or directors.
Regulated fiduciary activities may only be carried on by way of business in or from Guernsey or by a company incorporated in Guernsey, under a licence granted by the GFSC. There are two categories of fiduciary licence:
• A full fiduciary licence can only be granted to a company or a partnership, and authorises all regulated fiduciary activities.
• A personal fiduciary licence can only be granted to an individual and authorises the holder to carry out a restricted range of fiduciary activities. Those include acting as a company director, as trustee (but not as a sole trustee), and as executor
of a will or administrator of an estate and as a foundation official for foundations. Licences are granted to entities and individuals who meet the minimum criteria for licensing set out in Schedule 1 of the Law. Licensees are required to meet the criteria on an on-going basis.
Some of the specialist services provided by Guernsey’s fiduciary sector include protection and exploitation of image rights and wider intellectual property (IP), aviation services (including registration, ownership, leasing and finance) and marine services (including yacht importation and ownership, crew management and insurance).
Trusts in Guernsey are used for a broad range of purposes, including but not limited to:
Estate planning purposes
Charitable or non-charitable purposes
Holding the assets of a pension scheme
Additionally, the Commission may grant a specific discretionary exemption to permit entities and individuals to carry out regulated fiduciary activities.
Trusts activity is governed by the Trusts (Guernsey) Law 2007. The trusts legislation was considered forward thinking and parts of it have since been replicated in jurisdictions around the world.
The trusts sector is now one of the most established, transparent and well-regulated in the world.
In 2013, the Guernsey Foundation was introduced. A foundation is an incorporated entity, however, a foundation does not have shareholders to whom the board are accountable. Instead, the foundation holds its assets on behalf of beneficiaries, particular purposes, or both. In that respect, a foundation behaves much like a trust.
The Guernsey Foundation includes some unique features related to the role of the founder, the rights of the beneficiaries and confidentiality, which make it more attractive than others already on the market.
Private Trust Company
A private trust company (PTC) is a privately owned company that acts as a trustee, usually for a family trust or group of trusts. PTCs are often, but by no means exclusively, at the heart of a family office established to run a family’s affairs.
The Guernsey Trusts Law enacted in 2008 made several amendments to the island’s fiduciary environment, including the abolition of the personal liability of directors in a PTC to encourage greater use of such entities.
Advantages includes the fact that the board of a PTC can – subject to tax considerations – often be populated with the right complement of professionals, specialists, family members and friends; it can be changed quickly if necessary without compromising the continuity of the underlying trusteeship or administration. A professional trustee is often appointed to the board for many reasons, not least to discharge the day-to-day administration of running the PTC and its underlying trusts.
With the focus on just one family and often with the involvement of members of the family, the PTC’s greater understanding of the family gives increased assurance to the family that decisions will be made quickly and sensitively to their interests – particularly, for example, in relation to interests held in family businesses etc.
In late 2012, Guernsey introduced the world’s first image rights legislation and image rights register. This has opened up a new chapter in asset protection and exploitation management. The Guernsey image rights legislation allows a personality to formally register, not only images, but also other characteristics of themselves. The register has already attracted notable sportspeople, celebrities and corporations.
Guernsey continues to meet the needs of international clients, some of whom have an increasing desire to register their aircraft and indeed place their wider wealth management arrangements in a reputable and reliable domicile where quality service provision is at the fore.
2-REG complements Guernsey’s existing expertise gained in banking, insurance wealth management, and other financial services, which can be important in the structuring, financing and holding of an aircraft.
Indeed, in practice many aircraft transactions are one element within more complex private wealth management or corporate arrangements.
An aircraft does not have to be physically present in Guernsey to be entered onto the register provided that the legal and beneficial owners meet the requirements to register. There are three separate registers, one each for aircraft, engines and mortgages.
The term ‘family office’ has become widely used in recent years and refers to the service provided by private firms that manage just about everything for wealthy individuals and their families.
In its simplest form it ranges from standard wealth management functions of investment management, tax and estate planning, to the holistic and hands-on management of clients’ affairs.
Whatever your needs, providers amongst Guernsey’s 150+ fiduciaries will have the experience and expertise to assist.