Guernsey: International Pensions Find A Home In The Channel Islands
Last Updated: 24 August 2017

Mark Lindsay, Head of Pensions at Intertrust, explores what Guernsey and Jersey have to offer the international pension markets and how recent trends are playing their part in shaping that offering.

The population of the developed Western world is ageing and, simultaneously, the workforces of developing nations are growing. These factors are resulting in an increased focus on planning for the future and a subsequent examination of international pensions as viable vehicles for forward planning.

The Channel Islands have a long history of providing pension services to a range of international clients as part of their broader financial services offering. These services range from bespoke individual investment management to administration services for large institutional pension schemes, and complement the islands' associated skills in fund and trust services.

Today, the islands provide the full gamut of pensions services including trustee and administration services for international and domestic pension schemes, legal and actuarial services, payroll support and other fiduciary services.

Yet the landscape is changing. Defined benefit (DB) schemes are neither as prevalent nor as popular as they once were; changes to Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) could have a significant impact on the islands; and there's a greater appreciation among today's workforce that they need to be aware of their pension arrangements and potentially be playing an active role in managing them.

Change always yields opportunity, however, and the islands have historically risen to the challenge. In recent times, an established, mature financial services industry with a relatively large number of experienced professionals has been the bedrock of stability that has allowed the islands to adapt to and innovate in the face of change, and that should prove to be the case with pensions as well.

The range of services available and level of expertise make the islands the jurisdictions of choice for the provision of pensions and related services, a message that the islands need to highlight more vociferously to the world at large.

Tightening regulation

One of the most significant changes to the industry is an increased emphasis on regulation. The financial services industry has always been highly regulated, but there is now an increased focus on pensions, with factors such as pension release scams and mis-selling of investment products helping to drive better governance.

The recent introduction of QROPS transfer taxes, FATCA and Automatic Exchange of Information regulations are designed to enhance the regulation and governance of all cross-border arrangements.

While this may initially seem problematic, the changes and subsequent drive to regulation have actually been largely welcomed in the islands. There is recognition in the industry that the relative lack of regulation on pensions and providers of pensions-related services is a hindrance to marketing the product, and the islands' offering can only be enhanced by appropriate levels of regulation.

The very fact that dialogue between industry bodies here, HMRC and other global authorities is ongoing is a positive factor and testament to the islands' reputations.

Both Jersey and Guernsey are currently looking to extend the remit of their respective regulatory bodies to bring the pensions industry more closely under it.

Greater governance

Aligned to regulation is the issue of good governance. Sponsoring employers of defined contribution (DC) pension plans are under increased scrutiny as a result of the recent changes. This is an important area of focus in the onshore world and is becoming equally important in the offshore world.

So what should sponsoring employers know against the backdrop of increased regulatory scrutiny?

  1. Make sure the trustee has the required knowledge and understanding to fulfil its role;
  2. Ensure your trustee works efficiently with you as the sponsoring employer of the pension scheme;
  3. Work together with your trustee to recognise and manage conflicts of interest;
  4. Demand good administration of the pension scheme and communication with members;
  5. Be clear on the trustee's responsibility around investment governance; and
  6. Understand how the trustee can get value for the pension scheme members.

These are just the basics for good governance, but each point is important and worthy of serious consideration and interrogation in the current landscape.

Three pillars of excellence

If the Channel Islands are to be taken seriously as the jurisdictions of choice for pension services then practitioners and the industry need to be more vocal in stating the credentials of the local sector.

The Channel Islands are particularly suitable for providing pension plans thanks to three key areas of focus: expertise, a stable political environment and supportive governments.

Pensions don't exist in isolation, they rely on a network of support functions – from administration to large-scale trustee services – to operate smoothly and perform to their optimal level. The Channel Islands have these functions in abundance; there are truly excellent people and firms on the islands to fulfil the needs of sponsoring employers when it comes to requiring those services for their international pension schemes. This certainly helps set the islands apart as jurisdictions of choice.

We've heard plenty over the past few months about the virtues of a 'strong and stable' government and in the islands we can certainly attest that these attributes are conducive to business. The political systems in both islands benefit from longevity and strong reputations internationally in both political and financial circles.

Furthermore, both governments are supportive of the industry and provide the correct legislative frameworks to help it achieve its goals and objectives. That includes working collaboratively to find solutions to problems and offer innovative products that the market wants.

These three factors engender one key emotion in clients – trust. Trust is especially important in the pensions industry because we, as practitioners, are guardians of people's future income; people need to know that their money is safe and being invested, saved and managed in a responsible way.

Investing in the future

Jersey recently held its inaugural Jersey International Pension Conference as a means of discussing the industry and putting it front and centre of the Channel Islands' financial services offering.

The three pillars of the industry were referred to time and again and Intertrust's experience with our clients shows that these truly are the reasons why the islands are so highly regarded.

Additionally, we believe the future is bright when it comes to the expansion of the pensions industry on the islands as most employers we speak to still have a sense of duty when it comes to providing good, well-managed pension schemes to their employees.

While it's true that many employers are still very serious about offering high-quality pension schemes, it's also the case that individual scheme members are increasingly looking to be empowered and take some ownership over their plans.

At Intertrust we've recently launched InVision, a financial modelling tool that provides clients with a detailed analysis of expected outcomes and empowers users to feel confident in their decision making.

InVision is interactive and user-friendly and will provide our clients with an indication today of what their pension savings will provide them with in the future, when the time comes to draw down their entitlement.

Plan members taking ownership and being responsible for their future financial planning is music to the ears of employers and many in the industry – and that, together with new work from developing economies such as the Middle East, South America and Africa, suggests that there is plenty of scope for expansion in pensions and pension services in the islands and we're right to regard ourselves as the field's jurisdictions of choice.

Originally publish in the July edition of BL Global. To read the full magazine please click here:

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Press Releases from this Firm
Recent Content from this Firm
Font Size:
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.