Guernsey: Guernsey Fiduciary Firm Opens Shanghai Office
Last Updated: 8 January 2013

Guernsey-headquartered Richmond Fiduciary Group has established its own representative office in China.

The opening of the office in the Jing'an District of Shanghai comes three years since Alan Chick, Chairman of Richmond, made his first visit to the region to explore the potential of the Asian market.

Mr Chick said the representative office, which will be headed up by Jing Zhang, was the next step in enhancing the Guernsey firm's reputation in the Chinese marketplace. As Richmond's Asia Region Client Executive, Ms Zhang will be responsible for the continuing development of the Group's Asian client base and liaising with existing clients.

"We decided 12 months ago that we needed a representative office so we are delighted to see it come to fruition. It gives us credibility with the people we have been meeting over the years and now that the office is opened we have seen a far greater interest in what we are doing," said Mr Chick.

Guernsey Finance - the promotional agency for the Island's finance industry internationally - opened a representative office in Shanghai at the end of 2007. Since then, Mr Chick has utilised its services to build relationships in China before branching out to develop his own network of contacts across the country. In November this year, Mr Chick received the news that Richmond had received a licence from the local authorities to establish its own representative office in Shanghai.

Mr Chick said: "Having Jing on the ground enables us to meet with other people who are offering complimentary services, such as immigration and educational services to high-net-worth families, and therefore allows us to expand our own network and effectively have other people recommending our services. She will be a terrific asset to the Group.

"Having a constant presence in Shanghai also enables us to meet others in an existing business or social network at short notice to talk about mutual opportunities, which is far more convenient and productive than trying to set up meetings during our next visit, when the opportunity may have been lost."

Ms Zhang was born and educated in Beijing and graduated from the University of International Business and Economics with a bachelor of economics degree in 2006. Following an internship with Sinopec International Petroleum Service Corporation, she worked for Iveco S.p.A, an Italian commercial vehicle production company which is part of the Fiat Industrial Group, in Turin and Chongqing. In 2009, Ms Zhang joined a global financial services company as a relationship manager and worked in their Netherlands Antilles, Singapore and Shanghai offices.

Fiona Le Poidevin, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance, said: "It is extremely pleasing to hear that a Guernsey firm such as Richmond has established an office in Shanghai. Alan has been very proactive in making the most of the opportunities which Guernsey Finance has to offer and also driving forward independently to take his work in China to the next level.

"Having the local presence in Shanghai will not only benefit Richmond but also help to reinforce our message that Guernsey is an ideal jurisdiction to provide asset protection, succession planning and wealth planning services to Chinese high net worth individuals and families."

Richmond, which was set up in Guernsey in 1988, specialises in offering professional fiduciary services to both local and international clients. The company now employs more than 30 staff worldwide, including Hao Wang, Senior Partner of RayYin & Partners, who is retained by Richmond as a consultant to explain the nuances of international trust laws to Chinese individuals and professionals. Richmond hopes to be able to announce the appointment of a similarly qualified consultant in Shanghai in the coming weeks.

With offices in Beijing and Shenzhen, Ms Wang has already presented on behalf of Richmond to the clients of one of the China's leading trust companies and spoken on behalf of the business at the Wealth Management and Private Banking Conference in Shanghai. The event was sponsored by Guernsey Finance, whose representative in the city, Wendy Weng, presented to delegates in conjunction with Ms Wang.

Mr Chick added: "It was initially difficult to explain the discretionary trust concept to professionals in the region as they were more familiar with other trust models, particularly from Caribbean jurisdictions, where the trustees simply let the clients run the underlying companies. However, this type of structure has come under the spotlight of the China tax authorities, who are effectively saying that if the Chinese client runs an offshore company personally, then it will be taxed in exactly the same way as a Chinese resident company. It means there has been a growing interest in the traditional Guernsey offering, so having Hao explaining the concept to them on the ground in China has been extremely beneficial."

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