Peter Niven looks at how Guernsey is ideally placed to meet the financial objectives of both wealthy individuals/families and institutions from India.
Over the last 50 years Guernsey has established itself as a leading International Finance Centre (IFC). The island has built a reputation for providing – at the highest international standards – an extensive range of financial products and services to a global client base, including India. In particular, we have the widest range of private banking services, corporate structuring expertise, a world-class Company and Intellectual Property (IP) Registry and a complete funds capability with access for listing on leading European stock exchanges. Guernsey is fully equipped to provide wealthy Indian individuals/families and institutions with the right solutions to best meet their financial objectives.
A fully equipped finance centre
Our unique environment (see box 1) has attracted several hundred financial services firms to the Island. Indeed, a distinguishing feature of Guernsey's finance industry is its considerable strength and depth (see box 2). There are a balanced range of providers that broadly comprise:
- Investment funds
- Fiduciary services (trust and company administration)
- Professional support services such as multi-jurisdictional law firms and the 'big four' accountancy firms
- the Channel Islands Stock Exchange (CISX)
- a Guernsey Company and IP Registry
- a bespoke professional development facility, the Guernsey Training Agency (GTA) University Centre
Island life helps to facilitate team spirit amongst these providers who work with an independent and robust yet pragmatic regulator, the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC).
Then there is Guernsey Finance – the promotional agency for the Island's finance industry. It is a joint industry and government initiative to create awareness around the world, including in India, of the potential benefits to wealthy individuals/families and institutions of investing in Guernsey.
What do we offer Indian investors?
Guernsey firms are already providing financial products and services to wealthy individuals/families and institutions from India. In particular, we have seen a number of Guernsey investment fund structures established and listed on European stock exchanges with the aim of investing in Indian infrastructure. The general characteristics of this asset class, including the fact that it will be held for a significant time period before being realised, make it similar to private equity and venture capital funds where Guernsey has considerable experience and expertise.
The island is recognised as a leading centre for the domiciliation, management, administration and custody of funds, ranging from the traditional to alternatives such as funds of hedge funds, property and especially private equity. Guernsey is home to internationally recognised providers and despite the global financial downturn we have seen continued robustness in our funds business.
A key attraction of using Guernsey, particularly for the Indian market, is the available access for listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), its Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and Euronext Amsterdam, as well as most pertinently, the CISX. The fashion has been for Indian structures to float on AIM. However, the CISX can offer something similar but with the added bonus that it is a recognised exchange, which opens up the potential for additional benefits such as increased investment and liquidity.
Guernsey can also meet the needs of private clients, no matter whether resident or non-resident Indians. High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) who want to manage their wealth and assets for the benefit of future generations can use Family Office Services provided from the Island. The breadth and depth of our finance industry to include private banks and asset managers, as well as a fiduciary services sector providing trust and company administration, makes us an ideal one-stop shop for wealth management in an increasingly globalised world.
Indeed, the island's cutting-edge Company and IP Registry utilises the latest technology to offer a speedy and cost-effective service that is available 24 hours a day and accessible online from anywhere around the globe. This builds on Guernsey's position as a leader in corporate structuring. The island pioneered the cell company concept when it introduced the Protected Cell Company (PCC) to the world in 1997. This has been widely copied and is now also known as a Segregated Cell Company. There is a wide range of modern vehicles available in Guernsey and a considerable depth of expertise in utilising them for an array of financial products and services.
For more information about Guernsey's finance industry please visit www.guernseyfinance.com.
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