Guernsey has held the first in a series of discussion forums with leading London fiduciary lawyers .

The Island is hosting the sessions so that it can explore at first hand exactly what introducers of business want from international fiduciary centres. The findings will then form the basis of proposals for the development of Guernseys fiduciary environment as the Island looks to enhance business flows from the City and beyond.

This process was launched last week when Peter Niven, Chief Executive of GuernseyFinance, and three representatives from Guernseys fiduciary sector met in London with Partners of Allen & Overy, Farrer & Co, Mishcon de Reya, Lawrence Graham, Stikeman Elliott and Withers.

"This was the first in what will be a series of meetings with top London fiduciary lawyers. The City is a major source of business for the Island and so we want to investigate the precise needs of these introducers. We will then assess what changes we might make, for example amending legislation or establishing new products, in order for the Island to have a fiduciary environment that attracts further flows of business from the City as well as further afield," said Mr Niven.

"Certainly if this initial session is anything to go by then we will have a lot of interesting material with which to work. I look forward to talking again with those who attended this first forum and provided very useful feedback and also, as we roll out this programme, with other leading London fiduciary lawyers."

This initiative comes at a point when there are already a series of changes taking place as part of Guernseys ongoing development programme for its fiduciary sector. A new Trusts Law, which includes the introduction of Purpose Trusts and abolishing the personal liability of directors in Private Trust Companies (PTCs), has been passed by the Islands parliament, the States of Guernsey, and is expected to be approved by the Privy Council during February. Work is also continuing on the introduction of Foundations.

The three Guernsey fiduciary industry representatives attending the first discussion forum were Paul Hodgson (Butterfield Trust), Alasdair McLaren (Saffery Champness) and Russell Clark (Carey Olsen).

Mr Clark, Partner of Guernsey law firm Carey Olsen and Chairman of the Technical Committee of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Guernsey branch, said: "Guernsey has been working very hard over the last few years to modernise its fiduciary infrastructure but we are far from resting on our laurels.

"These discussion forums will provide us with the information to further develop our fiduciary environment in a manner that meets evolving client needs and therefore enhances our flows from introducers of business."

Guernsey has over 50 years experience in providing trust and corporate services. The Island plays host to some 140 licensed fiduciaries, ranging from large organisations to independent, boutique operations. Together they hold more than £200bn worth of assets in trust.

Mr Niven added: "The early indications are that these forums are a great additional feedback tool which will prove extremely valuable in helping us refine our strategy to maximise fiduciary flows. Therefore we aim in the future to extend this initiative so that we hold similar discussions with specialist introducers of business to our funds and insurance sectors."

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