A delegation from Guernsey's funds industry has been in
Switzerland this week investigating potential new business
Peter Niven, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance – the
promotional agency for the Island's finance industry, led the
delegation to Geneva and Zurich between Monday 11 October and
Wednesday 13 October.
He was joined by members of the Guernsey Investment Funds
Association (GIFA): Joe Truelove from Kleinwort Benson, Richard
Hughes from BNP Paribas Securities Services, KPMG's Neale Jehan
and Sean Cheong of law firm Collas Day.
A series of meetings were held with key business introducers,
both those who already use Guernsey extensively and those that
don't currently but where there is potential for them to do so
in the future.
"We had very positive feedback from all those
attending," said Mr Niven.
"The group learnt a great deal about what these introducers
think about doing business in Guernsey. The existing users were
complimentary about the Island but also provided some food for
thought about our funds regime.
"In addition, we found there was some strong interest from
other promoters about the opportunities offered by using structures
from Guernsey. We are now looking to make this a regular feature of
our activity calendar so that we can try and capitalise on this
interest from Swiss promoters in Guernsey's funds
The discussions also looked at commonalities between the two
jurisdictions, including both not being members of the EU but
impacted by the Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFM)
Directive and the EU Savings Tax Directive (EUSTD).
"It was very interesting to compare notes on how each other
view AIFM and EUSTD," added Mr Niven.
"Overall it was a very productive visit that gave us a
valuable insight into how their industry sees Guernsey and also the
wider issues that are currently on the radar."
Mr Niven added that he sees potential in being able to
springboard off the connections that already exist between the two
"Of course, there is already a strong relationship between
Guernsey and Switzerland. During the last 20 years several
well-known Swiss institutions have chosen to locate operations in
Guernsey. More recently, a number of firms from our fiduciary
sector have opened trust and company administration businesses in
Geneva or Zurich to service their international clients who prefer
to take advantage of the different products and services on offer
from Switzerland. We already have a strong working relationship
with the Swiss and I see no reason why we cannot build on that to
take advantage of these opportunities that exist for our investment
funds sector," he said.
Many people are baffled by trusts, the purpose of which they don't fully comprehend. Some even regard them with suspicion, as tools of of opaque tax evasion strategies of a type favoured by wealthy individuals.
We were recently instructed by a Bank in relation to a regulatory matter. The Bank had made a suspicious activity report to the Financial Investigation Unit ("FIU") due to their concerns about the potential source of funds in an account.
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