Guernsey: Carey Group Q&As on Offshore Trusts

Last Updated: 14 June 2012
Article by Jim Gilligan

What signature taxation, laws, trusts or investments do you think really work for UHNW clients and why? Clients generally demand control over the assets that would benefit from structuring, especially those business assets that they've spent years building. One option is the use of an offshore limited partnership to hold the asset with the patriarch acting in a GP capacity and a trust owning the majority of the limited partnership interests. The Guernsey trust law is of interest with regard to the unlimited perpetuity period and the planned changes of Guernsey limited partnership laws to also allow unlimited perpetuity periods with this planning.

Are there any private clients in the world you would really like to work with? Our Client base is made up in the main by entrepreneurial business owners in Europe and the Middle East. We are working with more clients also from Asia and South America.

What size of client do you generally work with and how many do you have? Carey Trustees work with a broad range of clients in terms of their size and scale from family office clients valued at approximately Euro 5 billion, through to simple IP holdings which may display great potential for future growth. We currently have 350 clients on our books and this figure continues to rise I am happy to say!

What is the most interesting or unusual private client deal you have ever been involved with? We were involved in the bidding process to purchase oil production facilities in Africa from a global oil company.

What lessons have you learned that you could share with those starting out in the industry? Some of the best client relationships I have made have come from being prepared to provide counsel to clients that led to no initial business form my own firm. Often in business these goodwill gestures are overlooked but in many circumstances the clients appreciate and remember this and when there is an opportunity for fiduciary services down the line then they have already formed that bond of trust which is the cornerstone of our industry.

What initiatives do you have or do you think there should be for women? Two of the five board members of Carey Trustees Limited are women. The fiduciary sector here in Guernsey also has a high proportion of women in the workforce but we understand the challenge for the industry is to develop them further to board positions.

If you had to win a wealthy new client where would you take them to impress them? Due to the nature of our firm as detailed earlier, we would ask them to take us to their business to allow us to understand them better which is often easiest in their own surroundings and indeed, is where the clients talk most freely. We can also better understand how their business grew to where it is now and to understand where they wish to take it in the future. Too often, the wealth management profession fails to really get under the skin of the client to see what makes them tick and instead they try to impose their own standard models onto each client.

What are your three USP's for UHNW clients?

  • We have a commercial risk based approach to any new business proposition without prescribed restrictions on the type of clients or nature of assets to be held. Further, we have extensive experience in managing personal and business assets cohesively.
  • The complex nature of our client base is supported by the quality of our administration team which averages over 15 years' experience per person.
  • We are a truly independent fiduciary group who have had the same ownership for over 40 years and thus are not conflicted in terms of investment or changing ownership issues.

What is the best thing that has ever been said about you? That I focus on finding solutions not problems.

What is your individual focus in terms of countries and UHNW clients? Geographically, we focus on the CIS / Eastern Europe, Middle East and India and with regard to the clients we tend to attract, these would be entrepreneurs / business owners introduced to us through client referrals. We are however, happy to manage less complex client structures as well.

How much do you travel on business and where do you tend to go? UK, Switzerland, the Middle East and Singapore.

What is the next big thing in private wealth management? The numbers of fiduciary providers offshore (including Switzerland) will reduce as the increased compliance and regulatory pressures test profiles, I believe.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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