Guernsey: Guernsey And MENA – The Right Place At The Right Time

Last Updated: 11 October 2013
Article by Fiona Le Poidevin

Most Read Contributor in Guernsey, November 2018

Fiona Le Poidevin, of Guernsey Finance explains why Guernsey is a leading investment funds domicile and why it attracts significant business from the MENA region.

In July, the MENA Private Equity Association published its annual report for 2012. It reported that the fundraising environment remained relatively challenging with a decrease in total funds raised compared to 2011. However, the private equity industry in the Mena region was continuing to show signs of recovery in 2012 with an increase in the number and total value of known investments compared to the previous year.

It will be very interesting for us to hear how the Mena private equity community is faring this year when we attend the SuperReturn Middle East conference in Abu Dhabi in October. The conference has become a staple of our marketing activity in recent years. This year, the representatives joining us from Guernsey's investment funds sector will be Richard Avery-Wright from asset manager RAW Capital Partners, Mark Douglas of fund administrator Mercator and Darren Bacon from law firm Mourant Ozannes.

We are reminding private equity managers in the Middle East that during the past 50 years Guernsey has established a reputation as a leading investment funds domicile. It possesses a wealth of expertise and first class infrastructure for the structuring, management, administration and custody of not just traditional funds but also alternative and esoteric asset classes.

Indeed, during the past two decades, the sector has seen the balance of business move from being largely retail, equity-traded/cash-based schemes to predominately institutional and alternative funds, especially private equity. This period has also seen us attract significant business from the Mena region.

Mena business in Guernsey

Mena asset managers with Guernsey-domiciled investment funds include Arab Bank, Ahli United Bank, Global Investment House, Kuwait Investment Company, MENA Capital, Mubadala, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Strategia Investment Company.

More specifically, Arab Bank has a number of investment products domiciled in Guernsey. The funds, structured within Protected Cell Companies (PCCs), have been set up to attract investment from institutional clients in the Mena region.

Examples include the AB MENA Feeder Fund, the IIAB Sukuk & Murabaha MENA Fund and the IIAB MENA Feeder Fund which were each established with legal advice from Mourant Ozannes and are serviced by local administrators Legis and custodians Butterfield Bank. All three are listed on the Channel Islands Stock Exchange (CISX) and were established adhering to Shariah principles.

Locally based Argyll Investment Services (now part of MitonOptimal) was responsible for the launch of the World Shariah Funds PCC Limited, a Guernsey-based suite of Islamic-compliant investments, listed on the CISX. The legal advice was provided by Ogier and the fund administrators are Legis.

In addition, other Mena investment houses such as SHUAA Capital and the Islamic Development Bank have their funds domiciled in another jurisdiction but the administration is carried out in Guernsey due to our mature infrastructure and expertise.

Infrastructure and expertise

The net asset value of investment funds under management and administration in Guernsey reached more than £286bn (US$452bn) at the end of June 2013 – up 5.6% year on year and 26% in the last three years. Within these figures, private equity has experienced particularly strong growth, reaching more than £86bn (US$136bn) at the end of June 2013 – up 6% in the year and 65% since June 2010.

Guernsey's expertise in the private equity space was confirmed by a Private Equity News and State Street survey where 61% of chief financial officers who responded said the island was their preferred destination for private equity outsourcing.

Guernsey-based administrators range from large, multinational organisations to independent, boutique providers. These include specialised private equity fund administrators such as Alter Domus, Augentius, Aztec, International Administration Group (IAG) and Ipes, as well as globally recognised names such as HSBC, JP Morgan, Northern Trust, RBC and State Street who can also act as custodians. A large part of their business relates to Guernsey open and closed-ended funds, which are now promoted and sponsored by leading institutions in more than 55 financial centres globally. These can be established through a range of flexible investment vehicles such as companies, limited partnerships, unit trusts, the Guernsey-pioneered PCCs and Incorporated Cell Companies (ICCs).

However, the high levels of expertise and mature infrastructure of the island's investment funds sector mean that Guernsey providers are often asked to service schemes domiciled in another jurisdiction, such as the Cayman Islands or the British Virgin Islands (BVI). As previously mentioned, some Mena asset managers already take this approach.

Managers who have used the 'non- Guernsey schemes' route have been so impressed by the service standards in the island that they have either migrated funds to, or established subsequent structures in, Guernsey. This is something we might expect to see continue, if not accelerate, as the legacy of the global financial crisis leaves fund managers and investors increasingly seeking greater substance to their arrangements.

Indeed, Guernsey is also home to some of the leading global private equity houses, including Apax, BC Partners, EQT, Mid Europa, Permira and Terra Firma. They not only have their funds serviced in Guernsey but have also established a physical presence in the island with offices and staff.

This is another trend we might expect to see continuing, if not accelerating, especially among European-headquartered investment houses who are seeking to ensure there is sufficient substance behind their arrangements in order for their management entities to be outside the EU for the purposes of the EU's Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD).


The AIFMD seeks to regulate EU-based Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFMs), managers of EU established Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) and managers that market AIFs into the EU. So, in essence, if either the manager or the fund has a relationship with the EU then the Directive comes into play.

Guernsey is not in the EU (although it is in the European time zone) and therefore, is not required to implement the AIFMD. However, Guernsey has evolved its regime to ensure that we can continue to service both EU and non-EU business in the most effective way.

Managers and funds with no connection to the EU continue to be able to use the existing regulatory regime which is completely free from the requirements associated with the AIFMD, thereby having significant operational and cost benefits. Yet, Guernsey can also offer managers access to the EU markets through the continuing National Private Placement (NPP) regimes until at least 2018, while the Island is also in the process of establishing a fully equivalent AIFMD regime from 2014.

This means that Mena investment houses can use Guernsey for either non- EU or EU business. Indeed, the island is ideally placed for Mena fund managers to access European capital markets. Guernsey structures can list on the CISX, Euronext Amsterdam, Frankfurt and the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Indeed, there are more non-UK entities listed on the LSE markets from Guernsey than any other jurisdiction globally. Guernsey also offers access to other exchanges around the world, including Toronto, Australia and Hong Kong.


The conclusion is that Mena investment houses, in particular those wishing to access EU markets, should be aware of Guernsey's strength as a private equity funds centre. The Mena investment community already uses structures or services in the island and the changed international environment means that Guernsey is very much the right place at the right time for Mena private equity business.

Originally published by Mena FM, October 2013.

For more information about Guernsey's finance industry please visit

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions