Guernsey has an excellent reputation as a trust
jurisdiction, recognised by the OECD through its inclusion on the
first "White List" published in April 2009, by the 2009
Foot report which placed Guernsey highly amongst the international
finance centres, and by receipt of various awards including, most
recently, International Financial Services Centre Of The Year at
The Wealth Adviser Awards 2014.
Approximately 200 licensed fiduciaries are located in Guernsey
and the value of assets held in trust in the island is estimated to
be in excess of £300 billion. There is a significant level of
trust expertise to be found in Guernsey and a well-established
infrastructure of professional support including in the legal,
accounting, audit, tax and actuarial fields.
The island is committed to tax transparency through the signing
of approximately 57 Tax Information Exchange Agreements, and has
already entered into such agreements with many countries, including
the USA, UK, France, Germany and Australia and Guernsey continues
to discuss TIEAS with many other countries. The International
Monetary Fund (IMF) visited Guernsey in 2010 and Guernsey received
a positive evaluation.
In addition to the above, Guernsey has the significant advantage
of having innovative Company and Trust laws, a strong regulatory
environment and a recently established Intellectual Property
The Trusts (Guernsey) Law, 2007 (the "Law") came into
force on 17 March 2008 and replaced in its entirety the previous
1989 legislation. The Law has been widely praised and the key
provisions are as follows:
Guernsey trusts may be established to last for an unlimited
A non-charitable purpose trust may be created;
A trust may be created directly over Guernsey real estate;
A statutory lien will be provided in respect of retired
trustees and a director or former director of a trust will not be
liable for any past breach;
A settlor of a Guernsey trust may reserve certain powers, or
confer such powers on a nominated third party, without prejudicing
the validity of the trust. The powers which may be reserved /
conferred in this way include the power to:
revoke, amend or vary the terms of the trust
advance, appoint or apply income or capital of trust
give binding directions to the trustees in relation to the
purchase, retention, sale, or management of trust property
appoint or remove any trustee, enforcer, protector or
change the proper law of the trust
restrict any trustee power by requiring the consent of the
settlor or a third party as a precondition to the exercise of such
The law contains a robust "firewall" provision to
confirm that all issues regarding the capacity of the settlor, the
interpretation of the trust, its administration or variation will
be a question of Guernsey trust law alone;
The terms of the trust may expressly exclude the
beneficiary's right to information about the trust;
Powers of attorney can now be given by trustees for up to three
Letters of Wishes or documents which reveal the intention of
the settlor or any beneficiary of the trust may be preserved from
No action for breach of trust can be brought that is more than
18 years old, regardless of whether the beneficiary had actual
knowledge or not.
The combination of the flexible framework provided by the Law
and the other factors detailed above, including the favourable tax
regimes which exist in the island, combine to make Guernsey an
extremely well placed and competitive jurisdiction for the
establishment and administration of all types of trust
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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