Jo Stoddart of Quintessential Relocation Consultants considers some of the reasons why financiers would look to relocate to Guernsey.
Quality of life isn't easy to measure – perhaps because it is more readily defined through its absence. A gradual waning of the old joie de vivre, a lack of spring in your step, a busy schedule that feels like Ground Hog day...
Relocating to Guernsey offers the chance to create a new and exciting work/life balance that could re-inspire the whole family. Located approximately 70 miles south of England and a few miles away from France, it offers a quality of life far removed from the daily grind. Whether you are attracted by the beauty of the coastline, clean beaches, mild climate, good schools or the gentle tax regime, the lifestyle enjoyed by those who live here is exceptional.
Essentially British, Guernsey's beguiling and exotic flavour of the continent makes for the best of both worlds, but without the language barrier!
What's more, Guernsey is one of the most dynamic environments in which to do business – people relocate here precisely because they can enjoy all the benefits of a city career, but without the drawbacks of city living or long commutes.
Live to work...
Guernsey is a major international business centre offering beneficial tax laws and a refreshing "can-do" attitude. It is a politically and economically stable environment, regulated to a high standard, and benefits from laws that were designed to support international business. What's more, the island offers same-day trading with Asia and North America and easy access to London (40 minutes from Gatwick), other UK cities and Europe.
There's a real vibrancy to businessin Guernsey and local companies are supported by world-class services in banking, finance and law. Entrepreneurs are drawn to the Island's receptive business community and have access to a pool of non-executive directors that would be the envy of any global city. Guernsey is a hot-house for investment fund business – at the end of March 2014 the overall value of funds under management and administration in Guernsey stood at £264.2bn.
Work to live...
Whilst Guernsey offers all the ingredients for a successful career, island culture encourages residents to remember that there is more to life than work.
With no rush hour or gruelling daily commutes (everything is just a walk or short drive away) newcomers feel as though they gain several extra hours a day. An active social scene makes it easy to meet the friendly international community.
Sport and outdoor activities are very popular – adrenaline junkies can enjoy surfing, windsurfing, water-skiing, coasteering and sailing whilst more than 28 miles of cliff paths and rural lanes make walking, jogging, cycling or horse-riding great ways to let off steam. The island has private health clubs, a public leisure centre and two 18-hole golf courses. Football, rugby and cricket all have active leagues.
More sedate pastimes include lingering over fresh seafood at waterside restaurants; films, music, theatre or opera; and exploring the charming cobbled streets of the town. Visiting the smaller islands of Alderney, Sark and Herm make wonderful day trips for those who enjoy exploring.
Guernsey's high quality free education system is a big selling point for families moving here. Primary education (5 to 11 years) is followed by a place at the Grammar School, one of three secondary schools or at one of the independent colleges. There are also several private primary schools and provision for pupils with special educational needs.
One of the best things about Guernsey, particularly for youngsters who need to be tempted away from television and computer screens, is the outdoor lifestyle. With 27 beaches and stunning countryside, a free range childhood is what life here is all about. An afternoon at the beach and cooking sausages on the barbecue as the sun sets are simple pleasures that make Guernsey such a special place for children. The standard of health care is excellent – residents contribute to a government run health insurance scheme which covers hospital treatment, specialist medical care and some of the cost of GP consultations.
Making the move
Guernsey has a wide selection of beautiful homes ranging from stylish apartments, elegant Victorian townhouses and cosy cottages to large detached houses with land. Similar in price to London and parts of the south-east of England, there is something to suit all tastes.
A housing system controls the occupation of property and helps to manage the population. Properties are classed as either Open Market or Local Market. Local Market properties can only be occupied by people who were born in Guernsey, or who come to the island as an "essential employee" to fill a post for which no residentially qualified local person is available, whereas Open Market properties, of which there are 1600, can be occupied by any British or EU National. Guernsey is a unique island offering the best of both worlds: an environment in which your career can flourish and where quality of life is excellent. With a flat Income Tax rate of 20%, no capital gains tax, no inheritance tax and no value added tax, Ground Hog Day on Guernsey is not such an unappealing prospect!
Jo Stoddart is the Managing Director of Quintessential Relocation Consultants, independent property finders and relocation service providers who work alongside private individuals and businesses relocating their home, staff or business to Guernsey.
An original version of this article was first published in Global Fund Media's 2014 Guide to Relocation, November 2014.
For more information about Guernsey's finance industry please visit www.guernseyfinance.com.
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.