Saffery Champness Guernsey works in partnership with a number of
family offices by providing resource, administration, management
and strategic and operational expertise in Guernsey with family
offices based elsewhere, typically London. For example, we work
with a substantial Middle Eastern client with a dedicated family
office located in London, with custody and banking arrangements
primarily in Guernsey and Switzerland.
Saffery Champness works in partnership with the family office,
which deals with the entire affairs of the principal, to provide
strategic input and administrative support. All the client's
global investment assets are managed by Saffery Champness and held
within a trust structure – comprising commercial and
residential property, hotels, hedge funds, private equity, fixed
interest investments and various businesses.
The client and its advisers chose Guernsey due to the
jurisdiction's proximity to the UK, its established legal
precedents, robust court system in dealing with Guernsey and
foreign law trusts, infrastructure and experienced staff. The
long-term working relationship with Saffery Champness director Lisa
Vizia and her team also played a key role in remaining in Guernsey.
Low staff turnover, longevity and expertise of staff have
contributed to Saffery Champness' reputation with family
Many of the local law firms have qualified lawyers from other
jurisdictions who provide in-depth knowledge and expertise in
multi-jurisdictional matters. Also, other international firms with
local offices assist in the audit of the structure. The family
office in London focuses on the delivery of the personal needs of
the client and his family and predominantly on the investment
strategy, asset allocation, as well as research. Saffery
Champness' role is to ensure that everything runs smoothly and
is proactively managed utilising the team's expertise, as well
as providing an administration, reporting and accounting resource
for the family office. The client's structure has 55 entities
in 15 jurisdictions for which Saffery Champness provides directors
who actively manage and administer the underlying assets.
Saffery Champness has used Guernsey companies within the
structure to own various assets in the UK and elsewhere, and the
firm also act as director to and administers various non-Guernsey
entities. Guernsey's investment funds sector is particularly
relevant. A private unit trust was utilised to own UK commercial
property and fund structuring has been used for hedge fund and
private equity investments.
"We are a trustee so we are one of the parties around the
table. It's not just about processing. We add value by offering
strategic input to the overall position of the client. We are
thought-led and proactive," Miss Vizia said.
Lisa Vizia is in London regularly so she can be at the family
office or meeting with advisers and physically have a seat around
the table. The family office representatives visit Guernsey where
all the management decisions are made. The key benefit the
relationship of these visits is the opportunity to see the service
provider in situ and meet the wider team together with local legal
advisers and auditors.
Lisa Vizia heads up Saffery's dedicated Family Office
Team in Guernsey, which manages offshore structures for ultra-high
net worth families, with a particular focus on the Middle East. She
is also responsible for business development for the firm's
An original version of this article was published
inFamilia, Issue 3, February
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