Guernsey Finance's Director of International
Business Development, Kate Clouston, highlights key benefits of
Guernsey's private client offering
The Latin American market is a rapidly growing area of interest
for private client business. RBC Wealth Management and
Capgemini's World Wealth Report 2015 underlined this fact,
reporting that there are more than 530,000 high-net-worth
individuals (HNWIs) in the region, with wealth of around USD8
trillion. Guernsey has a long tradition of providing services to
Latin American clients. For many such clients, Guernsey's
proven stability, close proximity to London and access to all the
major markets have been key factors. Guernsey service providers
also employ staff with the language skills to make doing business
in the region easier, and conduct regular visits to Latin America
to meet clients. For those seeking to do business in Europe,
Guernsey also offers geographical advantages without all the
implications of operating in a jurisdiction that is a full member
of the EU.
Latin American clients are increasingly looking beyond the
perceived advantage of lower pricing in Caribbean finance centres
and recognising the compelling proposition offered by jurisdictions
Guernsey. HNWIs understandably seek solutions that can provide
safe and secure succession, inheritance and asset planning in a
jurisdiction fully compliant with international standards.
For example, Guernsey is recognised by international
organisations as meeting robust standards in terms of regulation
and tax transparency – achievements with added significance
following the global financial crisis. In 2011, the International
Monetary Fund reported Guernsey as being 'compliant' or
'largely compliant' with 47 out of 49 of the Financial
Action Task Force's Recommendations on combating money
laundering and countering the financing of terrorism – so far
the highest standard of any jurisdiction assessed. In October last
year, Guernsey was also one of 51 jurisdictions to commit to the
OECD's new Common Reporting Standard as part of the 'early
Recently, investors have increasingly set their sights overseas,
aiming in particular to acquire and hold international residential
and commercial property. Guernsey's finance industry,
established for over 50 years, has built up considerable expertise
in working with foreign investors in this area.
The past decade has seen a number of Guernsey wealth-management
and real-estate acquisition structures established to facilitate
investments, as individuals and their families seek to place assets
in reputable jurisdictions that offer experienced, knowledgeable
For foreign investors, direct ownership of real estate has to be
considered in terms of unforeseen tax implications – e.g.
property taxes, stamp duty and inheritance tax. In Guernsey, the
structures primarily used to hold real estate and address these
matters are companies, limited partnerships, private trusts,
limited liability partnerships and unit trusts, such as the
Guernsey property unit trust. It is also possible to use a Guernsey
incorporated real estate investment trust.
Besides international property investment, Latin Americans often
seek a family office service from their wealth managers. This can
involve help with planning the succession of the business empire,
handling the family's property and liquid wealth, attending to
the needs of family members, philanthropy coordination and asset
Guernsey's finance industry has such depth and breadth that
it is well placed to provide the widest scope of family office
services – at a high quality.
This is particularly the case as the island continues to develop
its world-leading investment fund and private equity sectors, the
success of which is due in part to the wide variety of robust
tax-neutral structures available under local legislation, which can
be used to hold assets and investments of all types.
"GUERNSEY'S PROVEN STABILITY AND ACCESS TO ALL THE
MAJOR MARKETS ARE KEY ATTRACTIONS"
Guernsey's wealth-management sector is made up of 150 lead
corporate licensees, ranging from local, boutique providers to
large, multinational organisations. The island is renowned for
being dynamic and forward-thinking, as demonstrated by its tailored
foundations law, the launch of 2-REG, the Channel Islands Aircraft
Registry, and our world-first image-rights legislation and
Such developments indicate that Guernsey's hard-won
reputation for creating an environment synonymous with innovation
and high standards is set to last.
An original version of this article was published in
theSTEP Journal, September
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