Originally published in International Financial Services
Guide, Wealth Management, 2008
Over the last four decades Guernsey has
established itself as a leading international finance centre
with the highest reputation and standards, providing an
extensive range of products and services to a global market.
The Island's mature, innovative and service-oriented
financial services sector is based on a balanced range of
providers, broadly comprising:
The first merchant bank was established in 1963 and today
there are 50 licensed banks in the Island with deposits of more
than £112bn – up 26% year on year.
International banking groups with head offices in
Switzerland, Europe, USA, the United Kingdom and other
international locations have established subsidiaries on the
Island. The sector provides products ranging from retail
banking and savings through international wealth management to
institutional business and specialist lending. Importantly it
also services the other sectors of the Island's finance
The funds sector is benefitting from a series of changes
that have made it quicker and simpler to conduct business in
the Island. The value of funds under management and
administration is now in excess of £164bn – an
increase of 36% during the year.
The Island plays host to an extensive array of investment
businesses who in combination offer a range of products and
services for both retail and institutional investors from the
general to the more specialised. The Island is growing a
reputation as a centre of excellence for alternative
Guernsey has an international insurance industry that
provides a range of risk management solutions but is
particularly renowned for its captive expertise. Since the
first captive insurance company was formed in Guernsey in 1922
the Island has become the leading captive insurance domicile in
Europe and is in the top four in the world.
In 1997 the Island pioneered the protected cell company
(PCC) concept in response to the needs of its pre-eminent
captive insurance industry. Guernsey has since also introduced
the innovative Incorporated Cell Company (ICC) concept.
Guernsey is a leading international fiduciary centre with
over 50 years experience of supplying trust and corporate
The Island plays host to some 140 licensed fiduciaries,
ranging from large organisations to independent, boutique
operations, holding more than £200bn of assets in
Amendments to the Island's Trust Law, which include
abolishing the personal liability of directors in Private Trust
Companies (PTCs) and introducing Purpose Trusts, are expected
to be introduced early in 2008. Work continues on the
introduction of Foundations.
Work is on-going to improve the Island's already
business-friendly environment: on 1 January 2008, the Island
moved to a standard zero rate of corporate tax (and there is
already no withholding tax on dividends paid, no capital gains
tax, no inheritance tax and no value added or general sales
tax); a new Companies Law is set to come on-stream during 2008
– it will introduce a streamlined company
incorporation process that from the summer of 2008 will be
facilitated by a modernised Company Registry; and also during
2008, a suite of IP-related legislation will continue to be
introduced to the market.
Guernsey can also boast an independent regulator the
Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC), which is
renowned for robust yet pragmatic regulation. It is through
scrutinisation and endorsement from third parties such as the
International Monetary Fund and the Financial Action Task Force
that Guernsey can justify its claim to be a well regulated and
first-class international finance centre.
For more information about Guernsey's finance
industry please visit
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