Guernsey: Looking Ahead: How Is Guernsey Embracing Change?

Last Updated: 7 February 2017
Article by Dominic Wheatley

Most Read Contributor in Guernsey, December 2017

Dominic Wheatley, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance, delves into some of the latest developments to be launched on the island.

Guernsey has continued to solidify its position within the mainstream of international finance over the course of 2016.

Notable developments to take place in the island's financial services sector over the past year include introducing not one, but two new fund regimes, opening a representative office in Hong Kong, reaffirming its global leadership on standards of anti-money laundering (AML) and being recommended for a 'third country' passport under the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD).

The high-regard in which Guernsey's finance industry is held internationally was also evidenced in October when it played host to a Chinese family office delegation. The delegation were so eager to learn about Guernsey, its position as a leading offshore jurisdiction and to understand the regulations and structures that exist on the island, that they requested for a bespoke fiduciary qualification to be put on for them during their week-long trip. The visit and training was arranged by Guernsey Finance in conjunction with the GTA University Centre, the Guernsey Association of Trustees and the Guernsey branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

Antoine Kuo, founder of Griffin Plutus Family Office, was one of five people from his Shanghai office to complete the qualification. Mr Kuo, who has more than 25 years' experience in private banking and offshore finance, explained that the island's standard of regulation and flexible range of structures were important to the Chinese market and that the course had provided a greater insight into the way Guernsey operates.

"Through more than 40 meetings and classes over five days with some of the best practitioners in Guernsey, we were not only impressed by the professional expertise and well-regulated environment Guernsey has to offer, but also the warmth and hospitality shown towards us. These are some of the key reasons why Guernsey maintains its leading position in the private wealth market," said Mr Kuo.

We are delighted that someone with Antoine's background recognises Guernsey's significant experience and expertise in this area and wants to learn from us in terms of how we establish and operate fiduciary structures for global clients. Bringing these influential contacts to the island is a significant development in Guernsey's relationship with China and we are already aware of enquiries that have taken place since the delegation's visit.

Asia focus

Building relationships with firms and contacts not only in China, but across Asia remains a key focus for Guernsey.

Indeed, we opened our second representative office in Asia in March 2016. The Hong Kong office in Admiralty follows the opening of our Shanghai office in 2007. Guernsey Finance Asia representative Wendy Weng, who is based in Shanghai, uses the Hong Kong office as a base from which to carry out further promotional activities concentrated on the wider South East Asian market, while it is also utilised by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) to provide on-the-ground regulatory advice to those in the region who might be considering Guernsey-specific ventures.

Establishing the Hong Kong office has resulted in further Guernsey activity across Asia. This has included hosting our own events in Hong Kong, Singapore and China during recent months.

The seminars in Singapore and China both had a focus on the Asian private client market, with nearly 200 in attendance in Shanghai to hear from our speakers on the requirements of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS). The OECD-devised standard for the automatic exchange of financial account information between the tax authorities of participating jurisdictions is a much-discussed topic in China and one their industry is looking for further clarity on. More than 100 jurisdictions have so far signed up to CRS, with the exchange of information relating to the 54 'first wave' jurisdictions, including Guernsey, taking place by September 2017, while China, as one of the 47 second wave jurisdictions, will begin to exchange information from September 2018.

Compliant and transparent

Being amongst the 'early adopters' of CRS was important for Guernsey as it demonstrated our commitment to tax transparency and meeting global international standards. The fact that we are then able to host an event in China on the subject which attracts nearly 200 people, most of them senior practitioners in banking, trust, securities and other financial industries, emphasises the fact that Guernsey is regarded as a leader in international finance and one that is ahead of the curve in terms of international regulatory standards.

This was again evident at the beginning of the year when an evaluation of Guernsey by MONEYVAL, a body of the Council of Europe tasked with assessing the measures in place to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism, found that Guernsey had surpassed the standards set in the equivalent International Monetary Fund report in 2010.

In addition to finding the island as being compliant or largely compliant with 48 out of 49 of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations on AML and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) – the highest standard of any jurisdiction so far assessed – MONEYVAL found that Guernsey has in place a range of measures to facilitate various forms of international cooperation and plays host to competent authorities and financial institutions that are highly efficient, knowledgeable and aware of their obligations.

The findings were consistent with how we see Guernsey's leading position within the mainstream of international finance not only in terms of AML and CFT, but also regulation, beneficial ownership, tax transparency and CRS.

Attaining and working to these standards is a key reason behind why Guernsey was recommended for a third country passport under the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).

The independent EU regulatory authority assessed Guernsey, alongside 11 other non-EU jurisdictions, as part of its non-EU AIFMD passport reviews and gave Guernsey one of only five 'unqualified and positive assessments'. ESMA's advice is now with the European Commission for its approval. Until that happens, alternative investment fund managers (AFIMs) on Guernsey continue to have access to EU markets under national private placement regimes.

New fund products

Ahead of receiving the ESMA backing in July, the Guernsey regulator introduced the Manager Led Product (MLP), a regime designed in light of AIFMD, which places the regulatory burden on the manager. By virtue of the AIFM's sponsorship, no alternative investment fund or underlying licensee will have rules imposed on it, while the regime avoids duplicating regulatory requirements over several entities and derogation requests acceptable to the host country will be considered by the GFSC.

The MLP was followed by the November launch of Guernsey's Private Investment Fund (PIF) regime, which again looks to provide fund managers with greater flexibility and simplicity. It recognises that certain investment funds are characterised by a relationship between management and investors that is closer than that of a typical agent and accordingly, the GFSC is prepared to dispense with the formal requirement for information particulars such as a prospectus.

The PIF, which can be either closed or open-ended, should contain no more than 50 legal or natural persons holding an economic interest in the fund. One exception is where an appropriate agent, such as an investment manager or occupational pension scheme, is acting for a wider group of stakeholders. While there is a limit imposed on the number of investors in the PIF, no attempt has been made to limit the number of investors to whom the PIF might be marketed – a feature not available under comparable regimes in other jurisdictions.

Under the new rules, the fund will benefit from an application process that can be completed in one business day. As part of the application process, the fund manager provides warranties on the ability of the investors to assume loss. Considering that the PIF is predicated on a close relationship between management and investors, the GFSC considers this a reasonable representation.


These product launches, coupled with our increased focus on Asia show that it is an exciting time for Guernsey's financial services industry across all our key sectors. It also further demonstrates that Guernsey's hard-won reputation for creating an environment synonymous with innovation and high standards shows no signs of slowing down.

An original version of this article was first published in eprivateclient's 2017 Guernsey report, January 2017.

For more information about Guernsey's finance industry please visit

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions