Guernsey: Guernsey’s Offshore Allure For The Asia Market

Last Updated: 26 March 2010
Article by Peter Niven

Most Read Contributor in Guernsey, September 2016

Originally published in China Economic Review, Offshore Quarterly, Spring 2010

Peter Niven, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance, says that during two years of promoting the Island in the region he has seen the Asian market turning to embrace offshore products and services.

It is now two years since Guernsey established its representative office in Shanghai. During this period we have been learning from our experiences and consequently refining our approach but the bottom line is that we have made great strides in growing the recognition of our brand across the region.

At the same time, I have also seen a shift in attitudes as increasing numbers within the Asian market move from relying on their 'traditional' financial strategies to become more familiar with offshore products and services.

There is still some way to go on this front and we also have to continue to raise awareness of what particular Offshore Finance Centres (OFCs) can offer but the conditions are right for corporate and private clients from China to be using Guernsey in increasing numbers over the next few years.


In Guernsey, we identified some years ago that there was the potential for Chinese corporate and private clients to take greater advantage of offshore products and services and the Island should therefore begin to promote its offering to the Asia market.

From the outset it was recognised that differences in geographical locations, time zones, languages and cultures would require us to adopt a different approach compared to promoting the Island in the more traditional centres of the United Kingdom (UK) and Europe. As a result, towards the end of 2007, we built on our early work by establishing a permanent representative office in Shanghai.

This was a major step. Although Guernsey is a leading OFC, it is a small Island situated between the UK and France that punches well above its weight internationally. Establishing a permanent office in a vast and rapidly developing jurisdiction like China was very important in demonstrating our long term commitment to the marketplace. However, it also meant ensuring that we were effective in putting across the right messages to the relevant audiences.

In the following two years we have had real success in raising awareness of the Guernsey brand with both City officials and business introducers, particularly in Shanghai. Examples include the fact that Tu Guangshao, the Vice-Mayor of Shanghai, visited Guernsey in November 2008 to learn more about the Island as a leading IFC. More recently, in November last year, Madam Fu Ying, the Chinese Ambassador to the UK, also visited Guernsey and commended our innovative and bold initiative in establishing an office in Shanghai.

During this time we have also seen growing interest from business introducers in the products and services Guernsey can offer their clients in China and the wider region. Indeed, recognition of this trend has led law firm Ogier to announce that Partner Marcus Leese will be moving from the Island to its Hong Kong office, where he will head up a new practice offering Guernsey law services to the Asian market. Some of our firms already have offices in Hong Kong and are now being joined by others such as Richmond Fiduciary Group which is also looking to establish links into Shanghai.


I believe that Guernsey's experience over the last two years has contributed to and is part of a wider shift in attitudes as increasing numbers within the Asian market move from relying on their 'traditional' financial strategies to become more familiar with offshore products and services. An important factor at play is that while these 'new' approaches are different from established practise, in fact they do have strong connections with Chinese culture.

For example, the concept of the investment fund, as recognised in the west, is less well known in China. However, I am sure that over time it will begin to capture the imagination of Chinese investors who have historically made profits from buying and selling shares of listed companies on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) or the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE).

Guernsey has built a reputation as a leading offshore investment fund domicile and in particular we have become very well known for our experience and expertise in alternatives, such as property funds and private equity funds, as well as many other niche asset classes. Indeed, I believe that local culture means Chinese investors will be drawn not just to investment funds but particularly to these alternative and niche asset classes – a market that Guernsey is very much ready to serve.

Similarly, High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) who want to manage their wealth and assets for the benefit of future generations can use trusts, foundations and Family Office Services provided from Guernsey.

Concepts such as trusts – taken for granted in countries such as the UK and the United States (US) – are less familiar in jurisdictions such as China, where for many people the idea of handing over control of wealth and assets to complete strangers (albeit professionals) who may be half way across the world is an uncomfortable prospect. It is important to note that Guernsey can address these concerns either through the particular use of a standard trust or by arrangements involving a Private Trust Company (PTC) and a purpose trust. Key though to their increasing acceptance within China is that these structures have their roots in preserving wealth and assets for the future generations of families.

Having a team of dedicated professionals who are intimately involved with the family and can therefore provide bespoke, holistic solutions through trusts, foundations or wider Family Office Services is actually very much in tune with the way in which the family remains a key component of Chinese society, especially in relation to wealth and in today's society is becoming increasingly international in nature.

The Future

During 2010 Guernsey will be stepping up its efforts to make our offering more accessible to both Chinese corporate and private clients, for example we are pursuing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Shanghai, a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with China and approval for Guernsey companies to be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX).

I believe that such developments will provide a further catalyst to the growing interest from the Asia market in offshore products and services. This trend should not be so surprising though because while these 'new' approaches are different from 'traditional' financial strategies, in fact they both share common roots.

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
Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
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
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

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.

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 by clicking here .

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.


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.