Guernsey: Guernsey’s Offshore Allure For The Asia Market

Last Updated: 26 March 2010
Article by Peter Niven

Most Read Contributor in Guernsey, September 2018

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
Related Topics
Related Articles
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
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

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 or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq 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 of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

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