By Naomi Rive
With wealth accumulating at record speeds in China there is a real need for high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs to give consideration to their wealth management requirements. In Jersey we are well placed to assist with this. Not only do we have a sophisticated private client wealth management industry, which is cutting edge in terms of the structures that it can offer, we also have a substantial body of trust and legal professionals, an enviable regulatory regime and a leading court system.
Trusts, companies, limited partnerships and foundations are just some of the varied structures that Jersey can offer, along with the establishment of private trust companies (PTC) and family offices for ultra high net worth families. Jersey law trusts continue to hold a number of attractions. They are the tried and tested option and, thanks to ongoing amendments to the Trusts (Jersey) Law 1984, remain responsive to the needs of modern day settlors and beneficiaries. A Jersey law foundation can be distinguished from a trust by its incorporated status and separate legal personality. These characteristics make a foundation more likely to be upheld and recognised in civil law jurisdictions that are not familiar with the trust concept and therefore they are of considerable interest to clients from civil law jurisdictions including China, Russia and most of continental Europe.
What is particularly attractive about foundations is that whilst they encompass many of the classic features of a company, they also retain the flexibility of a Jersey law trust.
Whether you select a trust or a foundation, a PTC or an independent trust company, for a truly successful wealth management structure to be established, it is important that the trustee and the settlor of the trust share common values and understand the objectives for which the structure has been established. Consequently, wealth managers, lawyers and accountants in/from Jersey have, in recent years, invested considerable time and money by visiting China and seeking to understand the needs of the Chinese market. One theme that has emerged from these visits is that Chinese investors are particularly concerned to ensure that their money is managed in a well regulated jurisdiction, where there is a strong corporate governance ethic and a robust regulatory regime. Transparency is also key for Chinese clients, as is the quality of the legal and court system should this be called upon to resolve any issues that arise in future years. In these areas Jersey has led the way amongst the offshore jurisdictions and has received the highest praise and endorsements from organisations including the International Monetary Fund and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.
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.