Jersey: Private Trust Companies

Last Updated: 10 December 2008
Article by Naomi Rive

In recent years Jersey has seen a steady increase in the use of the private trust company ("PTC") by wealthy families. PTC's have developed a reputation for flexibility, costs saving and privacy to name just a few of the many advantages and, in the current climate, are causing many very high net worth clients to reassess their institutional relationships. For a PTC to be truly successful, however, careful consideration will need to be given to the composition of the board of directors, the administration of the PTC and its ownership structure.

What is a private trust company?

At its most simple a PTC is a company incorporated to act as a trustee of a trust or group of trusts. A PTC, by way of exception to the usual rules, will not be required to obtain a licence to conduct trust company business as long as the PTC fulfils the following criteria:

  1. the purpose of the PTC is solely to provide trust company business services to a specific trust or group of trusts;
  2. the PTC does not solicit from or provide trust company business services to the public; and
  3. the administration of the PTC is carried out by a person registered to carry out trust company business.

Why use a private trust company?

A PTC is likely to be of considerable interest to a settlor who wishes for himself and his family members to retain involvement and decision making powers in relation to family trusts. Ongoing participation in the trusts is often achieved through the settlor populating the board of directors of the PTC with members of the family. Family members will often be co-directors along with trusted advisors and perhaps even a professional trustee.

A further advantage of a PTC is that it allows younger members of the family to become involved at all sorts of different levels depending on their age, level of expertise and interest. By keeping the trusteeship of the family trusts within the family it is also considered that costs can generally be reduced and that confidentiality can be enhanced.

Composition of the board of directors

By sitting on the board of directors of a PTC the family can actively participate in the decision making and day-to-day operation of the family trusts and can ensure that the objectives of the settlor in creating the trust are effectively realised. However, the PTC, as the trustee of the family trusts, must act in the best interests of all of the beneficiaries of the trusts and individual directors should not be placed in a position where they are able to favour their own interests or the interests of those beneficiaries who they represent. Such issues can be avoided by the appointment of wholly independent board members or for the board to appoint committees to advise them on issues such as investment and property management.

The physical location of the directors of the PTC is an important consideration not only because of the potential fiscal mind and management implications but also because of disclosure obligations that may be imposed on directors in certain jurisdictions. In addition, all PTC's should be mindful of continuity and succession planning issues at board level. Often this is best dealt with by the appointment of one or more independent, professional co-directors.

Finally, where the assets of a trust include ownership of a complex or specialist trading entity, or where there is a desire to invest trust assets in 'high risk' investments, then the directors, or at least some of them, will ideally have expert knowledge of the particular trading entity or 'high risk' investment.

Administration of the PTC

In order for a PTC to be exempt from the requirement to be registered under Jersey law to conduct trust company business, the PTC must be administered by a locally registered trust company.

Under Jersey law the administrator of the PTC will be responsible for fulfilling the anti-money laundering requirements of the PTC. This is an important role and the licensed administrator is likely to insist upon being provided with sufficient information to ensure that it has enough knowledge of the structure to be able to discharge its anti-money laundering obligations. If the family is not willing to share information with the administrator at the outset then this is likely to lead to tensions in due course. It is therefore advisable that the administrator meets and establishes a good and trusted relationship with the family at the outset.

The administrator will also need to agree the terms of its service contract with the family at the outset. Such an agreement will ideally set out the scope of the administrator's role, the extent of its liability, its fees, entitlement to information and the process for terminating the relationship.

Ownership of the PTC

The shares in a PTC may be owned in a number of different ways. The most direct and transparent form of ownership is through the family itself but depending on fiscal or confidentiality concerns this may not be the most appropriate structure.

A popular ownership structure for a PTC is via a non-charitable purpose trust. By distancing the beneficiaries from direct ownership of the PTC through this 'orphaning' arrangement, optimum protection from external intrusion can be achieved. Another possible ownership structure is for the PTC to be owned by a stand-alone entity such as a private foundation.

Flexibility is one of the huge attractions of a PTC and it is, of course, perfectly permissible to combine the above ownership structures. However, where the settlor is the sole shareholder of the PTC and one of only a small number of directors on the board of directors as well as a beneficiary of the trusts, the settlor will be in possession of largely unfettered levels of control. Therefore, the structure may risk being undermined when the settlor dies or loses capacity. Equally, dividing ownership of the PTC up between different family members may enhance the risk of internal disputes. It is therefore generally considered preferable for the PTC to be owned by a structure that is separate and distinct from the family members.


PTC's allow high net worth families to create a wholly bespoke structure within which to manage and develop family wealth. The PTC is attractive to families because it allows family members to contribute their in-depth knowledge and skill to the advantage of the family. However, the most successful PTC's will continue to utilise the skills of independent professionals who will play a significant role in the administration and ongoing management of a PTC.

This article first appeared in the autumn 2008 issue of Appleby Jersey's Finance newsletter.

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.