Following an amendment to the Income Tax (Jersey) Law 1961 (the "Law"), effective from 1 January 2019, a new International Savings Scheme regime has been introduced in Jersey.
In short, the regime (proposed by the Jersey Pensions Association (the "JPA") with support from Jersey Finance) enables international employers to establish savings plans in Jersey for their non-Jersey resident employees.
What are ISPs?
An ISP is defined under the Law as being a scheme or arrangement (or a part thereof) that:
- has, as its sole purpose, the provision of benefits in respect of persons' employment wholly outside Jersey;
- is established under an irrevocable Jersey law trust, in respect of employment carried on wholly or partly outside Jersey by a person not resident in Jersey;
- has 2 or more trustees or a corporate trustee, regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission; and
- is not an approved pension scheme or arrangement under the Law.
Why were ISPs introduced?
The reasoning was two-fold:
- the concept of having a long-term pension to safeguard an individual's money and to provide for him/ her in retirement was deemed to be an outdated view; and
- with both employers and employees now being more globally mobile, it was thought crucial by the JPA (and by other practitioners in this space):
- for there to be appropriate vehicles available to hold employees' long-term savings in a manner that would best serve their needs;
- that such vehicles must allow savers to access their money more freely, rather than being tied to a single retirement date.
What are the benefits of ISPs?
Distinct from a pension scheme, benefits under an ISP can be specifically tailored to meet the needs and requirements of employers when considering the benefits to be provided to their employees.
By way of example, the terms of an ISP can be drafted so as to pay out lump sum benefits to employees not only on retirement but also in a wide range of other circumstances including when:
- their employment ceases;
- transitioning between jobs;
- retiring; or
- faced with other life changing events – such as ill-health or divorce.
Unlike approved pension arrangements established under Jersey's existing pensions framework, ISPs can also be used to provide benefits to employees before their normal minimum pensionable age.
The Law also very helpfully confirms that benefits paid from an ISP to a non-Jersey resident person will be exempt from income tax, as will any income derived from an ISP's investments and deposits.
Is there a target market for ISPs?
Generally speaking, the ISP regime will be attractive to large international companies, with globally mobile employees, looking to establish flexible savings plans in Jersey for their non-Jersey resident employees as part of their employee benefits, incentives or rewards packages.
More specifically, ISPs have been designed with the Gulf Cooperation Council member states in mind (a key market for Jersey's finance industry) and, in particular, those countries where there is a legal obligation on employers to provide "end of service benefits" to their employees.
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.