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Jersey Promotes Trusts, Foundations In London

by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, Washington
05 June, 2014

Jersey Finance's recent Annual Private Client Conference in London discussed the range of trust and foundation structures offered by the territory, and plans to update the Charities Law to augment the island's appeal as a specialist center for philanthropic activity.

Richard Hay, Tax Partner and Head of the Private Banking Practice at Stikeman Elliot, delivered one of two keynote speeches, and there followed a lively debate on the global transparency agenda, in which the value of a public register of beneficial ownership was questioned. It was claimed that Jersey's framework for supervising corporate and trust service providers and collecting good data was further ahead than in other countries, including in the UK. On this point, while agreeing that more is needed to assist authorities on tackling fiscal crime, panelists highlighted Jersey's role in helping to raise global standards and claimed that the focus should now shift to how Jersey could assist other centers and engage with developing countries to support their data exchange frameworks.

The conference also focused on "Evolution or Revolution," whereby the audience were advised that the number of Foundations formed in the first quarter of the year in Jersey was at its highest level since the structure was launched five years ago.

The latest statistics show that 21 structures were formed in the first quarter of this year, around 60 percent higher than the overall average rate of quarterly formation during the past five years. More than 250 Foundations have now been established in Jersey since the law came into force in 2009, with around a third of those having a charitable or philanthropic objective.

In the debate, which also highlighted the 30th anniversary of Jersey's pioneering trust law, panelists emphasized that high net worth individuals are comfortable with jurisdictions like Jersey that have a robust disclosure framework in place. Panelists also discussed how clients are increasingly looking for a multidisciplinary service, which can cater for their bespoke family, philanthropic, and commercial needs, and that Jersey's range of structures provides a good platform for this.

Following the conference, Geoff Cook, CEO of Jersey Finance, commented: "Jersey is extremely well placed and held in very high regard by London professionals, who are seeking robust, professional support for their clients. What they are looking for is frequently not about tax, but asset protection, security, and estate planning and, given the strength of Jersey's law, its commitment to being a leader in transparency, its expertise and its range of products, the opportunities for Jersey are global."

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