£bn. Family Offices providing rich vein of new business

Sizable family offices are relocating to Guernsey according to the head of Babbé’s trust and pensions team Nicholas Donnithorne.

Over recent months he has advised fiduciaries in connection with a £1bn. structure relocating from Monaco, placing a Delaware $2.5m. family office into a new Guernsey structure and the conversion of a traditional £300m. trust and company structure into a family office.

Such transactions are providing high value work for professional firms in Guernsey and, in some cases, creating new jobs in the island when a family office employs its own staff.

Mr Donnithorne said that ultra high net worth families, which are often complex and geographically spread, are increasingly placing their wealth and the associated risk around the world. Typically the patriarchs of the family offices involved are located in Europe, the Middle East and the United States.

“Guernsey is seeing more of this work now than historically was the case. We are seen as a transparent and well-regulated international finance centre that is not on any black lists,” he said.

“We also have flexible laws, for example Guernsey foundations are seen as more accommodative than, say, the equivalent Jersey law. In Guernsey there is no requirement for any of the councillors to be resident, unlike Jersey where residency is a requirement for at least one councillor.”

Babbé assists Guernsey licensed fiduciaries in relation to their role within the structure and advises the principal of the family office on the structuring, working with tax or other relevant consultants. Also, implementing the Guernsey legal aspects of the transaction, such as employment contracts, service agreements, the purchase of real estate and the creation of trusts.

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