Independent, privately owned fiduciary and investment services company

From the Arabian Gulf to the Bailiwick – Middle East Turns to Guernsey

From the Arabian Gulf to the Bailiwick – Middle East Turns to Guernsey

It’s been very clear from our recent trip to the Gulf that Guernsey continues to grow its strong reputation as a finance jurisdiction in that region. I think there are several reasons behind this, including the facts that Guernsey has robust regulation in place, it is a stable place to do business and in practical terms, the time zone is not too dissimilar from that of the Gulf. 

Guernsey’s professional community is first-class, so we’re adept at connecting clients with tax, legal and other private wealth services. We are used to dealing with sophisticated clients with complex, global needs.

In addition to this, the Island is also fully compliant with economic substance recommendations, is on the OECD whitelist and, because we have undertaken private wealth structuring and corporate work to a high standard for many years, the Island is trusted, and often recommended. In fact, some of the laws and regulations that Guernsey has created are now being replicated in global financial hubs such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which is a huge compliment to the jurisdiction.

The legal precedents that have been tried and tested through the Courts of Guernsey provide families in the Middle East with the assurance that their private wealth structures are robust and will work for them. This assurance also spans Sharia Law – which is different to Guernsey Law – to ensure that the Courts of Guernsey will uphold the sanctity of a trust arrangement, guaranteeing that families’ legacies are protected. 

Something that spans every market is the desire for discretion and privacy when managing financial affairs, with the Middle East being no exception. Our clients value the emphasis that Guernsey places on the privacy of high-net-worth individuals and its strict commitment to confidentiality. As a well-respected financial hub, Guernsey is often an appealing choice for those seeking discretion when managing their wealth and succession planning objectives.

Macroeconomic and geopolitical pressures have also played a part in the growing interest in international jurisdictions such as Guernsey, with people wanting more stability for their assets and to have the peace of mind that their affairs are being managed effectively and efficiently. Guernsey Trust Law provides clients with a proven way to structure trusts to meet those needs. There is also flexibility, which appeals to families who are less familiar with the European concept of trusts. 

We had quite a few detailed discussions with families and their advisors whilst in the region last week, which related to devising a family constitution document to manage the wishes of the Patriarch or Matriarch for their children and grandchildren’s future, whilst ensuring the family wealth is protected in a structure that works now and in the future.  Guernsey’s highly flexible regime therefore makes it easier to organise a trust, foundation, private trust company, a corporate vehicle or a private investment fund in way that works for each family member, given the differing needs, which can then be adapted over time, depending upon specific succession requirements. 

At Lancaster, we work with clients with complex and evolving needs who have multi-generational families who require regular activity beyond the trust administration aspects of the role. Our unique owner-managed proposition means we have an experienced team of professionals who can offer a more personalised relationship management experience, and who tailor wealth management strategies to better align with the unique goals and values of clients. 

In addition, the size of our business allows us to be agile, something that is essential when operating in an ever-changing industry. Through this, we can be dynamic and act swiftly and decisively – something our clients really appreciate. Our team also specialises in the cultural nuances of the Middle East, recognising the sensitivity and ensuring wealth management structures are designed with cultural considerations in mind, where relevant.