Opportunity exists for Guernsey to step up US focus

10 May 2017

Guernsey should look to take advantage of uncertainty in the United States and the wider world, according to one of the local industry’s leading experts.

Uncertainty following Donald Trump’s election and events in the wider unsettled world are causing an upsurge in interest in wealth planning from US residents.

Trust Corporation International Directors Michael Betley and Andréa Daley Taylor attended the 13th annual international Estate Planning Institute in New York, jointly staged by STEP New York and the New York State Bar Association.

Mr Betley spoke at the conference on the practical issues surrounding moving trusts onshore and offshore.

Trust Corporation was accompanied by Guernsey Finance Deputy Chief Executive Kate Clouston, who co-manned the company’s exhibition stand and took advantage of the networking opportunities at the event.

The reaction to Trump’s presidency is having more of an impact than his political agenda, Mr Betley said.

“In an unsettled world more and more people are interested in wealth planning and asset preservation,” he said. “There is no lack of appetite for protecting what they’ve got.”

It remains unclear how successful President Trump will be in his declared intention to repatriate US corporate capital although, without CRS, the country remains “a bastion of privacy for individuals”.

“Very wealthy families are looking for a secure base to house their assets and invest but are at the same time are concerned about privacy. They want their wealth to be secure in a legal jurisdiction they can rely on.

“Conversely, if the failure to fulfil manifesto promises leads to civil strife then, given the rhetoric around closing the borders, people may want their wealth housed outside the jurisdiction,” he said.

The scenario was creating interest from both inbound and outbound wealthy individuals and Mr Betley remains positive about the opportunities for Guernsey to establish more business in the US.

“With so much uncertainty about what Guernsey service providers will or won’t be able to do in Europe, we should be devoting more time to gaining new business from other regions and, for us, that includes America” he said.

“We need to consider how Guernsey goes about articulating its message from a US perspective.”

In particular, there could be opportunities to leverage Guernsey’s expertise in the insurance industry.

“The US insurance industry seems to be much more protected than others and wealth planning through insurance structures seems to be gaining traction. There is a myriad of wealth planning tactics using insurance to mitigate the fact that many of the old structuring techniques no longer work,” Mr Betley said.

“With so much uncertainty about what Guernsey service providers will or won’t be able to do in Europe, we should be devoting more time to gaining new business from other regions and, for us, that includes America. We need to consider how Guernsey goes about articulating its message from a US perspective.”
Trust Corporation International Chairman Michael Betley

Miss Clouston said: “Guernsey is viewed by many as a safe harbour in these times of volatility. Our independence, five decades of experience and adherence to international standards make this an ideal location for internationally-mobile families concerned with long-term asset protection.

“It is a fine balance to maintain standards of client confidentiality while at the same time meeting demands for transparency. Practitioners such as Trust Corporation International maintain that balance and highlight the international nature of the work that is done here.”

Trust Corporation International has built a client base of US residents or those with a current or future US touchpoint. It has an affiliated business based in Nevada.

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