Substance is key for family offices

01 May 2019

Substance requirements are becoming so significant that they are now influencing where high net worth individuals are basing family office arrangements, according to new research commissioned by the specialist global finance centre of Guernsey.

Guernsey, which was reaffirmed by the European Union as a cooperative jurisdiction in terms of good tax practice and transparency in March, having satisfied “substance” requirements, is increasingly being considered as a jurisdiction of choice for global family offices in order to manage their wealth structures in a safe, secure and stable environment.

The independent research, commissioned by Guernsey Finance and carried out by consultancy Gibson Strategy in February and March this year, interviewed family offices, high net worth families and corporate service providers.

Some key global trends identified by the research include:

  • Family office requirements are growing in complexity, due to both external pressures and from within families;
  • A third of family offices say their wealth affairs are now highly multi-jurisdictional;
  • Nine out of 10 strongly agree that substance in their financial planning arrangements, to overcome tax concerns, is increasingly important;
  • Professional services firms are responding to this additional complexity with increasing professionalism and specialisms.

“Guernsey has been a specialist global financial services centre for more than 50 years, renowned for the safety, security and stability which this research has shown is a key consideration in setting up a family office,” said Guernsey Finance Chief Executive Dominic Wheatley.

Dr Andy Sloan, Deputy Chief Executive, Strategy, at Guernsey Finance, added: “Supporting the development of family office services is a key strategic focus for Guernsey. I am pleased therefore to see this independent research confirming that substance and reputation are now driving jurisdictional choice in the family office space – a trend which supports what we are seeing with this type of business in Guernsey.”

Click here to see the results and conclusions of the research.

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