Guernsey: Looking Ahead: How Is Guernsey Embracing Change?

Last Updated: 7 February 2017
Article by Dominic Wheatley
Most Read Contributor in Guernsey, September 2019

Dominic Wheatley, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance, delves into some of the latest developments to be launched on the island.

Guernsey has continued to solidify its position within the mainstream of international finance over the course of 2016.

Notable developments to take place in the island's financial services sector over the past year include introducing not one, but two new fund regimes, opening a representative office in Hong Kong, reaffirming its global leadership on standards of anti-money laundering (AML) and being recommended for a 'third country' passport under the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD).

The high-regard in which Guernsey's finance industry is held internationally was also evidenced in October when it played host to a Chinese family office delegation. The delegation were so eager to learn about Guernsey, its position as a leading offshore jurisdiction and to understand the regulations and structures that exist on the island, that they requested for a bespoke fiduciary qualification to be put on for them during their week-long trip. The visit and training was arranged by Guernsey Finance in conjunction with the GTA University Centre, the Guernsey Association of Trustees and the Guernsey branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

Antoine Kuo, founder of Griffin Plutus Family Office, was one of five people from his Shanghai office to complete the qualification. Mr Kuo, who has more than 25 years' experience in private banking and offshore finance, explained that the island's standard of regulation and flexible range of structures were important to the Chinese market and that the course had provided a greater insight into the way Guernsey operates.

"Through more than 40 meetings and classes over five days with some of the best practitioners in Guernsey, we were not only impressed by the professional expertise and well-regulated environment Guernsey has to offer, but also the warmth and hospitality shown towards us. These are some of the key reasons why Guernsey maintains its leading position in the private wealth market," said Mr Kuo.

We are delighted that someone with Antoine's background recognises Guernsey's significant experience and expertise in this area and wants to learn from us in terms of how we establish and operate fiduciary structures for global clients. Bringing these influential contacts to the island is a significant development in Guernsey's relationship with China and we are already aware of enquiries that have taken place since the delegation's visit.

Asia focus

Building relationships with firms and contacts not only in China, but across Asia remains a key focus for Guernsey.

Indeed, we opened our second representative office in Asia in March 2016. The Hong Kong office in Admiralty follows the opening of our Shanghai office in 2007. Guernsey Finance Asia representative Wendy Weng, who is based in Shanghai, uses the Hong Kong office as a base from which to carry out further promotional activities concentrated on the wider South East Asian market, while it is also utilised by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) to provide on-the-ground regulatory advice to those in the region who might be considering Guernsey-specific ventures.

Establishing the Hong Kong office has resulted in further Guernsey activity across Asia. This has included hosting our own events in Hong Kong, Singapore and China during recent months.

The seminars in Singapore and China both had a focus on the Asian private client market, with nearly 200 in attendance in Shanghai to hear from our speakers on the requirements of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS). The OECD-devised standard for the automatic exchange of financial account information between the tax authorities of participating jurisdictions is a much-discussed topic in China and one their industry is looking for further clarity on. More than 100 jurisdictions have so far signed up to CRS, with the exchange of information relating to the 54 'first wave' jurisdictions, including Guernsey, taking place by September 2017, while China, as one of the 47 second wave jurisdictions, will begin to exchange information from September 2018.

Compliant and transparent

Being amongst the 'early adopters' of CRS was important for Guernsey as it demonstrated our commitment to tax transparency and meeting global international standards. The fact that we are then able to host an event in China on the subject which attracts nearly 200 people, most of them senior practitioners in banking, trust, securities and other financial industries, emphasises the fact that Guernsey is regarded as a leader in international finance and one that is ahead of the curve in terms of international regulatory standards.

This was again evident at the beginning of the year when an evaluation of Guernsey by MONEYVAL, a body of the Council of Europe tasked with assessing the measures in place to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism, found that Guernsey had surpassed the standards set in the equivalent International Monetary Fund report in 2010.

In addition to finding the island as being compliant or largely compliant with 48 out of 49 of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations on AML and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) – the highest standard of any jurisdiction so far assessed – MONEYVAL found that Guernsey has in place a range of measures to facilitate various forms of international cooperation and plays host to competent authorities and financial institutions that are highly efficient, knowledgeable and aware of their obligations.

The findings were consistent with how we see Guernsey's leading position within the mainstream of international finance not only in terms of AML and CFT, but also regulation, beneficial ownership, tax transparency and CRS.

Attaining and working to these standards is a key reason behind why Guernsey was recommended for a third country passport under the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).

The independent EU regulatory authority assessed Guernsey, alongside 11 other non-EU jurisdictions, as part of its non-EU AIFMD passport reviews and gave Guernsey one of only five 'unqualified and positive assessments'. ESMA's advice is now with the European Commission for its approval. Until that happens, alternative investment fund managers (AFIMs) on Guernsey continue to have access to EU markets under national private placement regimes.

New fund products

Ahead of receiving the ESMA backing in July, the Guernsey regulator introduced the Manager Led Product (MLP), a regime designed in light of AIFMD, which places the regulatory burden on the manager. By virtue of the AIFM's sponsorship, no alternative investment fund or underlying licensee will have rules imposed on it, while the regime avoids duplicating regulatory requirements over several entities and derogation requests acceptable to the host country will be considered by the GFSC.

The MLP was followed by the November launch of Guernsey's Private Investment Fund (PIF) regime, which again looks to provide fund managers with greater flexibility and simplicity. It recognises that certain investment funds are characterised by a relationship between management and investors that is closer than that of a typical agent and accordingly, the GFSC is prepared to dispense with the formal requirement for information particulars such as a prospectus.

The PIF, which can be either closed or open-ended, should contain no more than 50 legal or natural persons holding an economic interest in the fund. One exception is where an appropriate agent, such as an investment manager or occupational pension scheme, is acting for a wider group of stakeholders. While there is a limit imposed on the number of investors in the PIF, no attempt has been made to limit the number of investors to whom the PIF might be marketed – a feature not available under comparable regimes in other jurisdictions.

Under the new rules, the fund will benefit from an application process that can be completed in one business day. As part of the application process, the fund manager provides warranties on the ability of the investors to assume loss. Considering that the PIF is predicated on a close relationship between management and investors, the GFSC considers this a reasonable representation.


These product launches, coupled with our increased focus on Asia show that it is an exciting time for Guernsey's financial services industry across all our key sectors. It also further demonstrates that Guernsey's hard-won reputation for creating an environment synonymous with innovation and high standards shows no signs of slowing down.

An original version of this article was first published in eprivateclient's 2017 Guernsey report, January 2017.

For more information about Guernsey's finance industry please visit

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions