Andy Bailey, Head of Fiduciary at Belasko

A recurring theme of WE ARE GUERNSEY’s 2022 Private Wealth Forum was that Guernsey is a safe harbour for private wealth. It’s a stable jurisdiction with a stable government and legal system, and first-class financial services.  

With ongoing economic, social and political tensions, the island is a calm port in a storm. With so much uncertainty, Guernsey can bring a high degree of comfort and security to international families looking for a service provider in a stable jurisdiction that can look after their best interests.  

This sentiment is reflected in the enquiries that we’re getting at Belasko. We have clients who have structures in Caribbean jurisdictions, for example, who are now struggling to bank those structures, so they are looking to migrate those companies into the Channel Islands. They are moving to different administrators in a jurisdiction with a positive profile and global regulatory bodies such as FATF and OECD, which have good links to the banking and investment intermediary market. This point was echoed by the panel at the Private Wealth Forum.   

Another key theme the panel discussed was how families bring the second generation into succession, investment, ESG, philanthropy and family governance discussions. The traditional model of a matriarch or patriarch keeping tight reins on wealth management, distribution and succession is gradually being replaced with a more open approach. 

What we are seeing much more now is that families want to get the next generation involved earlier. Sophie Ward, Head of Charities & Education at HSBC, agreed, explaining that implementing good governance earlier helped to mitigate the risk of disputes.   

I’d agree; disputes often arise when the matriarch or patriarch passes away and the younger family members, all with different viewpoints, visions of wealth solutions and causes close to their hearts, start to get involved in decisions and discussions about how the family’s assets should be maintained and/or distributed.  

We encourage early involvement from the wider family on the vision for the family wealth. When this happens, there is a greater chance of asset transfer through the generations.   

This increasing next-gen involvement also ties into a great ambition amongst high-net-worth families to have a clear purpose for their money. As a result, wealth creators are now looking more closely at what impact they want their money to have in the long term.   

Having a clear vision is very important. Involving the younger family members in formulating that vision is more commonplace, which is another reason we see more involvement in ESG-type initiatives and philanthropy. So, it’s essential to have a flexible structure so that it can be utilised for any of those family ambitions.   

We find that the second and third generations are highly educated; they want to be more involved and make a positive impact on the world.    

Another key trend picked up by the panel at the Private Wealth Forum was technology. We’re already seeing more interest in investments in FinTech initiatives, whether digital assets or the financial technology services market.  

Belasko’s technology solutions are designed to make our clients’ lives easier. We are their eyes and ears; we’re there to help them take the friction and stress out of their life by being a point of reference for them.  

Our clients know that we’ve got the day-to-day management of their wealth covered for them, and they can concentrate on strategic investment decisions and the wider purpose and legacy of their investments.  

Astronaut Tim Peake started the session by discussing how people work together as a team to achieve a common objective. The theme of people working towards a shared goal continued throughout the afternoon, and Russell Clarke of Carey Olsen closed the session by saying: ‘What sets Guernsey apart is its people.’ It was clear from the panel’s discussions that Guernsey’s high calibre of professionals is one reason the island is seen as a leading financial services centre.   

Families are turning to a variety of structures to preserve, enhance and transfer wealth to future generations. From traditional trust and private trust company (PTC) arrangements to family investment companies (FICs) and private investment funds (PIFs), Belasko has experience in a wide variety of structures and family scenarios and will be happy to discuss the best option with families and their advisers. 

If you’re interested in finding a bespoke approach to wealth management, contact Andy on: [email protected] or find more information on Belasko’s offering here: