Melanie Ison considers the distinctive priorities of Asian high-net-worth individuals and why Guernsey is equipped to meet their needs
ASIA PACIFIC IS SECOND only to North RELATIONSHIPS ARE IMPORTANT
America in terms of the number of high-net-worth Asian business relationships are based on individuals (HNWIs) in the region. By 2018, it is continuity and trust over generations. Robust expected to hold more than one-third of global family office structures are frequently sought wealth, with its private wealth forecast to reach for long-term succession planning. Asian private USD76.9 trillion.1 The opportunities for private clients are increasingly global in their outlook, with client service providers in Asia are abundant. family and business connections throughout the
Over the years, Asian clients have been world. Service providers must reflect that global naturally drawn to the services of jurisdictions reach and work across multiple jurisdictions.
like the BVI and the Cayman Islands, partly due Guernsey has responded to this need with a to the flexibility of their legislation compared clear commitment to the region, demonstrated to options closer to home. Both Singapore and by the establishment of a Guernsey Finance Hong Kong took a long time to modernise their office in Shanghai, as well as several businesses trust laws, which are based on a template from headquartered in Guernsey establishing Victorian England. Hong Kong, for example, dedicated offices in Asia, such as Nerine with did not update its own trust law until late 2013. its Hong Kong office. This provides excellent
Even then, like Singapore before it, it took support for Asian private clients in their own time a conservative approach, choosing not to zone. Equally, Guernsey’s location gives access to
“Guernsey offers access to time zones in key markets from east to west, as well as pragmatic regulation and a long-established professional infrastructure”
innovative and adapt to the global pace
of change. Asian private clients often have complex and dynamic family situations, underpinned by a culture quite different to that in the west. They require bespoke and integrated solutions that reflect their
way of doing things, rather than a product- led approach.
This solution-driven approach is very much part of Guernsey’s DNA. The industry has always worked with private clients to offer
bespoke solutions, and this means it is well placed to serve the needs of the region. Innovative and up-to-date legislation, which is more flexible than the regional offering, enhances Guernsey’s proposition and allows the industry to continually evolve. Pioneering image rights legislation and the Guernsey foundations law are two such recent developments. The ability to have disenfranchised and enfranchised beneficiaries and a high level of control under Guernsey’s foundations law is particularly attractive for Asian families, as is access to specialist administrators, ongoing legal support and favourable tax treatment. These attributes, in addition to sophisticated fund administration experience, complex insurance and banking expertise, and high-calibre lawyers, mean Guernsey’s offering
Great service is as important in Asia as anywhere but, to succeed in the region, you also need to demonstrate empathy for the culture, a keen focus on high standards, and an ability to innovate. Guernsey is very well placed to do so.
incorporate many of the features Asian HNWIs
seek. As a result, clients continue to look to other jurisdictions for wealth-management solutions. Those clients are increasingly looking beyond the perceived advantage of lower pricing in the Caribbean and recognising the compelling proposition of jurisdictions like Guernsey.
What, then, are these increasingly sophisticated clients looking for when selecting a trust company and executing business?
time zones in key markets from east to west.
Combined with a high level of pragmatic regulation and a long-established professional infrastructure, this means Guernsey is a jurisdiction in which Asian clients can have confidence when seeking a trusted advisor.
FLEXIBILITY AND ADAPTABILITY
Asian HNWIs want solutions and providers that can stand the test of time and yet remain
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