Foreword Volume 22, issue 3

Tuesday, 01 April 2014
This, the third issue of the STEP Journal in 2014, has a Crown Dependencies focus and also contains features on family businesses, as well as columns from our regular contributors, Martyn Gowar, John Harper, Richard Frimston and Val Cox.

To complete the picture, there is a range of other editorial, which is of interest to me and, I hope, to all readers of this publication.

The islands which make up the British Crown Dependencies, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man, have had, and continue to have, a significant involvement in the evolution of private client services. Well regulated in terms of the fight against money laundering and other financial crime, they are also at the forefront of conduct-of-business regulation. Certainly, they stand out when compared with some of their competitors in both the offshore and onshore worlds.

There is no doubt that the cost of regulation is considerable, but, in comparison with the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and other tax-compliance/transparency initiatives, regulation has proved a positive investment. There is, however, more, less constructive work for all of us on the horizon.

It is quite apparent that, if the G20 and the EU Parliament have their way, the cost of complying with their latest initiatives (public registers of trusts, companies and other similar structures, and the G20 proposal for automatic exchange of tax information) is going to place an even greater financial burden not just upon trust and company service providers, but also, inevitably, upon the taxpayer, who will contribute to the cost of implementing the systems needed to support the reporting and registration requirements. There are many issues that need to be addressed, but, for trustees and their ‘clients’, one of the most worrying aspects is the erosion of client confidentiality.

Meanwhile, practitioners continue to adapt to the evolution taking place in financial services to meet the demands of, and assist, their clients. In our changed world, very often settlors want more active involvement in the management and devolution of family wealth, as Kevin O’ Connell writes in his article on page 49.

Jersey’s introduction of foundations five years ago was considered a brave move for a non-civil-law jurisdiction, but, with over 250 presently on the register, it can be deemed a modest success. Wisely, the Isle of Man and Guernsey adopted a wait-and-see policy but, in a relatively short space of time, those jurisdictions decided to follow suit, and no doubt will also enjoy similar success in due course. Overviews of foundations in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man are provided by Giles Corbin, Gavin Ferguson and John Rimmer on page 33.

A recent judgment in Guernsey’s Royal Court, Investec Trust (Guernsey) Ltd and others v Glenalla Properties Ltd and others, is examined by Elaine Gray of Carey Olsen on page 41. It is thought that the court’s decision regarding a trustee’s right to indemnity will have an impact on other jurisdictions.

The Crown Dependencies focus also considers the new Guernsey aircraft registry (page 53), in addition to the Isle of Man’s treatment of privacy in trustee applications (page 45).

Family businesses feature strongly in a whole range of interesting editorial. A STEP Journal roundtable discussion was chaired by fellow editor Martyn Gowar. The panel of respected experts in their field considered a wide array of topics, from philanthropy and succession planning to engaging the next generation and custody of assets.

The changing dynamics of the single family office and multi-family office market are considered by Channel Islanders (Jersey-based) Ian Slack and Richard Joynt (page 63), while Penny Lovell hones in on the longevity of family businesses in Scotland and business succession planning (page 68). If readers would like to learn more or have colleagues who would like to start out in this interesting sector, then why not consider the Advanced Certificate in Family Business Advising, and read the related article by Ken McCracken, author of this relatively new certificate (page 62).

This bumper edition of the STEP Journal is a truly good read for members and a great source of CPD.

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Rosemary Marr

Rosemary Marr is Vice President of STEP and an Editor of the STEP Journal.

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