Guernsey’s new foundations legislation has already caught the eye of practitioners in Asia.
The legislation, which is currently awaiting Royal Assent from the Privy Council before it comes into effect later this year or in early 2013, was a hot topic of conversation at the STEP Asia conference held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Hong Kong on Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th October.
Fiona Le Poidevin, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance, who attended the leading fiduciary conference as part of a delegation from the Island, said the event was the perfect place to showcase Guernsey’s private wealth offering and reinforce the benefits of its new foundations legislation. This year’s conference, which attracted more than 450 delegates, had Guernsey Finance – the international promotional agency for the Island’s finance industry – as a gold sponsor.
“Kenny Foo of JP Morgan Hong Kong spoke on the first morning of the conference as part of a panel discussing global wealth trends and opportunities for innovation and mentioned foundations. His view was that they would become important structures for Asian clients in the future and specifically mentioned Guernsey as one of the jurisdictions who can readily offer these structures. This was particularly pleasing given that our foundations legislation has only recently been released,” said Miss Le Poidevin.
The second day of the conference saw the Guernsey delegation host a breakfast seminar on the new foundations legislation. Speakers for the seminar, which was attended by more than 60 delegates, were Jarrod Cowley-Grimmond, Director of Finance Sector Development for the States of Guernsey and Konrad Friedlaender, Partner at Carey Olsen in Guernsey. Nick Jacob, Partner at Lawrence Graham in London, moderated proceedings.
Miss Le Poidevin said: “There was much interest in foundations at the briefing and over the two days of the conference but also in the extensive range of other services Guernsey service providers can offer to the Asian market including our long standing trust offering, but also the new image rights legislation that is shortly to be introduced.
“Guernsey is clearly increasing its profile in the Asian market and we will therefore continue to make visits to the region, attend further conferences and support our local industry in any way we can to make sure that Guernsey becomes a specialist finance centre of choice for Asian clients.”
The number of attendees at STEP Asia with a connection to the Island totalled nearly 20, with industry members assisting on the Guernsey Finance stand including representatives from Carey Olsen, Collas Crill, Confiance and Richmond Fiduciary Group, while other Guernsey-based firms with representatives at the conference included Appleby, Butterfield, Louvre, Mourant Ozannes, Nerine, Ogier and RBC Wealth Management. Advanced copies of the STEP Journal’s Guernsey supplement were also made available to delegates at the conference ahead of it accompanying the November issue of the publication.
In addition to attending STEP Asia, Miss Le Poidevin also held a series of meetings in Hong Kong, including with the Hong Kong Venture Capital Association and the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, as well as financial trade media from the region.
This week sees Miss Le Poidevin and the Guernsey delegation move on to China where they will be joined by John Robinson, Chairman of the Association of Guernsey Banks (AGB) and Managing Director of Butterfield Bank in Guernsey. While in China they will be visiting political, regulatory and business leaders as well as meeting with specific financial institutions in the cities, including several banking groups.