Russian high net worth individuals and their advisers are increasingly aware of Guernsey as a centre for wealth management services, according to Fiona Le Poidevin, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance.
Miss Le Poidevin was speaking on her return from the Private Client Russia & CIS conference held between the 2nd and 4th October in London.
Miss Le Poidevin said: “Many Guernsey fiduciaries already have Russian clients but what we are finding is that the Island is becoming significantly better known among Russian high net worth individuals and their advisers. Much of that is down to the work of both Guernsey Finance and the Island’s industry firms in getting out into the marketplace but it is also helped by the fact that VTB and Renaissance and other well known Russian brands have a presence in Guernsey.
“Having such names in the Island raises the awareness of Guernsey in the Russian adviser community and it also both helps them understand the role that Guernsey can play in their client’s affairs as well as giving us significant credibility. This means that when we are at conference like this then we can move forward more quickly with explaining the specific products and services we can provide to clients.”
Miss Le Poidevin was leading the Guernsey Finance team which was exhibiting at the event. She was joined by Todd Wheeler from Butterfield Trust, Glen D’Arcy from Intertrust and Alasdair McLaren from Saffery Champness. Also attending the event was Ryan Dekker from Trident Trust.
In addition, Mr McLaren spoke at the conference on behalf of Guernsey Finance. He participated in a session discussing the key factors for asset structuring and asset protection. He was able to specifically mention Guernsey’s expertise assisting Russian clients with wealth planning, including through the use of structures such as trusts, Private Trust Companies (PTCs) and foundations.
Mr McLaren, a Director at Saffery Champness in Guernsey, said: “Guernsey punched well above its weight, especially as the Guernsey exhibition stand was very prominently positioned so that it was a primary point of focus for people coming into the coffee sessions.
“The subject matters were broad, including a focus on private client needs and asset protection. It was a good conference with a really mixed delegate list – not just the same familiar faces – there were a lot of Russians and simultaneous translations enabled everybody to follow the proceedings.
“The delegates, including some very high net worth people from the region, came away with a much greater understanding and appreciation of Guernsey and the services it can provide to clients in that geographical location.”
Guernsey Finance was one of the lead sponsors for the event which attracted more than 130 delegates.
Miss Le Poidevin added: “The event was very well attended by Russian private client advisers, both from the country itself but also London. Indeed, this was a very good opportunity to meet with such a large number of London-based advisers to Russian clients. London is highly valued for its expertise in private wealth planning and it remains the primary source of this type of new business from Russia.
“What we were able to emphasise at the event is that Guernsey has a strong heritage in providing exactly the type of services which are demanded by Russian high net worth individuals – asset protection, succession planning and wealth planning for globally mobile families. The motivation for using Guernsey is not tax driven but due to the choice of structures we have available and the experience and expertise we have in utilising them to best meet the needs of Russian clients.”
Guernsey Finance held its first delegation to Moscow in May 2011 and returned in March 2012. Plans are in place for another visit in 2013.