What’s involved in offering a premium service?

Friday 30 November 2018

Richard Tribe, Head of Equiom Private Office and Laura Brown, Senior Manager, Equiom Jersey discuss their approach to offering a premium service to clients.

What are the typical challenges that clients approach Equiom with in relation to the management of their finances?

Richard Tribe: Equiom Private Office deals with the more complex wealth structuring cases, where clients are seeking completely bespoke solutions. Typically this would involve a wide range of assets, often spread internationally, that perhaps need consolidating into a structure (typically a trust or foundation) that both protects the assets and affords sensible future succession planning.

Laura Brown: Confidentiality is another consideration. Many of our clients are resident in countries where significant wealth can be a security issue and so utilising suitable structures can reduce, or remove, such concerns. Of course, the clients are always fully aware of their obligations around full disclosure and transparency for tax reporting purposes, and we work very closely with the clients’ legal and tax advisers to ensure any structuring is compliant and fit for purpose.

Can you outline the process you go through to assess your clients’ current financial situation and assist them with identifying financial goals and concerns?

RT: We are often asked to review a client’s current situation, which can be quite an involved process. If there are structures already in existence, these will need to be looked at carefully to ensure they are still providing suitable protection. Then, we will discuss with the client their future plans and requirements, and ultimately determine how best we can achieve their goals.

LB: The concerns of wealthy families are often very similar, regardless of their nationality. As mentioned previously, protecting the family wealth is often the main priority, but educating existing and future generations is always an important consideration, as is philanthropy. We are seeing more and more families who want to give something back to society and so part of our remit is to work with them to put suitable plans into operation. Impact investing is gaining real momentum at the moment and a lot of my clients are increasingly interested in structuring part of their wealth into these areas.

Tell us about Equiom’s Private Office services. What is the typical client that they are aimed at?

RT: Equiom Private Office (EPO) was launched earlier this year. It is not a product offering, but more specifically a specialist team dedicated to providing clients with the highest levels of professionalism and personal service.

Once we understand what the client needs, we can draw on the variety of expertise across the entire Equiom Group to establish the most appropriate team to provide the optimal solution. Transparency and trust are fundamental to this approach and these are established through building a deep understanding of clients’ needs and their ongoing objectives.

EPO has been very well-received in the market as it is an entirely unique approach, which I believe is unmatched among other service providers.

What are the most common tax planning solutions that you offer to your clients?

LB: When sitting down with both current and prospective clients to discuss their requirements in terms of wealth and estate planning, we first have to consider the tax implications both in Jersey and in any other jurisdictions where the client resides or holds assets. Where a client is considered tax resident is an important consideration, as is where a client is considered domiciled or deemed domiciled.

The changes to the UK domicile laws and how UK property is taxed when held in offshore structures, which became effective in April 2017, have had a significant impact on wealth planning for clients who either reside in the UK or hold assets there. Aspects such as these greatly influence the advice we provide to clients.

What options are available for those who want to manage tax on their estate in Jersey?

RT: From a Jersey perspective, Equiom can offer a range of solutions to clients who are looking for effective wealth and estate planning options. One such option is a Jersey trust. The trust is Jersey law governed but does not have to have Jersey resident trustees, though in many instances having Jersey resident trustees can be beneficial.

The Jersey government does not levy fees or any other duties when creating a trust or during the life of the trust. In addition to this, Jersey law contains specific provisions which do not comply with forced heirship laws (laws of certain countries which require specific portions of a person’s estate to be left to specified persons).

To put this more plainly, a settlor can transfer his or her assets to a Jersey trust during their lifetime and Jersey law will not give effect to any rule of another country relating to inheritance or succession which says that such a transfer is not allowed. This means that a Jersey trust allows the settlor the absolute freedom to decide who will inherit the trust assets.

LB: Another option is the Jersey Foundation. The Jersey government enacted the Foundations (Jersey) Law in 2009. Foundations are required to have a charter (which is open to public scrutiny) and a set of regulations (that are private). A foundation is a legal entity that is managed by a council of persons who can be natural persons or corporate bodies though at least one of the council members must be a Jersey regulated entity (known as the qualified member). The foundation has beneficiaries but the Foundations (Jersey) Law stipulates that the foundation council will not owe fiduciary duties to beneficiaries nor will beneficiaries be entitled to information about a foundations’ assets unless the beneficiaries have a vested interest.

Jersey foundations have characteristics of both a company and a trust which makes them interesting entities for taxation purposes. A Jersey foundation can be drafted in various ways which affects the tax treatment in different jurisdictions

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Equiom has been advising wealthy families and multi-national businesses for decades.  The services we offer have evolved over the years with changing market needs. With a thorough understanding of the current generation and the most experienced professional team across the globe to cater to each individual situation and client, we are well placed to find the optimal solution for our clients’ needs.


For more information on Equiom Private Office contact privateoffice@equiomgroup.com.   

This article has been carefully prepared, but it has been written in general terms and should be seen as broad guidance only. The article cannot be relied upon to cover specific situations and you should not act, or refrain from acting, upon the information contained therein without obtaining specific professional advice. Please contact Equiom to discuss these matters in the context of your particular circumstance. Equiom Group, its partners, employees and agents do not accept or assume any liability or duty of care for any loss arising from any action taken or not taken by anyone in reliance on the information in this article or for any decision based on it.