Why is Guernsey a good place for Americans to do business?

Date 25/06/2019
2 minutes to read
Roddy Balfour - Director, Equiom Private Office

Roddy Balfour, Equiom Private Office

Guernsey has had a long association with leading US institutions which have selected the island for their branches and subsidiaries. It is believed, however, that when Virtus Trust, now part of Equiom Group, obtained a US trust licence in South Dakota in 2009, this was the first time a Guernsey-domiciled fiduciary group had formed a US subsidiary. This was a deliberate initiative at a time when many international institutions turned their back on US private client business. But at just the moment, ironically, the global trust industry woke up to the attractions of the US through states such as South Dakota, Delaware and Wyoming. These attractions included very strong statutes covering asset protection and direction of the trustee regarding investments. The latter offers greater protection for the trustee than a reserved power trust under most Anglo-Saxon-based trust laws. 

Separately, the revisions to US tax laws in 1997 resulted in US persons (including dual nationals) needing to hold assets and resulting gains and income through US vehicles since not doing so became disadvantageous and in some circumstances outright punitive from a US tax perspective. The fact that Guernsey is in the GMT time-zone means it is perfectly placed to deal with US-connected business which can come from anywhere in the world – Hong Kong in our morning and California into our evening.

A key market for these US services is on our doorstep, however London has the largest concentration of US persons outside of the USA itself, many of them in highly paid positions and needing wealth structuring.  Equiom Trust’s US offering, with liaison through Guernsey and a decade of global experience in the field, means that the Island, which is also home to many investment funds with US directors, managers and sponsors, is the first jurisdiction many clients and advisors with US issues will be drawn to.

For more information on this topic contact Roddy Balfour.

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.
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