“Guernsey can provide political and economic stability in an uncertain world.” The endorsement came from David White, Managing Director at QB Partners, who was a panellist at the 2023 Private Wealth Forum hosted by Guernsey Finance.
“Choosing the right domicile depends on each client and their objectives,” he said. “Ensuring that the structures that advisers are recommending are portable from one jurisdiction to another, is vital,” said David.
This is something which he said Guernsey can provide, offering stability, a whitelist rating by the OECD, and a gateway to portable products.
This message resonated throughout the forum, which began with a panel on changing family dynamics and generational handover with Samuel Bosanquet, Family Office Services Director at Schroders, Charisse Crawford, Partner at Trowers & Hamlins, Greg Limb, Partner and Global Head of Family Office & Private Client at KPMG and moderator Kerrie Le Tissier, Director at Highvern.
Greg opened by discussing the growing number of families with members spread across different jurisdictions globally. “There’s a dawning recognition of what that means for their wealth structures,” he said.
To combat any issues stemming from this, he recommended wealth holders “surround themselves with advisers that are able to give them a global approach.”
Guernsey’s flexibility as an International Finance Centre was complimented by Greg, who said: “We see places like Guernsey, that have a system that allows families to understand the world, and tread carefully, as the way forward.”
Charisse examined the effect this has on succession planning and added: “We have more complex family dynamics than we have historically had. There’s nothing worse than seeing assets eroded when at the succession planning stage, something could have been done to perhaps protect that asset.”
She highlighted the importance of developing advisory boards, where professionals examine local assets and trust structures, to enable a worldwide strategy that is able to deal with unexpected events.
This statement was echoed by Samuel, who said: “The most important thing is to take a personalised approach to those families.
When discussing trends that influence jurisdictional choice, Samuel stated the importance of the four Ds – death, divorce, dispute, and disposal. He added: “Guernsey has unique and admirable structures, such as foundations purpose trusts, that can offer families things that they can’t otherwise access.”
He urged advisers to focus on the process and what the family is trying to achieve, rather than the financial outcome. “A genuine conversation is worth many times more than the piece of paper that comes out at the end,” he said.
The trio also explored the changing attitudes of the younger generation and agreed that integrating sustainability into building portfolios has now become the default.
Greg called attention to a “general acceptance that [younger generations] dial off some of the financial upsides for the impact that their investments would make.”
He also spotlighted a need for advisers to “adapt our style to suit,” saying: “We’re finding that younger clients are responding a lot more to people that speak their language.”
The second panel of the day, A changing world: Market trends and their impact, saw panellists Nick Rees, Managing Director at Cambridge Associates, Diana Robinson, Managing Director and Head of Investments & Advice at J.P. Morgan and David White, Managing Director at QB Partners discuss the impact of stagflation and worldwide uncertainty on market trends.
Diana said: “We’ve seen a real regime change in monetary policy, in the role of central banks and fiscal policy, which has had a real impact on investments.”
She highlighted the need for “A combination of client-centricity and using digital tools and advancements to scale that,” alongside diversifying risk by putting money in different jurisdictions.
And while we are seeing an increase in concern about global dislocation, Guernsey as a jurisdiction is viewed as a safe haven, said Diana.
On the impact of global events, Nick said: “We should embrace the theme of disruption in everything we do. These things shouldn’t come as a surprise, and when you’re trying to implement an investment decision, it’s very difficult to remove our emotional tendencies,” he said.
The event also saw the launch of a new piece of research by PAM Insight, commissioned by Guernsey Finance, examining research trends within the private client industry. These trends include being a good global citizen, sustainability, stability and reputation, and technology.
Katie Royals, Managing Editor at PAM Insight, delivered an update on the research, outlining the key trends from the report. The report reflected the sentiment around sustainability discussed earlier in the conference, with one respondent, a partner at a top London law firm, saying: “Younger generations have less of an interest in wealth, and more of an interest in doing good things.”
The conference took place at Landing Forty Two, the Leadenhall Building, London on 2 November and concluded with a ‘fireside’ chat between Guernsey Finance Chief Executive Rupert Pleasant and broadcasting legend Sir Trevor McDonald OBE, during which the pair discussed his glittering career as Britain’s best-loved journalist.