FAQs

Consumer FAQs

Should I invest in Bitcoins or Bitcoin related investments

The Commission urges anyone considering investing in Bitcoins or Bitcoin related investments to act with extreme caution.  There are signs that the current valuations of Bitcoins are being enhanced by speculative investment flows.  Whilst we appreciate some of those holding Bitcoins over the last 12 months may have made very good financial returns, we would encourage all potential investors to remember that Bitcoins are not backed by underlying assets and that it is possible that those investing in them could see very large losses rather than good returns with the risks being very similar to those associated with gambling.

What is a mini-bond?

Mini-bonds became popular in the UK after the financial crisis.  They are issued by small companies as a means of raising money.  This is an alternative method of finance for the company (the issuer) to borrowing from a bank. Because the company issuing the bonds may be very small and just starting out, these are high risk investments with correspondingly high yields.  Consequently, mini-bonds have been attractive to people seeking higher interest rates in the continuing low interest rate environment. Mini-bonds are not traded on a stock exchange and so are only repayable by the company at maturity.

Mini-bonds are not directly authorised by the Commission nor by the FCA and, in the UK, are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (“FSCS”).  Similarly, there is no compensation scheme for those who invest in mini-bonds offered by local companies.

Should I invest in mini-bonds?

The Commission urges anyone considering investing in mini-bonds to act with caution.  Whilst the interest rate offered by the issuing company may appear attractive in comparison to the interest rates available, for example, on fixed term deposits, mini-bonds carry a higher level of risk.  You should consider these risks very carefully.  In extreme, if the company issuing the mini-bonds were to fail, you could lose all the money that you invested.

Whilst we appreciate that some mini-bonds may have made, or offer, very good financial returns, we would encourage all potential investors to remember that mini-bonds are not necessarily backed by underlying assets.  It is possible that those investing in them could see very large losses rather than good returns.

What should I do if I think I have fallen victim to a scam?

If you think you may be a victim of a payment fraud, you should contact your bank or card provider in the first instance, and then report it to Guernsey Police.  Likewise, if you have lost money to an investment fraud you should contact Guernsey Police.  More information can be found here.

What is an Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud?

Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud happens when fraudsters deceive consumers or individuals at a business to send them a payment under false pretences, to a bank account controlled by the fraudster. 

This can be as simple as fraudsters requesting payment for goods that do not exist, invoices being issued for services which have not been carried out, or if, for example, an individual’s online banking has been hacked or intercepted.

More information can be found here

What is identity theft?

Identity theft can occur if someone steals your personal data (such as your name, address and date of birth) and uses your details for themselves such as opening bank accounts, making purchases or claiming benefits, whilst pretending to be you, and without your consent.

What should I do if I think that I have been a victim of identity theft?

In the first instance, you should contact Guernsey Police, their details can be accessed here. If you believe that there have been suspicious transactions on your bank account, you should report it to you bank immediately.

Who should I contact if I have concerns about how my personal data is being used?

In the first instance you should raise your concern, in writing, with the entity who you think may be mis-using personal data. Explain to them which of your 10 rights you want to exercise, where appropriate. Make sure you keep a copy of your letter. Remember that whilst you can make this request – they may be able to refuse it whilst still acting within the Law but they should tell you their reasons for refusing.

The Office of the Data Protection Authority (ODPA) is an independent regulatory authority that was established for the purposes of data protection in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Follow the ODPA’s quick guide to exercising your rights if you do not receive a satisfactory response from the entity you’ve contacted with your concerns. If you have questions about your rights you can contact the ODPA.  

The ODPA has also released guidance on how to protect yourself from identity theft and scams.

Has Guernsey got a Deposit Compensation Scheme in place?

Yes, there has been a Scheme in place since November 2008.  More information can be found here.

How can I find out whether my deposit is covered by the local Deposit Compensation Scheme?

You can find out more on the Scheme’s dedicated website, a link to which can be found here.

I am having difficulty finding a bank which will open an account for me due to my poor credit history, what options do I have?

Most high street banks offer a ‘basic bank account’, which are particularly designed for people with poor credit histories, who can have difficulty opening other types of bank accounts.  More information on this can be found here.

I am looking to switch to another bank. I have heard of the Current Account Switch Service. What is this, and is it something I can use in Guernsey?

The Current Account Switch Service is a free-to-use account switching service, which is offered by some of the high street banks in Guernsey.  Your bank will be able to tell you if they offer this service locally.  More information can be found here.

I want to make a complaint against my bank. How would I go about doing this?

If you wish to make a complaint against a bank, you can find more information here.

Is there a Financial Ombudsman in Guernsey?

Yes, the Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman was established on the 16 November 2015 and is situated in Jersey. Click here for further information.

I have a complaint about a loan issued by a local provider. Can I refer this to the Commission?

Unless the provider is licensed by the Commission for another reason, e.g. a bank, the Commission does not regulate firms or individuals that advise on, arrange, or manage loans.  This includes mortgages, personal loans and car loans.  More information can be found here.

I think I may have been mis-sold an interest rate hedging product. What should I do?

The Commission would suggest that you get in touch with your bank in the first instance.  More information can be found here.

What should I do if the collective investment scheme I have invested in has been liquidated?

​If you learn that a collective investment scheme (CIS) in which you have invested money has been liquidated, and you have not received the entire amount of the value of your investment, you should address your complaint directly to the liquidator of the CIS. You will need to provide documentation which shows the valuation of your investment.

You may also wish to make a complaint to your pension fund administrator, if you feel the advice it gave to you did not meet your requirements in terms of the suitability of the category of investments it made on your behalf.  If the complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may then wish to refer it to the Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman.

Are Guernsey collective investment schemes covered by any compensation scheme?

​The Collective Investment Schemes (Compensation of Investors) Rules 1988 (as amended) provide for compensation for investors in Class A schemes, of up to £5m in any year. Subject to this limit, the maximum compensation payable per investor is 90% of the first £50,000, and 30% of the balance, up to £100,000 (1.e. a maximum total of £60,000).

To date, no call has been made on the compensation scheme.

There is no compensation scheme covering investors in Class B schemes, Class Q schemes, or closed ended investment schemes.

What is the Guernsey Registry of companies and partnerships?

All companies, limited partnerships and limited liability partnerships wishing to be formed in the Bailiwick of Guernsey must first be set up at the Guernsey Registry.  In other words, they need to be ‘registered’ at the company registry.    

 
Put simply, a company registration creates a legal entity, generally this enables that entity to carry out any business that is legally allowed in the Bailiwick or elsewhere. 
 
Companies, limited partnerships and limited liability partnerships not offering financial services and products, would generally only need to be registered, and would therefore not require a licence from the Guernsey Financial Services Commission. 
 
Businesses offering financial services and products that are formed or registered outside of the Bailiwick but wish to provide these in or from within the Bailiwick must apply for a licence to do so from the Commission. 
Companies and other entities registered at the Guernsey Registry are required to pay an annual fee to the Guernsey Registry and file a return confirming certain information.  Failure to do so would incur a financial penalty and ultimately, if not paid, the business will be removed or “struck off” from the Register.
 
More details on the Guernsey Registry can be found here.
 
A list of all entities that are registered by the Guernsey Registry can be found here.

What is a Regulated Business?

In order to carry out any financial activity such as banking, insurance, investment or fiduciary services in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a business must obtain a licence from the Commission. 

 
Before a licence is issued, the Commission will establish whether the business meets the minimum licensing requirements – for instance whether the business is proposed to be offered with professional skill and integrity, and whether the owners / directors / managers are fit and proper, in other words, do they have the competence, experience, sound judgement, qualifications and understanding of their legal and professional obligations. 
 
Where these and other requirements set out in the relevant laws are considered satisfactory to the Commission, the financial services business will be issued with a licence.  At this point it becomes a ‘regulated’ entity. 
 
A regulated financial services business is required to comply with the relevant laws and other regulatory requirements that apply to that business in respect of the financial product or service that it offers, at all times. 
 
The Commission carries out its supervision of regulated entities through several means, including regulatory returns, site visits and meetings with licensees.  This is to ensure that they continue to meet the minimum licensing criteria, and are not likely to negatively impact the reputation of the Bailiwick of Guernsey as a finance centre. 
 
The Commission applies a risk based approach to its supervision and will concentrate its finite resources on those businesses that are perceived could create the most harm to it meeting its objectives.
 
Where a financial services business does not comply with the relevant requirements, the Commission, as the financial services regulator for the Bailiwick, may take a range of actions.  However, this would depend on the level of seriousness of the issue and could result in having licence conditions imposed, financial penalties, or public statements being issued.  Ultimately, an entity could have its licence revoked by the Commission.    
 
Please be aware that just because a financial services business is regulated, does not mean that you as a consumer need not apply caution.  You are still encouraged to take your own precautions.  Financial products are risky by their very nature, and some are more risky than others.  As a consumer, you have to determine the level of risk you are willing to accept. 
 
The Commission’s responsibilities do not extend to reviewing the financial performance of products, so you should be very clear as to your objectives before signing up to a service or product.  As a potential, or existing, customer you are strongly encouraged to read all the product literature and terms and conditions associated with a proposed product or service.  This is to ensure you are fully informed of any pre-requisite requirements, risks and conditions attached to the proposed product or service.  Where something is not made clear, or legal jargon is used, you should not be afraid to ask the person offering the financial product or service to explain this, as well as the pros and cons of the product, and all the terms and conditions accompanying it. 
 
A list of all the entities regulated by the Commission can be found here

What is a Prescribed Business?

Prescribed business is the term used for firms of legal professionals, accountants and estate agents carrying on business in or from within the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

 
Prescribed businesses are required to be registered with the Commission – which is different to being registered at the Guernsey Registry. 
 
These businesses are required to be registered by law.  They are not subject to an application process and the Commission supervises these businesses with regard to their compliance with the local anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism legislation.
   
A list of all prescribed businesses registered with the Commission may be accessed here

What is a Non-Regulated Financial Services Business (NRFSB)?

These are financial services businesses which are required to be registered with, but not regulated, by the Commission. Again, this is different to being registered at the Guernsey Registry. 

 
Some examples of NRFSBs include lenders providing consumer credit or mortgages, money services businesses providing facilities such as currency exchange (bureau de change), cheque cashing, or those providing money transmission services.  In addition, those businesses which buy or selling bullion or postage stamps would also be considered to be NRFSBs. 
 
A list of all the Non-Regulated Financial Services Businesses registered with the Commission can be found here

What should I know when buying Financial Products and Services outside of the Bailiwick?

Top 5 tips:

  1. If you decide to seek financial advice, or buy a financial product from outside of the Bailiwick, be aware of the risks involved.
  2. Ensure that the person or firm is also licensed and regulated in the relevant jurisdiction. 
  3. Financial providers who are not licensed in the Bailiwick should not be approaching you. 
  4. If you are approached by a financial provider from outside the Bailiwick, please advise the Commission.
  5. It is advisable to check whether the particular jurisdiction has a deposit or investor compensation scheme in force, whether you would be covered, and what level of cover it offers.

 
You are able to seek financial advice or purchase financial products from outside the Bailiwick, but you should be aware that the Commission will not have any regulatory remit over such providers.  There is a risk that the provider, if not regulated by an equivalent body to the Commission, may not be acting in your best interest and you may be left with limited options to take action against them.
 
If you are considering taking this route, you should make enquiries to ensure the financial services provider is indeed licensed and regulated abroad, by a similar regulatory body to the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, and that adequate consumer protection is available to you.
 
In contrast, a financial adviser, or financial services provider who approaches you from abroad, without you initiating it, is prohibited under the Bailiwick of Guernsey laws.  They are required to be licensed in Guernsey in order to do so.  If you are approached by a firm that is not licensed, please advise the Conduct Unit at the Commission on [email protected] or telephone us on 01481 712706. 
 
For a list of all the financial services businesses licensed and regulated in Guernsey, please click here For the Commission’s up-to-date list of warnings, please click here.   
 
Remember the saying – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!

Should I invest in an Initial Coin Offering (ICO)?

The term ICO refers to a digital way of raising funds from the public using a virtual currency, also known as cryptocurrency. An ICO can also be known as ‘token sale’ or ‘coin sale’. They are very high-risk speculative investments. 

ICO issuers accept a cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin or Ether, in exchange for a proprietary ‘coin’ or ‘token’ that is related to a specific firm or project. ICOs may represent a share in a firm, a prepayment voucher for future services or in some cases offer no discernible value at all. Often ICO projects are in a very early stage of development.

The Commission, along with several other regulators, has issued an advisory notice regarding the risks of investing in an ICO. Most ICOs are unregulated. This means that it is unlikely that there will be any investor protections if anything goes wrong with an investment in an ICO. As with other cryptocurrencies, the value of the investment is volatile and has the potential for fraud.  The Commission would not expect ICOs to be sold to, or bought by, retail investors. Anyone considering buying an ICO should carry out full research on the ICO project and be prepared to lose the entire value of their investment.

What is Ring-fencing?

Further information about ring-fencing can be found here

Why have a Pension?

Pensions are effectively a long term savings plan. Pensions are a good way of saving for your retirement.  The Commission has issued a Helpsheet on pensions which is available here.

Should I notify my pension provider about a change of address?

When moving address, you should seek to notify your pension provider that you are doing so. Recent research commissioned by the Association of British Insurers ("ABI"), found  that there are around 1.6 million pension pots worth £19.4 billion unclaimed – the equivalent of nearly £13,000 per pension pot. This comes as a result of individuals not notifying their pension provider of their change of address.

This research was based in the UK but still remains relevant to Guernsey residents, particularly if you have made pension contributions in the UK at some point in your career, or have made contributions to a UK insurer. The full article regarding the research can be found here.

Where can I purchase foreign currency and currency cards?

You can purchase your travel money at:

  • banks
  • Post Offices
  • Online specialist websites
  • Some travel agents

There are many different foreign exchange providers, therefore you may wish to do some research and shop around for the best deals. Foreign exchange providers will be able to show you how much you will get for your money once the exchange rate and any charges have been taken into account. Make sure to ask upfront about fees and charges payable.

Normally, the bureaux de change at airports, train stations and ferry ports are more expensive than at the high street and online providers.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) FAQs

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19) and what should I do if I have them?

Public Health Services in Guernsey has published its latest advice here.

You should not visit your GP or the Emergency Department at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital unannounced.

If you are in the UK and you develop symptoms you should self-isolate and call 111. Please refer to the guidance issued by the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England here.

Should I self-isolate?

Public Health Services in Guernsey published, on 8 March 2020, a “should I self-isolate tool” for you to use if you are unsure whether you should self-isolate.  This can be found here.

Public Health Services also released two dedicated helpline numbers for Islanders to use if they have any clinical questions regarding the coronavirus. These numbers are:

01481 756938 and 01481 756969 

and are manned between 8am and 10pm every day by trained call handlers from the Joint Emergency Services Call Centre (JESCC).

To keep up to date with information issued by Public Health Services please use the link here.

Is Coronavirus (Covid-19) likely to affect my travel plans and travel insurance?

An important exclusion for travel insurance covering you cancelling your holiday is if the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises “against all but essential travel” or if it has more serious concerns and advises “against all travel”. Some policies will provide cover if the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issues advice after you have booked, but others will only cover cancellation for defined insured events. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice on coronavirus (Covid-19) can be accessed here.

If you exhibit the symptoms of coronavirus, or contract it, you may be able to claim on your medical or travel insurance.

Travel policies will often include medical expenses cover but you would generally not be able to claim for the same thing twice on different policies. An important point to note is that some companies exclude medical expenses in your country of residence. Many insurers class Guernsey as part of the UK, so unless you or your insurance broker have asked for this cover to be written back in, it may not be there.

The following FAQs will provide you with help in considering this.

Where can I find up to date travel advice on coronavirus (Covid-19) relating to Guernsey?

Information and guidance issued by the States of Guernsey can be accessed here. In addition, advice on travel plans includes checking the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates here.

What are airlines doing about Coronavirus (Covid-19) and how will this impact on claiming on my travel insurance?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against “all but essential international travel”, with “travel to some countries and territories currently exempted” for destinations that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk. Further details on this can be found via the FCO website here. Most travel agents and airlines will cancel flights and holidays and offer refunds or alternatives. It is therefore key to check what options your travel agent or airline is offering. For further advice you can follow the link to the Civil Aviation Authority (“CAA”) guidance here.

For costs that aren’t refunded you may be able to get compensation from your travel insurer, but, again, it’s important to check the terms and conditions of your policy and if in doubt, contact your insurance broker or your insurer. Many policies specifically exclude failure of agents, airlines and tour operators.

With regards to airlines operating scheduled services to Guernsey:

  • Aurigny has issued a statement on its policy regarding coronavirus which can be accessed here.
  • Blue Islands has its latest Covid-19 guidance on its help centre here.
  • Flybe entered into administration on 5 March 2020 as advised on its website here

CAA advice for flights booked with Flybe with a credit or debit card is as follows:

If you booked directly with Flybe and paid by credit card you may be protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and should contact your card issuer for further information.  Similarly, if you paid by debit or charge card you should contact your card issuer for advice as you may be able to make a claim under their charge back rules.

If you purchased travel insurance that includes cover for scheduled airline failure, known as SAFI, you should contact your insurer. If you did not book directly with Flybe and purchased your tickets through a third party, you should contact your booking or travel agent in the first instance. 

Further information can be found on the CAA website, a link to which can be found here.

I’m planning a holiday, should I get travel insurance?

Current advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is available here. If you are planning on booking a holiday it is important to get travel insurance as soon as you book, as this is likely to cover events, mentioned in the policy, which happen during the period leading up to your holiday that could stop you from going. However, no travel insurance policy will cover you for something you knew about before you booked your holiday and took out your insurance. Additionally, there are a growing number of instances where insurance is no longer available, as a result of the international travel bans. 

All travel insurance policies will be different so it is important to check the terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to see what you're covered for.

You should also read the exclusions in the policy as these explain where you are not covered.  Examples of these exclusions could include:

  • No cover is provided under any section of this policy in respect of travel to a destination which the Foreign & Commonwealth Office has advised against all or all but essential travel or another country has issued advice not to visit one of its own regions
  • Any epidemic or pandemic

You should also check the policy to see if there is any specific reference to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and how that could affect your travel both before you go and whilst you are away.

It is also very important to check the impact on your travel insurance policy of living in the Bailiwick of Guernsey and travelling to or via the UK as some policies have a minimum number of nights at booked accommodation which must be spent in the UK for cover to be included.

Most travel policies will be subject to the laws of England and Wales which may differ to requirements in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

What happens if I travel against the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office?

Travelling against the advice of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office will likely be an exclusion from cover in your travel insurance policy. If you are thinking of doing this, you should check with your insurance broker or insurer and obtain their written confirmation as to the cover you hold in relation to your travel plans.

Will my travel insurance cover me if I cancel my travel plans as a result of Covid-19?

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has advised against “all but essential travel”, with “travel to some countries and territories currently exempted”. As a result most travel agents and airlines will cancel flights and holidays and offer refunds or alternatives, for those countries and territories which are not exempt.  For costs that aren’t refunded you may be able to get compensation from your travel insurer, but, again, it’s important to check with your insurer.  You may also wish to consider what would happen if having travelled to an exempt country, FCO advice subsequently changes in relation to that country or if FCO advice differs to that issued by the States of Guernsey.

If the Foreign & Commonwealth Office continues to lighten its guidance in the future, for certain countries and territories, and you wish to cancel your travel plans to areas where there are no Foreign & Commonwealth Office warnings, it is unlikely that your insurance will be willing to pay out if you cancel your travel plans.

Which insurers will cover me if my travel plans are affected by coronavirus?

MoneySavingExpert.com has published a help page on Covid-19 Coronavirus which includes a rough guide (continuously updated) to the larger insurers’ policies on coronavirus due to cancellation. This guide accessible here, demonstrates the range of cover depending on policy and will change over time. 

You should always check the terms of your policy and if in any doubt check with your insurance broker or insurer to confirm the cover that you have in place.

I've already got travel insurance – am I covered?

Most insurers travel insurance will cover you for a cancellation if the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have an advisory notice in place.  You should check the terms of your policy and if in any doubt check with your insurance broker or insurer to confirm the cover that you have in place.

What if my annual cover expires before the trip I’ve booked?

If something were to happen that could result in you making a claim before your current policy expires, it would be covered by your current policy.  To protect yourself further, you should either renew the existing policy or take out a new one to take effect immediately on the expiry of your current policy.  It is important not to leave a gap between policies to avoid the risk of not being covered if the Foreign and Commonwealth Office were to issue advice during that gap.

If I renew my current travel policy will there be any changes to the cover that I currently have in place?

You should always check for any changes that may be made to the terms and conditions upon the renewal of any insurance policy and, if in doubt, check with your insurance broker or insurer.

What can I do if my travel insurer unfairly turns down my claim?

If you believe that your insurer has unfairly turned down your claim, in the first instance you should make a complaint to your insurer.  In the event you are not satisfied with the response to your complaint, you may decide to refer it to the UK Financial Ombudsman if the insurer is based in the UK or the Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman if the insurer is based in Jersey or in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

Information about coronavirus that has been issued by the UK Financial Ombudsman can be obtained here

More information about the Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman can be found here.

Will my medical insurance cover me if I contract Covid-19?

Most medical insurance, unless disease specific, will cover your medical costs in the case, subject to policy limitations, where you contract Covid-19. Medical insurance typically covers all kinds of infections, even if it’s Covid-19. If you wish to check what your exact coverage is and what services you have access to, then it’s worth contacting your insurance broker or your insurer using the contact details given in your policy document.

Where can I find more information on the impact of coronavirus on my insurance cover?

The Association of British Insurers (“ABI”) has a coronavirus information hub which can be found here together with information on what their members are doing to help customers, communities and charities which can be found here.

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) has published a news item on travel insurance and coronavirus which can be found here.

MoneySavingsExpert.com here

You may also wish to refer to the following websites for updated information

  • Foreign and Commonwealth Offices here
  • Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England here
  • The States of Guernsey here

Now I am working from home will this impact on my personal insurance policies?

If you are now working from home, instead of from your normal place of work, and in order to perform your role, have additional computers or other technology set up, this may impact on the level of cover under your existing personal contents’ policy.   Many policies held by Bailiwick residents are with insurers that are based in the UK.  The Financial Conduct Authority expects UK-based insurers to take into account any change in a customer’s circumstances because of coronavirus (e.g. working from home). Local insurers may take a similar approach.  Regardless of these expectations, you should check the position with your insurance broker or insurer.  Your employer’s insurance policy may also cover any items that belong to them and have been provided to you to be able to work remotely.  You may wish to check this with them.

You should also discuss with your insurance broker or insurer if you are concerned that working from home will impact on any of your insurance policies.

I am unable to pay my monthly premiums, what can I do?

If you find yourself in financial difficulty, and are struggling to pay the monthly instalments for your insurance policy, you should contact your insurance broker or your insurer directly in the first instance, and explain your situation. In some instances, the insurer may refer you to a broker or lender that will have provided you with credit.

You could also contact Social Security as you may be able to receive financial support from the hardship fund that has been set up by the States of Guernsey. Details are available here.

If you are still encountering  difficulties, after having contacted Social Security, you may also wish to consider contacting Citizens Advice Guernsey, a link to which can be found here

I am at-home, the stock markets are volatile, is this a good time to make money on stocks and shares?

Although Guernsey is doing well dealing with Covid 19, many people are still working from home. There have been cases, reported in the UK press, where people at home have started to trade stocks on a frequent basis, or start day trading (see Glossary). If you find yourself tempted to do this, think twice! Nobody can know for certain what markets are going to do next in these strange times. Frequent/day trading costs a lot in terms of commission, and requires expertise and nerves of steel. People who are not used to this sort of activity, can lose a lot of money quickly. So, take care!

As a result of COVID-19, I am thinking of transferring my existing defined benefit pension savings into a Retirement Annuity Trust Scheme (RATS), should I do this?

RATS and the various decisions you will need to make when setting one up, can be complex. Some information explaining about RATS is available here.  If you do not feel confident in making those decisions by yourself you may benefit from speaking to a financial adviser. More information about financial advice can be found on the Commission's 'Things to consider before getting Financial Advice' page.

I built up a pension pot whilst working in the UK and am concerned about the impact of COVID-19? Where can I get help?

Seven UK bodies with responsibility for protecting UK pension savers’ pots have joined forces to create a guide answering some of the most commonly asked questions they had received. This information guide, produced to reassure members amid concern about the impact of COVID-19 on financial wellbeing in the UK, provides contact details for queries, and is available here   

In addition, you may benefit from speaking with a financial adviser. More information about financial advice can be found on the Commission's 'Things to consider before getting Financial Advice' page.  

Brexit FAQs

Will the ATMs work?

ATMs in Guernsey will operate as normal. Similarly, there is no suggestion that you will be unable to use bank cards in ATMs in the UK or Europe, in much the same way that you are already able to use your card when you travel to other non-EU countries such as Australia or America.

Will I still be able to receive payments into, and be able to make payments from, my bank account?

You will still be able to receive and make Sterling payments to and from your bank account after Brexit.

There could be potential changes to the regulatory framework resulting in changes to cross-border transactions between the UK and EU. This could impact the charges/fees and time taken to process such payments.

Will mobile apps work?

There is no reason for mobile apps not to work.

Will Visa and MasterCard still work?

Visa and MasterCard should continue to work.

Customers may experience changes with cross-border transactions between the UK and the EU, specifically relating to charges and the time taken to process payments, due to potential regulatory changes.

Will PayPal still work?

There is no suggestion that PayPal will not work.

There may be changes made to the Terms and Conditions of use. You may refer to the official website for any updates.

Will I be able to buy foreign currency?

There is no suggestion that you will be unable to buy foreign currency after Brexit.

Will I be able to take cash to France via plane or boat?

When entering France from outside the EU with cash, whether by plane or boat, you are required to declare to Customs at the French port of entry any amount held that is equal to or exceeding 10,000 Euros (or its equivalent value in other currencies).

Similarly, if you are entering or leaving the Bailiwick of Guernsey and are carrying cash in equivalent value of 10,000 Euros or more, you must declare this to a Border Agency Officer. 

There is no indication at this present time that this is to change with Brexit, but you may refer to the official French Customs website (in English) for any updates, and also the States of Guernsey website.

Will MoneyGram still work?

MoneyGram does not anticipate that there will be any noticeable differences in the way MoneyGram services accounts, and MoneyGram should continue to work. You may refer to the official MoneyGram website for further updates.

Will my general insurance still be valid – house, car, travel etc?

The Commission does not specifically license insurers outside of the Bailiwick, but instead treats insurers from particular jurisdictions as “recognised insurers”.  Recognised insurers are those incorporated and regulated in countries with similar regulatory standards as Guernsey, and a list of those countries is published on the Commission’s website, a link to which can be found here

 The only exception to the above recognition regime is third party motor insurance, which must be authorised by the Commission.  A list of authorised motor insurers is also provided via the link above.  

There are no current plans to make any changes to this regime as a result of Brexit.

If you will be driving in the EU, you must ensure that you have a valid driving licence for the country in which you will be driving, as this may affect the validity of your insurance policy. More information about the potential changes to driving licence provisions can be found here.

 Further information on driving abroad can be found here.

Will I be able to Drive in the EU?

If you currently have an International Driving Permit, you should still be able to drive in a number of EU countries.

It is important to note that, in order to be properly insured, you must hold a valid driving licence for the country in which you will be driving. Some EU countries may require additional insurance paper work e.g. a ‘green card’ even if you hold an International Driving Permit. The States of Guernsey have issued the following document here, which provides further guidance.

Guernsey and Alderney vehicles may need to meet the relevant safety standards, this includes matters such as evidencing the vehicle has undergone an approved periodic test inspection (commonly referred to as MoT), and the introduction of the requirement for the fitting and wearing of seatbelts in the rear of vehicles. In addition, vehicles travelling in international traffic should display a ‘GBG’ sign.
 
Further information on driving abroad can be found here.

Will I be able to take my car to the EU?

If you have an International Driving Permit, and valid insurance, you should still be able to take your car to a number of EU countries. In some EU countries there may be a requirement put in place for additional insurance paperwork e.g. a ‘green card’. A valid driving licence for the country in which you will be driving is necessary to ensure your car insurance is valid. The States of Guernsey have issued the following document here, which provides further guidance.

Guernsey and Alderney vehicles may need to meet the relevant safety standards, this includes matters such as evidencing the vehicle has undergone an approved periodic test inspection (commonly referred to as MoT), and the introduction of the requirement for the fitting and wearing of seatbelts in the rear of vehicles. In addition, vehicles travelling in international traffic should display a ‘GBG’ sign.

Further information on driving abroad can be found here.

Will I still receive dividends from EU companies and funds?

There is no indication that you will be unable to receive dividends from EU companies and funds. But, it is important to note that there may potentially be changes to the taxation of dividends, for example withholding tax rates may change which might affect your tax position.