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.
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 herefor 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.
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.
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.
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.
What should I know when buying Financial Products and Services outside of the Bailiwick?
Top 5 tips:
- If you decide to seek financial advice, or buy a financial product from outside of the Bailiwick, be aware of the risks involved.
- Ensure that the person or firm is also licensed and regulated in the relevant jurisdiction.
- Financial providers who are not licensed in the Bailiwick should not be approaching you.
- If you are approached by a financial provider from outside the Bailiwick, please advise the Commission.
- 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.
Does Guernsey have a depositor compensation scheme?
The Banking Supervision (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 1994 provides for the States (government) of Guernsey to introduce a depositor compensation scheme in Guernsey. On 26 November 2008 the States of Guernsey approved the immediate creation of a Depositor Compensation Scheme for Guernsey. The Banking Deposit Compensation Scheme (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Ordinance, 2008 is available in the Legislation and Guidance section of this website, though further details are available at www.dcs.gg
Can you recommend a company to administer my company or trust?
The Commission is the regulatory body for the finance sector in the Bailiwick of Guernsey and it is not in a position to recommend a particular trust or corporate services provider.
Do I have to provide audited financial statements for each company named on a fiduciary licence?
Under The Fiduciary Rules and Guidance 2020 each licensed fiduciary holding a full fiduciary licence (which includes joint licensees) must submit audited financial statements to the Commission within 4 months after the end of the relevant accounting period. These must either be separate sets of financial statements for the lead licensee and each of its joint licensees or aggregated under the lead fiduciary’s name with others on the same licence. Such aggregated or consolidated financial statements should not include the financial statements of any entity which does not hold a full fiduciary licence.
Should full fiduciary licensees choose to aggregate or consolidate their financial statements they may do so but notes to the financial statements should identify which fiduciary licensed entities in their group are included. The notes should also explain if the financial statements capture any income or expenditure which is attributable to a joint licensee’s activities but paid through the lead licensee.
Under The Financial Services Commission (Administrative Financial Penalties) (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Regulations, 2010, any licensee who fails to submit his audited financial statements on time is subject to a fine. Please note all licensees, including joint licensees, are subject to these penalties.
The audited financial statements and supporting documentation should be submitted via the Online Submissions Portal.
Do I need a fiduciary licence?
If you are an individual you will need a personal fiduciary licence to act as a director of a company, a co-trustee or protector of a trust, an executor of a will or administrator of an estate provided you are receiving an income, fee, emolument or other consideration in money or money's worth for doing so.
If you are a company incorporated in Guernsey or Alderney you will need a full fiduciary licence to carry on regulated activities by way of business from anywhere in the world.
If you are a company other than one incorporated in Guernsey or Alderney you will need a full fiduciary licence to carry on regulated activities by way of business from or within the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
Regulated activities are set out under section 2 of the Fiduciary Law and include the formation, management or administration of trusts, companies, partnerships or other unincorporated bodies or the provision of advice in relation to their formation.
There are various statutory exemptions which are set out under section 3 of the Fiduciary Law which can be carried on without the need for a personal or full fiduciary licence.
Commission staff will be happy to provide general explanations of what activities the Fiduciary Law covers. However, Commission staff cannot provide legal advice in respect of specific circumstances and if you are in any doubt as to the position you should seek advice from an Advocate of the Royal Court of Guernsey.
Does a Private Trust Company require a fiduciary licence?
A Private Trust Company ("PTC") is a company which acts as trustee to a trust (or group of trusts) for families, and for other groups who share a common interest. Although acting as a trustee is a regulated activity, under section 2 of the Fiduciary Law, a PTC does not require a full fiduciary licence where it fulfils all of the following criteria:
- the PTC acts as trustee for one family or group which shares a common interest;
- the PTC does not advertise or market its services in any way;
- the PTC is administered by a company or partnership which holds a full fiduciary licence; and
- the PTC does not receive a fee.
If the PTC does receive a fee (even if it is merely acting as a conduit and paying it out to a third party) then it will need to apply for a specific discretionary exemption. When granting such a discretionary exemption, it is the Commission’s policy to impose a standard condition requiring the full fiduciary licensee to maintain at all times at least one executive director on the board of the PTC.
How do I apply for a fiduciary licence?
Details of how to apply for a fiduciary licence are set out in the Applications page of this website.
How do I find out whether a particular company/individual has a fiduciary licence?
A list of persons holding a fiduciary licence is available on the Regulated Entities page of this website.
Alternatively, if you know the name of the individual or company you are looking for you can use the search facility at the top of this page.
How many directorships can I hold before I need a personal fiduciary licence?
The role of acting as a director in or from within the Bailiwick is a regulated activity for which a fiduciary licence is required whether the role is undertaken by an individual or a corporate director.
There is a limited exemption in the Fiduciaries Law which allows individuals to hold up to a maximum of 6 directorships, which are not subject to any other exemptions in the Fiduciaries Law, without the need to obtain a personal fiduciary licence.
This exemption is not available to corporate directors who must be licensed under the Fiduciaries Law. The exemption does not cover the provision of any other corporate services including providing a registered office.
The Commission has the power to disapply this exemption if it determines that, in having regard to the minimum licensing criteria in Schedule 1 to the Fiduciaries Law, an individual is not fit and proper to be a director of a company. This can include instances where the individual has failed to comply with any of the anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing legislation and the rules of the Handbook for Financial Services Businesses on Countering Financial Crime and Terrorist Financing (“Handbook”).
Whilst an individual utilising this exemption does not require a personal fiduciary licence, he remains subject to the Proceeds of Crime Law and is required to comply with the requirements in the Criminal Justice Proceeds of Crime Regulations and the rules in the Handbook, which can be found here.
This means that those individuals acting as director under this exemption must undertake customer due diligence on the beneficial ownership of the companies they serve and carry out ongoing monitoring of the companies’ activities to the same regulatory standard as any other Bailiwick financial services business.
The Commission may enquire into the number and nature of an individual’s directorships where the number and nature of directorships held suggest that a personal fiduciary licence may be required under the Fiduciaries Law.
This exemption from licensing may be found in section 3(1)(g) of the Fiduciaries Law.
What do I do if I have a complaint against a licensed fiduciary?
Details of what to do if you have a complaint against a licensed fiduciary are included in the Complaints section of this website.
What other documentation or information should be provided with the audited financial statements?
Under The Regulation of Fiduciaries (Accounts) Rules, 2001 (“the Accounts Rules”) each licensed fiduciary holding a full fiduciary licence (which includes joint licensees) must submit the following:
- A copy of any management letter received from the licensee or joint licensee’s external auditor (Rule 10(5) of the Accounts Rules) and if no such letter has been issued, confirmation to this extent.
- A copy of any report prepared by an internal or external auditor which is available to the licensee and addresses a breakdown or material weakness in the licensees internal control procedures (Rule 10(3)(b) of the Accounts Rules).
- Brief details of any report prepared by an accountant or consultant which is available to the licensee and addresses a breakdown or material weakness in the licensees internal control procedures (Rule 10(3)(c) of the Accounts Rules).
For the avoidance of doubt, if no report has been issued in respect of 2. and/or 3. above, please provide confirmation to the Commission to this extent upon submission of the audited financial statements.
Under The Financial Services Commission (Fees) Regulations, 2012 (“the Fees Regulations”) each licensed fiduciary holding a full fiduciary licence (which includes joint licensees) must provide details of gross turnover from regulated activities certified by the licensee’s auditor if not evident from the audited financial statements (Regulation 10(13)(b) of the Fees Regulations). Regulation 12(1)(n) of the Fees Regulations defines "regulated activity" for the purposes of regulation 10 of those regulations as meaning activity described in section 2 of the Fiduciary Law.
The audited financial statements and supporting documentation should be submitted via the online submissions portal.
What qualifications should a licensee hold?
The GTA University Centre, in consultation with the Commission and finance industry professional and educational bodies, publishes a training matrix for each sector. The Fiduciary Qualification Matrix is available by following the link to the GTA University Centre website.
How do I apply for a licence to write insurance business in or from within the Bailiwick of Guernsey?
Details of how to apply for a licence to write insurance business are set out in the Applications page of this website.
How do I apply for a licence to carry on business as an insurance manager or insurance intermediary in or from within the Bailiwick of Guernsey?
Details of how to apply for a licence to conduct business as an insurance manager or insurance intermediary are set out in the Applications page of this website.
How can I find out whether a particular company is licensed to write insurance business or conduct business as an insurance manager or insurance intermediary in or from within the Bailiwick of Guernsey?
Please refer to the Regulated Entities page of this website for ;a list of licensed insurers, licensed insurance managers and licensed insurance intermediaries. Alternatively, if you know the name of the company you are looking for, you can use the search facility at the top of this page.
Can you recommend a particular insurance manager to manage my captive insurance company or a particular insurance intermediary?
The Commission is the regulatory body for the finance sector in the Bailiwick of Guernsey and is therefore not in a position to recommend the services of a particular licensee. Please refer to the Regulated Entities page of this website for a list of insurance managers and insurance intermediaries licensed to conduct business in or from within the Bailiwick of Guernsey
How do I apply to become a recognised insurer and/or an authorised motor insurer?
Please refer to the Recognised Insurers, including Authorised Motor Insurers page of this website for further information.
What is the minimum capital requirement for an insurance manager / insurance intermediary licensed in Guernsey?
Please refer to the Minimum Capital Requirement for Licensed Insurance Managers and Licensed Insurance Intermediaries for further details.
If I am not sure if an insurance business-related activity needs authorisation from the Commission, can I ask you for advice?
Certain forms of insurance business are regulated under the provisions of The Insurance Business (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2002, as amended The Insurance Managers and Insurance Intermediaries (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2002, as amended Whilst Commission staff will be happy to provide general explanations of what activities the laws cover, they cannot provide legal advice in respect of specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt as to the position, you should seek advice from a lawyer qualified in Guernsey law.
Should all companies who provide lending facilities to Bailiwick residents to fund their insurance premiums be registered as Non-Regulated Financial Services Businesses?
Following receipt of several enquiries regarding lending companies providing finance to residents of the Bailiwick of Guernsey to fund their insurance premiums, the Commission has issued the following response:-
Where a company, which is not registered in the Bailiwick, provides finance facilities to customers of locally licensed insurance companies/intermediaries, the Commission may issue a direction to that company under section 44 of the Registration of Non-Regulated Financial Services Businesses (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2008 (“the Law”) that it is not to be treated for the purposes of the Law, as carrying on business in or from within the Bailiwick and so is not required to register with the Commission as a Non-Regulated Financial Services Business.
All prospective applicants will be considered on a case by case basis.
In order for the Commission to issue such a direction it must first be satisfied that due consideration has been given by the applicant to each of the provisions of section 44 of the Law and must have received sufficient explanation as to why the applicant does not believe it is seen to be carrying on business in or from within the Bailiwick.
The Commission may at any time either generally or in any particular case revoke this derogation, or impose conditions for it to be operative.
What happens when there are changes to the administration, custody or management of a non Guernsey scheme?
Approval to act for a non Guernsey scheme is granted at licensee level, i.e. to the licensee undertaking either administration, custody or management of the non Guernsey scheme and not to the fund itself. This is because the non Guernsey scheme does not have a registration or authorisation with the Commission and the approval given is personal to the administrator. A new application form is therefore required together with any relevant fund documentation and accompanying fee for each scheme.
If you have any queries over the FAQs or suggestions for potential FAQs please contact either Nick Herquin [email protected] or Emma Bailey [email protected] the Investment Supervision and Policy Division.
What is the major difference between open ended and closed ended collective investment (funds)?
Open ended collective investment schemes are investment vehicles which offer for sale without limitation, or have outstanding securities which investors are entitled to redeem on demand, subject to any applicable notice period. A closed ended investment scheme is a scheme under which the investors are not entitled under the terms of the scheme to have their units redeemed or repurchased by, or out of funds provided by the scheme, or to sell their units on an investment exchange, at a price related to the value of the property to which they relate.
How can collective investment schemes be constituted?
Open ended schemes and closed-ended schemes may be constituted as companies, incorporated cell companies, protected cell companies, unit trusts or limited partnerships. However, the use of a limited partnership for an open-ended scheme would require further discussion with the Commission. Incorporated and Protected cell companies are similar to umbrella schemes but are incorporated as companies not as unit trusts. The assets of each cell may not be combined with the assets of another cell and must be kept legally separate.
What legislation is in place to control the establishment of collective investment schemes in Guernsey?
Open ended and closed-ended schemes must be either authorised or registered under the Protection of Investors (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 1987, as amended ("the Law") and entities conducting restricted activities in connection with controlled investment business must be licensed under the Law. The Commission has made a number of rules under the Law which set out the detailed requirements to be followed by all authorised schemes and licensees.
The major rules under the Law are:-
- The Licensees (Conduct of Business) Rules 2009 (which cover all licensees including designated managers and designated custodians of schemes);
- The Licensees (Capital Adequacy Rules) 2010 (which cover all licensees)
- The Collective Investment Schemes (Class A) Rules 2002 (which cover Class A schemes);
- The Authorised Collective Investment Schemes (Class A) Rules 2008;
- The Collective Investment Schemes (Class B) Rules 1990 (which cover Class B schemes);
- The Collective Investment Schemes Qualifying Professional Investors (Class Q) Rules 1998 (which cover schemes designed for qualifying professional investors);
- The Authorised Closed-Ended Investment Schemes Rules 2008 (which cover authorised closed-ended investment schemes);
- The Registered Collective Investment Schemes Rules 2008 (which cover open and closed-ended registered schemes);
- The Prospectus Rules 2008 (which cover registered schemes and offers to the public);
- The Licensees (Conduct of Business and Notification)(Non-Guernsey Schemes) Rules 1994 (which cover open-ended schemes which are neither established in the Bailiwick of Guernsey nor authorised or registered under the Law)
What are the major differences between an authorised collective investment scheme and a registered collective investment scheme?
Under section 8 of the Law open-ended and closed-ended schemes can apply to be authorised or registered. However, registered collective investment schemes may be offered to regulated entities in Guernsey or offered to the public by entities appropriately licensed under the Law.
Both authorised and registered schemes must appoint a local licensed designated manager (administrator). The designated manager must conduct due diligence on the promoter of an authorised or registered scheme. However, in respect of a registered scheme the designated manager is required to certify at the time of the application that it has undertaken due diligence on the promoter of the registered scheme. The Commission has established clear guidelines of the minimum criteria for the due diligence to be undertaken by the designated manager. For further details refer to the Guidance on Registered Collective Investment Schemes.
The designated manager of a registered scheme must also sign a warranty confirming that it has effective procedures in place to ensure that the scheme is not offered directly by the issuer to public within the Bailiwick of Guernsey and that disclosures in the scheme’s prospectus/offer document or equivalent meet the requirements of the Prospectus Rules 2008.
The Commission attaches great importance to these warranties. It expects applicants to be able to demonstrate that they have documentary evidence to support the warranties given, and to be able to produce that evidence immediately should the Commission request it. Failure to support a warranty by supporting documentation might be taken into account by the Commission in assessing ongoing fitness and properness under schedule 4 to the Law. Consequently, because the designated manager has to provide these warranties to the Commission we are able to declare the scheme registered within three working days of receipt.
Whilst designated managers must conduct due diligence on the promoter of an authorised scheme, it is not required to provide warranties to the Commission. Instead there is a three stage application process for authorised schemes. For further details please refer to Applications for Closed-ended Collective Investment Schemes and Applications for Open ended Collective Investment Schemes.
What are the major differences between Class A, Class B and Class Q authorised open-ended collective investment schemes?
Class A schemes are those which meet the Commission's Collective Investment Schemes Rules 2002 and are therefore eligible for recognition by the UK Financial Services Authority for sale to the public in the United Kingdom by virtue of Guernsey's designation under section 270 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
The rules for Class B schemes incorporate a measure of flexibility, consistent with meaningful investor protection, and are applied by the Commission exercising judgement and discretion and taking into account all the facts pertaining to a particular fund application. This policy recognises that Class B schemes range from the retail fund aimed at the "general public" via institutional funds to the strictly private fund established solely as a vehicle for investment by a single institution, and that their investment objectives and risk profiles are similarly wide-ranging. Accordingly, the rules do not incorporate specific investment, borrowing and hedging restrictions. This also allows for the possibility of new products without the need to amend the Commission's regulation.
Historically, a substantial number of Class B schemes have been targeted at institutional investors. The Class Q Rules seek to provide a clear and concise set of requirements for the operation of professional investor funds and have been designed to encourage innovation. Accordingly, the Rules place emphasis on disclosure of risks inherent in the investment vehicle, rather than prescription, simplified document requirements, timely processing of applications and no prescribed minimum subscription requirement. Since the introduction of the Class Q Rules in 1998 fund managers in Guernsey have taken advantage of the flexibility in regulations covering qualifying professional and sophisticated investors whilst Class B schemes continue to cater for the more innovative products.
Can Guernsey collective investment schemes be marketed to the public in any other countries?
Although local legislation varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, it is the Commission's experience that the majority of countries distinguish between retail funds, aimed at the general public, and wholesale funds selling investment from institutions and / or their existing clients. In the case of wholesale funds, the requirements (if any) tend to be less onerous. This link will direct you to a schedule showing regulatory authorities who have been approached by the Commission showing the outcome / status of negotiations.
What continuing supervision of licensees and authorised/registered schemes is undertaken by the Commission?
Please see Guide to Risk Based Supervision.
Who can establish collective investment schemes in Guernsey?
There is a policy of selectivity which, in the context of open or closed ended schemes, means that great weight is given to the status of the intended promoters/sponsors. Only those of the first rank are encouraged and normally a demonstrable and favourable track record in the promotion of established collective investment schemes is required.
The authorisation of intended promoters/sponsors by regulatory authorities in other jurisdictions is not, in itself, generally sufficient. Subject to the foregoing, the Commission's policy is to be as flexible as possible and consistent with meaningful investor protection. The Commission is always prepared to meet potential promoters/sponsors or their professional advisers in order to discuss matters of policy and practice regarding proposed open or closed ended schemes.
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 £5mn 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 of up to £100,000 (i.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.