Guernsey is a major centre for the provision of international trust and corporate services.
The sector is substantial and long-established, and benefits from and contributes to Guernsey’s mature and sophisticated professional infrastructure. Licensed entities include subsidiaries of major European, North American and South African financial institutions, subsidiaries of international and Channel Islands accountancy and legal practices and owner-managed independent trust companies. The industry provides a diverse range of trust and corporate services to an international client base covering private client, corporate and institutional businesses.
Guernsey was one of the first centres in the world to establish a comprehensive system for the licensing and supervision of its trust and corporate services providers. This was introduced by The Regulation of Fiduciaries, Administration Businesses and Company Directors, etc. (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2000, which came into effect in April 2001. This law was subsequently replaced by The Regulation of Fiduciaries, Administration Businesses and Company Directors, etc. (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2020, ("the Law") which came into effect on 1 November 2021.
Regulated fiduciary activities may only be carried on by way of business in or from the Bailiwick of Guernsey, or by a company incorporated in the Bailiwick, under a licence granted by the Commission under the above legislation.
There are three categories of fiduciary licence:
- A primary fiduciary licence can be granted to a company, other legal person, or a partnership, and authorises all regulated fiduciary activities.
- A secondary fiduciary licence can be granted to a company, other legal person, or a partnership, and authorises all regulated fiduciary activities. A secondary fiduciary licensee cannot actively trade but provides fiduciary services to the clients of its primary fiduciary licensee.
- A personal fiduciary licence can only be granted to an individual and authorises the holder to carry on a restricted range of fiduciary activities. Those include acting as a company director, as trustee (but not as a sole trustee), and as executor of a will or administrator of an estate and as a foundation official for foundations.
Licences are granted to entities and individuals who meet the minimum criteria for licensing set out in Schedule 1 of the Law. Licensees are required to meet the criteria on an ongoing basis.
Details of current fiduciary licensees are available under Regulated Entities.
Additionally, the Commission may grant a specific discretionary exemption to permit entities and individuals to carry out regulated fiduciary activities.