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 on-going basis.
Details of current fiduciary licensees are available on this website under Regulated Entities.
Additionally, the Commission may grant a specific discretionary exemption to permit entities and individuals to carry out regulated fiduciary activities. Please click here for further information.
Approach to Supervision
Under PRISM the Investment, Fiduciary and Pension Division carries out full risk assessment visits and engagement visits to all licensees with an impact rating of Medium Low, Medium High or High. In addition the Division undertakes prudentially focused thematic work across licensees in all impact categories.
Licensees are required to submit returns each year using the Online Submissions Portal. The following returns will appear on the timeline, if applicable, when you access the Online Submissions Portal:
- The Annual Return covers the period from 1 July to 30 June and must be submitted by any person who holds a fiduciary licence on 30 June by the deadline date of 31 August.
- The Audited Financial Statements and Statistical Return must be submitted by all persons holding a primary fiduciary licence or a secondary fiduciary licence within four months of the licensee’s accounting reference date.
- Personal fiduciary licensees are required to provide particulars of their financial position with regards to regulated activities as part of the Annual Return. The particulars do not have to take the form of a financial statement. A statement of the income from, and any liabilities relating to, the personal fiduciary licensee’s regulated activities for the accounting period is sufficient.
Persons holding a fiduciary licence are reminded that, under The Financial Services Commission (Administrative Financial Penalties) (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Regulations, 2016, as amended, an administrative financial penalty will be payable in respect of any of the above returns which is filed late.
The Financial Crime Risk Return is used by the Commission to gather important information and statistical data to assist the Commission in identifying and assessing financial crime risks within the Bailiwick of Guernsey's finance industry. It covers the period from 1 July to 30 June and must be submitted by the deadline date of 31 October.
Licensees are encouraged to use the Online Submissions Portal when making notifications to the Commission. Examples of notifications include a change of registered name notification, the reporting of a complaint or the surrender of a licence.
Those entities or individuals who have been granted a specific discretionary exemption must notify the Commission if they no longer require the exemption or if they wish the exemption to be varied. Such notifications can also be made via the Online Submissions Portal.
A list of notifications that can be submitted through the Online Submissions Portal can be found here:
Where an individual is appointed as or ceases to be a controller, director, partner or manager of a licensee which holds a full fiduciary licence, he or she is required to notify the Commission using the Online PQ Portal.