A series of innovative legislative enhancements approved recently by Jersey’s States Assembly will bolster the jurisdiction’s reputation for globally focussed philanthropy and cement its position as a forward-thinking centre for private wealth management, according to the CEO of Jersey Finance, Geoff Cook.

Last month, the remaining elements of the Charities (Jersey) Law were brought into force by the Government of Jersey, whilst approval was also granted to a set of amendments to the Trusts (Jersey) Law.

The move to adopt the Charities Law paves the way for the establishment of a voluntary and innovative system of charity registration and introduces a new definition of ‘charitable purposes’ and a charities test, with the registration of charities set to open on 1st May 2018.

Acknowledging that approaches to philanthropy differ around the world, the new register sets itself apart by offering a publicly viewable section, which allows certain reliefs and use of the term ‘charity’, and a restricted section for entities that do not solicit donations from the public and for those who do not wish for a public profile in relation to their philanthropic activity.

The latest developments follow the appointment last year of Charity Commissioner John Mills CBE.

Commenting on the development, Geoff Cook said: “The Charities Law positions Jersey right at the forefront of the rapidly evolving philanthropy sector and clearly demonstrates our forward-thinking approach. This latest development represents a vital step change in how Jersey is working with key partners to support globally-focussed philanthropic activity and underlines our ambition to provide a better, professional environment for philanthropic endeavour. 

“We do not rest on our laurels, though, and the industry is continuing to work with the government to enhance our philanthropic platform even further by transposing the new charitable purposes definition into our trusts legislation, so that charitable trusts can benefit from it too.  These positive steps can help position Jersey as a global centre of excellence for philanthropy, supporting projects adding real societal value around the world.”

Meanwhile, the changes to Jersey’s Trusts Law, which are the seventh set of amendments to have been made to the law since its introduction in 1984, are subject to Privy Council approval and are expected to be brought into force during 2018.

Adopted to preserve the flexibility and reputation of the law, the amendments provide clarity in a number of areas, including an extension of indemnity provisions for outgoing trustees, the rights of beneficiaries to information, and introduce new provisions, including a limited widening of the courts’ powers around the ability to vary a trust, to allow Jersey trusts to develop in a competitive and international market place.

Geoff Cook added: “Innovation is a core part of our proposition that differentiates us from other centres and the amendments to our trust legislation, whilst subtle, will preserve its flexibility whilst also providing greater clarity to the global private wealth community at a time when certainty and stability are precious commodities. 

“For more than three decades, Jersey’s trusts legislation has formed the backbone of our private wealth proposition and we know it has formed the blueprint for trusts legislation elsewhere. These positive moves will help us retain our leading position, particularly as we look to provide appropriate solutions and support for clients in new emerging markets.”

Innovation in the private wealth and family office space will feature as core theme at this year’s Jersey Finance Annual Private Wealth Conference, to be held at 8 Northumberland Avenue in London on Wednesday 25th April.