30 Foundations were registered with the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) last year, the biggest rise since 2014, meaning that the total number of Foundations established in the jurisdiction over the past nine years, including active and dissolved Foundations, stood at 357 at the end of 2017, according to figures collated by Jersey Finance.
Jersey’s Foundations Law came into force in July 2009, when it became the first British Crown Dependency to offer such structures.
Commenting on the use of the structure, Zillah Howard, Partner at Bedell Cristin, and a leading practitioner on Jersey Foundations, said:
“Industry indications suggest that a significant proportion of Foundations – around one third – are being used for philanthropic purposes. The features and flexibility offered by the Foundations Law which make it so attractive for philanthropic structuring, together with Jersey’s innovative Charities Law, underline how seriously the Island is taking the important and growing area of philanthropy as part of its overall wealth management framework.
“In addition, a similar number of Foundations are being used for family wealth management and dynastic planning, whilst others are being used in commercial arrangements and as holding vehicles for luxury assets. It’s also significant that Foundations are proving attractive in the Middle and Far East, often as part of Sharia’h-compliant financing arrangements.”
Meanwhile, Jersey Finance is working with its Members, Government of Jersey and partners as part of a foundations working group to consider enhancements to Jersey’s offering so our jurisdiction remains attractive for future investors. These include amending the criteria around who can act as a ‘qualified member’ overseeing a Foundation structure; clarifying how a Foundation may act as a private trust company; and clarifying the process around winding up a Foundation.
Geoff Cook, CEO, Jersey Finance, added:
“When Jersey introduced its Foundations law in 2009, it was seen as a trailblazing move that a number of other jurisdictions have since tried to copy, albeit with their slight differences. Interestingly, the total number of Foundation structures set up in Jersey now outstrips the combined total in the other Crown Dependencies by around 25%.
“It’s encouraging that, nine years since they were introduced, we are still seeing a steady rate of incorporation – particularly in the area of philanthropy and in support of our Asian market activity, where the blend of flexibility, control and oversight are seen as attractive features. With the latest set of proposals currently being consulted on, we fully expect the Jersey Foundation to retain its appeal as a core structure within our wealth management landscape.”