A gateway into United Kingdom and European markets, Jersey has become a key facilitator of capital from overseas. It is ideally placed for company listings, cross-border transactions and fund servicing, while its long-standing commercial relationship with the City of London is valued by financial institutions and investors in Asia and other fast-growing regions of the world.
In banking and retail services, Jersey structures are used by firms in Asia as part of their strategic planning, while investment firms choose our Island for private equity investment and for property acquisitions and sales. Jersey is also an attractive jurisdiction for Asia’s increasing number of ultra-high net worth individuals and families who are looking to protect their global assets and support philanthropic ventures through trusts, foundations and other entities.
Jersey recognises the advantages of continuing to broaden and deepen its links with Asia, spanning political, commercial, cultural and educational spheres.
Making positive connections
The Government of Jersey recognises the advantages of continuing to broaden and deepen its links with Asia, spanning political, commercial, cultural and educational spheres. The global relations team within the Government of Jersey’s external relations department enjoys good bilateral relationships with many countries across the region through their Embassies and High Commissions in London and the governments in each country. With an ongoing focus on areas of mutual benefit, the Government will look to increase Jersey’s visibility in the region through activities such as ministerial and official visits now that most COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. As detailed in the global relations strategy, Jersey will continue to prioritise its engagement with countries that can best fulfil the Island’s objectives and support economic growth.
Where communities come together
Jersey’s 2021 census highlights the number and diversity of diaspora communities from across Asia that have made the Island their home. The Philippines and Thailand both feature within the top 10 places of birth outside Europe, and nationals from many other Asian countries also live on Jersey. All of these diaspora communities, whatever their size, contribute to Island life in their own unique way, making Jersey a diverse and multicultural place. The Government of Jersey is committed to supporting these communities, whether it is by celebrating their culture and heritage or by helping with the practicalities of living abroad.
Jersey has an expanding treaty network with Asia. As the Island develops its international identity, distinct from the United Kingdom as a Crown Dependency, it is able to negotiate a range of agreements in its own right, from Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) and Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) to Asset Recovery Agreements and sector-specific Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs). Jersey has DTAs with Hong Kong SAR and Singapore, which speaks to the Island’s strong connections with these two jurisdictions and our shared status as international finance centres (IFCs). We are keen to negotiate more DTAs in Asia, especially with countries that are hungry for greater foreign direct investment to support their continued growth.
Our first BIT was signed in 2021. These agreements work hand in hand with DTAs to help facilitate investment by giving
investors tax certainty and protection. Jersey will continue to work with Asian partners to advocate the advantages of negotiating DTAs and BITs, along with MoUs in other areas such as education, which help to boost cooperation and set out objectives for both sides. Jersey’s model DTA is based on the OECD Model Convention and has been revised to ensure full compliance with the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project. Our model BIT has been developed with expert legal advice and carefully tailored to Jersey’s mature, service-led economy. The high standards to which Jersey continues to hold these agreements shows the Island’s desire to be seen as a responsible global partner and a forward-thinking IFC.
Vital commercial ties
Outside of financial services, Jersey enjoys commercial ties in a number of Asian countries. Jersey Dairy has exported its UHT milk to Hong Kong SAR since 2014 and the volume of milk shipped to the territory continues to grow. Jersey Dairy products from the Island’s famous cows have been sold in 30 countries over the last decade, including mainland China, South Korea and Japan. Whelks caught around Jersey’s coast are also enjoyed in South Korea.
It is hoped that growing government-to-government links across the region will help to facilitate more export opportunities for Jersey’s artisanal producers in agriculture, food and drink. The Government of Jersey will continue to work alongside Jersey Business in supporting companies who are looking to expand into Asia.
Building a better world
A number of organisations in Jersey have supported conservation and development projects in countries across Asia. Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, established in 1959 by renowned author and conservationist Gerald Durrell, works around the world to save species from extinction. In Sumatra, Indonesia, Durrell has provided long-standing support for projects to protect the biodiversity of threatened tropical rainforests. This involves working with the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, as well as training Sumatran conservationists at Durrell’s academy in Jersey to give them the knowledge and skills required to save endangered species.
Over the past two decades, Jersey Overseas Aid has supported a variety of projects in Asia as part of its work around the globe. This includes emergency relief work in Indonesia and Bangladesh, school building projects in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and projects to increase access to sanitation and healthcare in Nepal.
Jersey for Asia
Hawksford, an international provider of corporate, private client and fund services, recently supported a global banking institution that required corporate administration services in accordance with its various structured securities and capital issuance programmes. With extensive expertise in the Asia market, Hawksford’s international team had already worked alongside the institution’s middle and back-office functions in the United Kingdom and Asia (including legal, reporting and accounting), as well as external advisers in Jersey, the United Kingdom and Europe, helping to guide the client through various corporate finance transactions.
Hawksford’s experienced corporate team provided a full suite of services, including managing an inventory of structured securities and an ongoing issuance programme, as well as company secretarial and administration services to the offshore special purpose vehicle (SPV). The dedicated team acted as a key enabler in relation to cross-border advisers and client stakeholders, while ensuring regulatory filings and reporting requirements were adhered to on a timely basis. Offering a strategic and agile approach to delivering the highest standards of governance, the team were also able to ensure management control from Jersey, enabling the client to benefit from the advantages of situating their structure in a tax neutral and stable environment.contact details
Maples and Calder (Jersey) LLP, the Maples Group’s law firm in Jersey, provided Jersey corporate, funds and regulatory legal advice to a large South Korean Asset Manager. The client, who was introduced by the firm’s Singapore practice, was looking to participate in a circa US$650 million funding round for a start-up US developer and operator of space rockets. The client required Jersey legal counsel to structure the investment via a Jersey limited partnership. The firm’s Jersey and Singapore teams worked closely together to provide continuity of service in the client’s time-zone, with the Jersey team on hand to provide advice on the Jersey investment structure in a form relevant to a sophisticated client. There are many good reasons why a fund structure may choose to form in or migrate to Jersey, and our international law firm offers market-leading transactional experience along with an unrivalled geographical reach, for any new or existing structure considering its choice of domicile.contact details
Moore Stephens is part of the Moore Global Network made up of over 230 member firms, of which c.29 firms (84 offices) are based in the APAC region. A corporate Singaporean family office with extensive business dealings in APAC but newcomer to the United Kingdom real estate investment market approached Moore Stephens for a team of trusted professionals to facilitate their investment in, and holding of, mixed use central London commercial, multi-tenanted real estate with active asset management activity. There was also the potential introduction of a joint venture partner and future redevelopment of the asset.
Taking on the client, Moore Stephens worked with legal advisers and provided a full suite of services to keep the process simple, including: company secretarial; administration; hands-on interaction with the asset managers; financial reporting and tax compliance; and, directors with expertise of supporting clients in the sector. A well-trodden path for Jersey in supporting inbound United Kingdom investment, the client appreciates and values the expertise of Moore Stephens’ team,
reputation of the Island and proximity to asset location and onshore advisers to ensure a coordinated approach to service. Moore Stephens’ focusses on people relationships and building trust early on, taking the time to explain the structuring process and ongoing governance arrangements – and delivering a quality service while keeping the client informed. This is one of a number of Asia-driven investments that the team have had the opportunity to support over the years.
Ogier acted for a regulated Jersey trust company in relation to the establishment of a new Jersey reserved power settlement by a Hong Kong SAR resident settlor. The trust was established for the benefit of certain members of the settlor’s family for wealth succession purposes. The settled assets comprised interests in a number of BVI holding companies which in turn held direct interests in the settlor’s trading businesses, the intention being that dividend income from the operating businesses would ultimately be received by the trust and invested in diversified assets. The settlor was not named as a beneficiary of the trust but certain powers were reserved for the settlor during their lifetime including the power to direct the trustee in relation to the investment of trust assets, the power to appoint and remove trustees and the power to appoint and remove a protector. Jersey’s Trust Law enables a settlor to reserve for themselves (or grant to someone else) certain powers, including investment powers.contact details
Rathbones, following an approach from a regulated financial adviser in Hong Kong SAR, presented a portfolio of circa £5 million in size, to assist a client looking to invest outside of Hong Kong SAR. A low-risk portfolio was implemented, with an emphasis on steady capital growth and wealth preservation. The portfolio provides the client with the opportunity to access securities, diversifying their wealth away from an extensive Hong Kong SAR and mainland China portfolio; indeed, formal exclusions prevent any investments into Asian assets. Furthermore, the portfolio is now monitored by a Jersey-based, independent third party company, quantitatively assessing the portfolio for the underlying client. A positive example of Jersey firms assisting financial advisers and their clients in Asia.contact details
Viberts acted for a construction technology group based in Hong Kong SAR that was engaged in the construction of the Burj Al Arab, the Cape Town Stadium and the Queensferry Crossing. The group is the world’s number one construction enterprise cloud software platform. Viberts advised the group upon its entry into a joint venture with a Jersey company to license and distribute software, its subscription for shares in the Jersey entity, its intra-group lending arrangements and its entry into an operations agreement relating to activities across Europe, Canada and Asia. Viberts advised on the Jersey aspects of the transaction led by corporate partner, Paul Wilson. The cross-border joint venture arrangement between Asian and Jersey groups meant that interesting regulatory issues had to be resolved. The flexibility of Jersey company law, Jersey’s tax neutrality, Jersey’s time zone and its track record as a jurisdiction to base operations into Europe, were important considerations for the client.contact details
Walkers’ Jersey team advises on the financing of the landmark redevelopment of Battersea Power Station following on from the record-setting £1.6 billion forward sale of the Power Station building to PNB and EPF in March 2019. The Walkers team – led by partner Jonathan Heaney and Group Partner Jon Le Rossignol – are long-standing advisers to the Asian lenders supporting the project and have advised since the start of the deal including on various stages of financing. The team has significant experience in the establishment, acquisition, financing and disposal of holding structures for prime commercial and residential United Kingdom real estate assets. Jersey continues to be a popular choice for holding assets of this type by Asian investors and by association, their financiers.contact details