Jersey Finance hosted its second family office themed roundtable for 2021, this time attendees focussed on the topic of asset protection.

Invited attendees from the UK and Jersey discussed how family offices consider asset protection when choosing a jurisdiction today and explored aspects related to Jersey’s stability as a jurisdiction.

Read selected quotes from attendees on the various topics discussed or download our roundtable key takeaways document.

List of roundtable attendees

  • Amanda Chapman, Partner, GSC Solicitors LLP
  • Nancy Chien, Partner, Bedell Cristin
  • Christopher Cook, Senior Associate, Baker McKenzie
  • Steven Footer, Relationship Manager – Private Banking, Standard Chartered
  • Louise O’Toole, Senior Associate, Gateley PLC
  • Nicholas Holland, Partner, McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP
  • Joanna McAviney, Legal and Technical Manager, Jersey Finance Limited
  • Robert Moore, Director – UK, Jersey Finance Limited
  • Craig Neilson, Wealth Manager, LGT Vestra LLP
  • James Ramsden, Director – Head of Client Services, Trident Trust Company Limited
  • Louise Richardson, Advocate, Government of Jersey
  • Sana Sheikh, Senior Associate, GSC Solicitors LLP
  • Tristan Smale, Senior Associate, Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP
  • Anthony Turner, Partner, Farrer & Co LLP
  • Simon Voisin, Director, Forward Group Trust & Corporate Services
  • Joyce Zhou, Private Banker, Barclays

Asset protection definition and why Jersey

“Quite a lot of our new clients are looking at jurisdictions for their offshore structures, not for tax reasons, but actually because of the fact that they come from countries where the political environment is relatively unstable. Jersey does not have any specific asset-protection legislation. However, it does have robust firewall provisions in its trusts and foundations legislation, any question concerning the validity or interpretation of a trust shall be determined in accordance with the law of Jersey and no rule of foreign law shall affect such a question.” – Nancy Chien

“On the asset protection front, I am always hugely nervous whenever anybody talks about ‘asset protection trusts’ or ‘asset protection structures’..."

“…because all of the offshore jurisdictions and most, if not all, of the onshore English-speaking jurisdictions have something that approaches the Statute of Elizabeth.

“The Statute of Elizabeth is an intention-driven statute that says if you are entering into a transaction for the purpose, and it doesn’t have to be the predominant purpose, but one of the purposes is to defeat or interfere with or hinder creditor claims, then that transaction is void or voidable.” – Nick Holland

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Sources of concern for clients considering asset protection

“Not all clients are going to have the same risk. One risk can be family risk, or family fallout – where there’s a concern that maybe different branches of the family are going in different directions. Probably the biggest thing we see now is confidentiality risk, so it’s asset protection, but what it really is, is preserving confidentiality. ”– Christopher Cook

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Succession planning and the next generation

“I speak to a lot of next generation clients who are trying to pose a discussion with the matriarch, patriarch and a good way of maybe avoiding an issue – which normally comes up on the death of the patriarch – is for the next generation to try and bring the issue up sooner.

“They can do this by talking about succession planning and introducing a family charter – stimulating a conversation around these areas. That conversation can lead to a better understanding of how the trust works in terms of asset protection” – Sana Sheikh

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“Governance is a really good thing."

“It gets the discussion going – between different generations, hearing their different views and aspirations as well as how they want to invest their money. As advisors, we should be encouraging governance conversations, plus it’s a very good thing to do to head off litigation.” – Anthony Turner

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Group of businesspeople sitting around table in meeting room
“With bigger families, you do need to work towards a representational element or a council with representation from the different strands..."

“…because – although the ideal is to bring the next generation in and introduce new family members – sometimes that can be more of a hindrance than a help.

“Sometimes, before you even get to the fundamentals of constitution, you need to have an agreement as to who is going to be involved and know their responsibilities; otherwise, you can have months of meeting with different family members and potential conflict before you even get going.” – Amanda Chapman

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Asset protection strategies

“Families are getting far more philanthropic and they’re actively participating in community projects.  A family we work with has projects in India, but also throughout the UK, and the children of that family are actively encouraged to participate to witness those less fortunate. Through getting involved with these foundations and initiatives, the children of that family are seeing how they can affect business decisions.” – Simon Voisin

"I think it’s a sign of a maturing client group"

[Regarding private banking clients in Asia] “It goes hand-in-hand with asset protection, because they realise that in terms of wealth creation, they have now gone past the fast growth phase. Now that they’ve actually accumulated a large amount of wealth which was created within a very short period of time, they now need to consider: what is the sensible way to preserve that?” – Joyce Zhou

“A phrase I heard recently, which isn’t mine, was ‘moving from a family business to a business family. Family businesses need structures, they need to diversify – there are so many good reasons not to just stay within the family business. And I think it solves a lot of the problems around succession and engagement.” – Anthony Turner

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