Jersey: Current Themes In Private Wealth Structuring

Last Updated: 12 June 2018
Article by James Campbell

Most Read Contributor in Jersey, July 2019

At Ogier we continue to see Jersey trust companies winning substantive mandates for new private wealth structures.  Plainly this bodes well for the future of the sector on the island.  The purpose of this article is to consider the key drivers as to why ultra-high net worth families are choosing to structure now and ultimately to reflect on why these families and their advisers are choosing Jersey structures over and above other options.

Much of Jersey's substantive new business in private wealth is coming from the Middle East and the Far East.  For these clients tax is rarely the driver.  This contrasts with much of Jersey's business in the 1980s and early 1990s which was predominantly UK tax driven and built on mitigating capital gains tax and inheritance tax.  Of course tax will always need to be considered for Middle East and Far East clients - many of these families are international in the sense of assets being held in multiple jurisdictions and family members being resident in multiple jurisdictions - but favourable tax treatment is rarely the primary motivating factor to structure.

So what are the key drivers prompting clients from the Middle East and the Far East to structure in Jersey?  In the Middle East and the Far East the primary drivers for structuring are for the most part simple.   

In recent times protection of assets against seizure by political means has been high on the agenda.  Material concerns with political instability and nation state sovereignty have acted as a catalyst in prompting settlors to scrutinise where and how they want to structure their assets.  In the Middle East this is particularly so following the Arab Spring and the continuing turmoil in Iraq, Libya and more recently Syria.  Recent events in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have also prompted new structuring and restructuring mandates.  Many settlors who are resident in politically sensitive countries find that a trust, by removing the assets from their ownership, can protect against the risk of assets being seized by political means.  In the Far East this concern is replicated in the PRC where there remains a residual concern about the seizure of assets by political means.  Clients and their advisers are increasingly concerned about asset protection and whether the sanctity of a Jersey trust will be upheld by the Royal Court of Jersey.

Broadly where the rationale for a trust or further accretions to a trust is legitimate and not designed to defeat known or anticipated creditors (e.g. the preservation of wealth and estate planning) then the Royal Court of Jersey has made it very clear that it will uphold the sanctity of a trust arrangement.  Of course many of these countries are considered high risk from an anti-money laundering perspective which puts an even greater onus on Jersey trust companies to know their client and specifically to ensure source of wealth before take on.

In the Middle East and the Far East continuity of ownership is another primary driver to structure or re-structure existing structures.  Increasingly settlors want to ensure that family assets will remain in the same ownership for the foreseeable future.  Clients want long term dynastic structures built to last for generations to come.  They want a structure which will be able to provide for an orderly transfer of wealth to the next generations.  Many settlors do not want family assets, which might include a family business built up over many years, broken up and divided amongst the heirs.  Settlors in both the Middle East and the Far East are now much more savvy in terms of planning for the future generations – in the Far East specifically high profile estate and trust litigation is having an impact in highlighting the risk of family wealth being materially eroded by settlors omitting to take simple steps to ensure an orderly transfer of wealth.

Another key driver in the Middle East is the avoidance of forced heirship requirements.  Many systems of law (to include many countries in the Middle East founded on Sharia law) impose upon individuals a requirement that upon their death they must leave a proportion of their assets to certain heirs.  A Jersey trust can avoid this.  Broadly subject to certain limited exceptions where assets are held in a Jersey trust the Royal Court will not entertain a claim to set aside any trust which is based on forced heirship rights of a foreign jurisdiction.

For both Middle East and Far East clients a Jersey trust can also avoid estate duties and probate formalities.  Assets transferred into a trust during the settlor's lifetime will not generally form part of his estate on death.

Likewise a Jersey trust can protect assets against profligacy by younger members of the family who might otherwise inherit large sums of money at an early age (e.g. under the Sharia laws of succession).  A settlor may want assets to be distributed to his children once they have achieved a certain age or perhaps displayed a responsible and mature attitude and the flexibility of a Jersey trust can achieve this.

In terms of other trends we are seeing that clients from both the Middle East and the Far East wish to retain significant control over key aspects of the trust notably investment.  For the most part there is no personal link with a Jersey trustee who is situate many thousands of miles away and administers the trust on entirely commercial terms and to this extent the sentiment to retain control over key aspects of the trust is understandable.  However, reserving powers should be considered very carefully on a case by case basis particularly where there are concerns that reserved powers could be exercised by third parties (e.g. a liquidator or trustee in bankruptcy on insolvency or a matrimonial court on divorce).  We are also seeing a steady flow of private trust companies mandates for very wealthy families where the desire for control and a bespoke structure tailored for the family is high on the agenda.  Rather than transfer assets to a service provider's corporate trustee, certain high net families may prefer to establish their own PTC entity. The board of the PTC can comprise of family members, trusted family advisers and third party professional advisers. 

In terms of legal work we have noted that whilst the volume of new trusts is less what is coming to Jersey is bigger and more bespoke.  Often these structures require advice from outside of Ogier's private client and trusts team (notably corporate, funds and regulatory advice).  It is increasingly common to be working with corporate colleagues on new structures and restructuring exercises where there is a need for both trust and corporate advice.  For these larger structures it is fundamental to be able to provide joined up and cohesive legal advice from all relevant service lines.

A final word on demographics and global wealth trends.  The UBS / PwC Billionaires Report 2017 highlights some startling statistics for 2016 which year witnessed a rapid increase in the number of Asian billionaires - up 23% compared to an increase of 5% in the USA and 1% in Europe and with the Asian number of billionaires up to 637 outstripping for the first time the US number of 563.  Fundamentally Asian wealth is increasing at a materially faster pace than in the US (over double the rate of growth) and Europe (over six times the rate of growth) and much of this wealth in Asia is self-made as opposed to being multigenerational.  Another key piece of data is that billionaires in Asia are getting older which should signal significant transfer of wealth over the next two decades – on the 2016 numbers 81% of billionaires in Asia are over the age of 70 which is significantly higher than the US number of 53% and the Europe number of 47%.  Clearly these numbers suggest the Far East is likely to be a key market for Jersey in terms of new private wealth business going forward.

In conclusion the flexibility of Jersey trusts means that they can be put to all manner of uses.  Of course when you add to the mix that Jersey is a major financial centre with an established track record, its political stability, its strong legal foundations (it is crucial for trustees to have access to court where circumstances arise) and the strong professional services on offer it is clear to see why Jersey's offering in private wealth management remains compelling.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions