The Legal 500

Guernsey

United Kingdom > Guernsey > Overview

Share this page

Editorial

Guernsey adopted a proactive approach to the EU Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD), introducing a dual regulatory regime catering to the island’s fund business originating both within and outside of the EU. A number of firms have been active in this space, advising clients on restructuring for compliance purposes, and, on the non-fee earning side, taking part in seminars and conferences on the impact of the Directive.

Guernsey’s funds industry remains largely based on the closed-ended sector, which saw an increase in value to a total of £136.1bn at the end of December 2013. Over 100 new funds were approved during the year, although the net asset value of funds under management and administration has continued to fall. Renewable energy remains an important market, and a number of listed energy investment vehicles were among those launched during 2013.

While the number of new structures being established on the island remains low in comparison to previous years, the increase in both size and complexity of those trusts now being launched requires sophisticated legal advice, and competition among law firms is fierce. The interest from emerging markets has contributed to the general optimism of the market, and plays into the hands of those firms with offices strategically placed in key jurisdictions such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai.

The Foundations (Guernsey) Law came into force in January 2013, though take up was not dramatic during 2013. However, foundations remain an attractive option given their suitability for various uses, from asset protection and succession planning to philanthropic purposes. It is anticipated that these structures will be of interest to clients in civil law jurisdictions, which include many emerging markets, given their familiarity with this type of structure. As such, a number of firms are optimistic about future activity in this area.

Fiduciary departments on the island were busy assisting trust companies with the establishment, variation and administration of trusts, while litigation departments saw an increase in trust litigation. Given the popularity of Guernsey as a domicile for various structures, litigation often finds its way to the island, to the benefit of firms with strong reputations for dispute resolution.

The restructuring of the stock exchange in the Channel Islands by way of a scheme of arrangement was approved by the Royal Court of Guernsey in December 2013. The rebranded Channel Islands Securities Exchange (CISE) now has separate regulatory and commercial aspects, with regulation and listing rules handled by the Channel Islands Stock Exchange Authority (CISEA).

Full-service firm Mourant Ozannes advised on the restructuring. Other full-service firms on the island include Carey Olsen and Ogier, which also remain popular choices for clients with offices in multiple jurisdictions. Bedell Cristin, Appleby and Collas Crill’s multi-jurisdictional offerings likewise attract major multinational clients with business in the Channel Islands. Local firms such as AO HALL, AFR Advocates and Babbé provide an alternative to the pan-island firms, and have dispute resolution capabilities as well as handling a range of non-contentious commercial work.

Jeremy Berchem now heads Appleby’s corporate and commercial department, which, after a period of change, is now set to further establish itself as a key player in the island. Other personnel changes on the island during 2013 were mainly at associate level, as many firms look to consolidation rather than expansion, with many looking ahead to the future to make way for the new generation of up-and-coming lawyers.

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments in Guernsey

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • In re B; B v T (Court of Appeal, 11 July 2012)

    A trustee's duty of confidentiality has recently been discussed and to some extent clarified in the recent Guernsey Court of Appeal decision of In re B; B v T (Court of Appeal, 11 July 2012). This summary has been prepared to provide you with a summary of the case as well as the general issues raised, but is not intended to cover all matters or to provide commentary.   This summary does not constitute legal advice.
  • The Company Administration Regime in Guernsey

    Introduction 
  • Guernsey Image Rights Legislation

    The Image Rights (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Ordinance 2012 (the Ordinance) and The Image Rights (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Regulations, 2012
  • Guernsey Foundations

    The Foundations (Guernsey) Law, 2012 (Law) is awaiting Royal assent, expected to be given by the end of the year or early next year. Whilst Guernsey is not the first jurisdiction to provide for foundations, the Law does provide a number of unique options for individuals wishing to take advantage of the benefits provided by foundations. The purpose of this note is to provide both a general summary of the features of a Guernsey foundation, as well as a summary of these unique options that will be available under the Law.
  • Competitive Guernsey

    Guernsey has been considering the introduction of local competition law since at least 2005 and by bringing into effect The Competition (Guernsey) Ordinance, 2012 on 1 August 2012, has introduced an effective Competition Law regime, to regulate the same 3 core areas recognized in most competition regimes, namely the abuse of a dominant position, anti-competitive arrangements, and mergers and acquisitions.
  • Foundations in Guernsey

    On 25 July 2012 the States of Deliberation, Guernsey’s parliament, approved the project de loi The Foundations (Guernsey) Law, 2012 (the “Law”). Subject to Privy Council approval, the Law is expected to come into force in late 2012 or early 2013. This note is a brief summary of certain features of the new Law.
  • Friendly Rivalry? The Competition Laws of the Channel Islands

    • New Competition Law for Guernsey in force on 1 August 2012 • Jersey and Guernsey now both regulate the abuse of a dominant position, anti-competitive arrangements, and mergers and acquisitions • Key differences between the islands' competition laws • Overall, a pan-Channel Island approach to regulation
  • Making a will in Guernsey May 2012

    On 2 April 2012 The Inheritance (Guernsey) law 2011 came into force which has replaced Guernsey’s forced heirship regime with a system of full testamentary freedom (accompanied by family and dependent provisions).
  • Listing Specialist Securities on the Channel Islands Stock Exchange

    The Channel Islands Stock Exchange LBG ("CISX") began its operations in October 1998. It is based in St Peter Port, Guernsey and provides a listing facility and bespoke trading platform.
  • Image rights laws to be introduced in Guernsey

    “Image is everything” - Andre Agassi once famously declared in an advert for camera brand, Canon.

Press Releases in Guernsey

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to