Private client, trusts and tax in Guernsey

Carey Olsen

Russell Clark heads Carey Olsen's well-regarded trusts practice, which has close relationships with many of the island's leading trust services providers, London firms and high-net-worth individuals both on and off-island. Konrad Friedlaender's practice crosses over between traditional trusts work and pensions work, as does Natasha Kapp - both are originally qualified in South Africa. At counsel level, Patricia Montgomery's practice includes administration of local estates and Laila Arstall is notable for her tax expertise. Fellow counsel Wendy Lewis joined the team from an in-house role at SG Kleinwort Hambros. Senior associate Julie Currie is notable for her pensions expertise.

Practice head(s):

Russell Clark

Testimonials

‘Carey Olsen’s private wealth team is undoubtedly the strongest in Guernsey. They have a peerless breadth and depth of experience which allows them to deliver innovative solutions to the often times complex, multijurisdictional, problems facing offshore institutional trustees. They are technically brilliant, commercially savvy, and genuinely some of the nicest people you could have the pleasure of working with.’

‘Russell Clark is an exceptional lawyer. He’s quite literally written a large part of Guernsey’s trust laws and has been deeply involved with the development of Guernsey’s fiduciary industry.  He immediately understands the crux of matters he advises on, and delivers elegant and cost effective solutions.’

‘What Konrad Friedlaender doesn’t know probably isn’t worth knowing.’

‘Natasha Kapp’s views on legal questions have prevailed at the Privy Council over those of leading Chancery silks. She delivers incisive, lucid advice and is my first choice to protect the interests of a trustee in court.’

‘Laila Arstall is one of the Channel Islands’ premier technical tax practitioners; and her knowledge of all things tax related is compendious. Her advice is carefully reasoned and invariably excellent. Where there is ambiguity in legislation or regulation, she adeptly identifies the key concerns and assists the trustee to adroitly navigate them.’

‘Wendy Lewis has relatively recently joined the Carey trusts team from its litigation team; and has had the benefit of working as in-house legal for one of Guernsey’s largest fiduciaries. She is a strong litigator with a developing expertise in trust matters.  Her advice benefits from her time in house, and is cast with an eye for the commercial factors that invariably challenge in-house counsel.’

Collas Crill

At Collas Crill, group partner Angela Calnan heads the practice, which among work streams coming from closer by and Asia is particularly well-connected in the Middle East (with some mandates involving the region's free zones), where it advises on private trust company structures among other means of new systems. Fellow group partner Joanne Seal heads a wills and estates practice that has expertise handling the affairs of island residents and non-residents. The team was also bolstered by the recruitment of David Cooney, who joined in March 2020 from the Zürich office of Charles Russell Speechlys AG. Pensions are another area of expertise. Cerisse Fisher is a key senior associate in the team.

Practice head(s):

Angela Calnan

Testimonials

‘The Guernsey team that I work with are practical, responsive and it’s always a positive experience working with them.’

‘The Guernsey team are very capable. They are my go to choice if ever I need assistance on a Guernsey Law issue. Strong technical knowledge of both Guernsey and Jersey law and their interaction with other jurisdictions.’

‘The team are all technically excellent while also showing the rare commodity of being able to relate to a client and their adviser’

‘Angela Calnan remains a star and stand-out performer in the non-contentious trust field. She not only has a good knowledge of the relevant law, she also appreciates the practical and commercial considerations.’

‘Joanne Seal has excellent technical knowledge whilst being approachable and diplomatic.’

Mourant

At Mourant, practice head Matthew Guthrie's recent mandates have included non-contentious and semi-contentious matters, including the relocation of structures to Guernsey, the creation of new structures and succession planning. Senior associate Sophie Denman qualified into STEP in October 2019. Some recent highlights have featured cross-border elements with continental European elements, and the team is well connected among the broader range of service providers on-island. Away from international trusts work, Mark Torode, who also handles real estate deals, is active in terms of non-contentious on-island wills issues. Previously a senior associate in the team, Chris Duncan is now a counsel at Carey Olsen in the Cayman Islands.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Guthrie

Other key lawyers:

Sophie Denman; Mark Torode

Testimonials

‘A solid team, with a particular strength advising high and ultra high net worth individuals. Excellent at dealing with complex contentious and non-contentious trust matters.’

‘One of the premier offshore Private Wealth teams with strength and depth across the jurisdictions. The delivery from the Guernsey team is exceptional both in timing and technical quality. The team are incredibly responsive and user friendly.’

‘Mourant’s trusts team in Guernsey is very good. They are led by a very capable partner who invests in developing the team and ensuring that there is a selection of lawyers at various levels of seniority.’

‘Matthew Guthrie is currently the best non-contentious trust lawyer working in Guernsey. He also has a very good grasp of UK/offshore tax issues on which he does not advise, but does provide a steer and recommend others when he spots a potential issue. He is always available when needed, which is fantastic for his clients. He is utterly approachable and pitches his explanations at the level needed by his clients, adapting easily and as required.’

Key clients

Albany Trust Company Limited

Albecq Trust Company Limited

Trident Trust

Butterfield Trust (Guernsey) Limited

Credit Suisse Trust Limited

Deutsche Bank

Intertrust

Julius Baer Group & Trust Company Limited

Trust Corporation International

Northern Trust

PraxisIFM Group including Nerine Trust Company Limited

Sequent Guernsey Limited

Royal Bank of Canada

Saffery Champness

St Peters Trust

IQ-EQ

Ogier

At Ogier, Gavin Ferguson's practice includes advising trustees on various matters, ranging from wealth in the context of alternative family structures, CRS and FATCA issues, handling a range of matters in the space, including the creation, modification and relocation of structures. Chris Hards is a key managing associate in the practice, and Alice Bricogne, who handles not just structuring matters but also regulatory matters concerning trusts, is a new counsel promotion.

Practice head(s):

Gavin Ferguson

Testimonials

‘Great team, enthusiastic and easy to talk to.’

‘Gavin Ferguson and Alice Bricogne are go-to people in Guernsey.  Sharp, to the point, responsive – and fun to work with.’

‘Catherine Moore offers excellent value for money and expertly deals with drafting and technical issues. Catherine has partner-level acumen in those fields and is a rising star.’

Work highlights

  • Advising Claverley Group in respect of the pension aspects of the sale of the Guernsey Press.

WALKERS

At WALKERS, Rupert Morris handles a mixture of work in the space, including some semi-contentious applications, the creation of manged trust companies and other structures, as well as significant organisational changes to existing ones. Rajah Abusrewil joined in 2019 from Babbé LLP, bringing with her Bermudian expertise. The practice is popular with Middle Eastern clients, and in particular is well connected in the GCC region. Among the senior associates, Nitrisha Doorasamy was previously in-house at FNB and has a following among South African clients.

Practice head(s):

Rupert Morris

Testimonials

‘Walkers has an excellent Private Client and Trust practice. They work closely with their network of partners located in key onshore and offshore jurisdictions to give prompt and practical advice to their clients. This is especially important for the trust industry as most of the matters are cross-border in nature.’

‘Rupert Morris is an outstanding individual who brings a personal, human touch to working for clients. Easy to get on with, hugely knowledgeable and with a deservedly-growing profile: the Rusnano decision is a major development in trusts law and is a testament to Rupert’s tenacity and experience.’

Key clients

Rusnano Capital AG

Rothschild Trust (Guernsey) Limited

Alpha & Omega Global Investments Sarl

Trust Corporation of the Channel Islands (TCCI)

TT International Limited

Standard Chartered Trust (Singapore) Limited

Liberty Speciality Markets Europe S.a.r.l.

Estera Fiduciary Serviecs (Guernsey) Limited (Now Ocorian)

Work highlights

  • Advising Rusnano Group on an asset recovery matter, including issues of Guernsey’s statutory Saunders v Vaultier regime.
  • Advising Standard Chartered in respect of its newly transferred portfolio of Guernsey law trusts, including large-scale review and updating of its standard documents.
  • Advising beneficiaries on the restructuring of a Non-Charitable Purpose Trust set up to hold two large Cayman based funds, including change of Trusteeship and further ongoing acquisition.

Babbé LLP

At Babbé LLP, alongside his contentious practice Andrew Laws advises on a number of complex trust structuring matters and semi-contentious court applications for a range of international clients. On top of a number of trusts mandates, Nicholas Donnithorne has particular pensions expertise, which he deploys on a range of international matters surrounding QROPS, an area where the jurisdiction competes for international pensions business with jurisdictions such as the Isle of Man. Russian speaker Elena Gogh is a key senior associate.

Other key lawyers:

Elena Gogh

Testimonials

‘From my experience, being able to rely on Babbé as a one stop shop, providing individuals from a team of experienced professionals depending on the issue in hand is a bonus for me. They all understand the nature of my business and can be proactive in my requirements, which can vary between corporate, trust and property law.’

‘Babbé are an incredibly approachable and friendly team and offer superb advice at the more reasonable end of the spectrum. I would happily recommend them to anyone.’

Key clients

Fort Trustees Limited and Balchan Management as trustees of the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust

Work highlights

  • Representing Fort Trustees as trustees of the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust in the eponymous multi-jurisdictional litigation.
  • Acting for the beneficiaries of a Guernsey trust in an ongoing Public Trustee v Cooper application (which is being held in camera).
  • Acting for the minor and unborn beneficiaries of one branch of a Guernsey trust in an ongoing Public Trustee v Cooper application (which is being held in camera).