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Wealth Structuring And The International Financial Centres - Perspectives from the GCC 2018

Hubbis, in conjunction with Jersey Finance (the promoter of Jersey's leading International Finance Centre (IFC)), has prepared this White Paper with the aim of understanding and communicating the current attitudes towards wealth structuring and the use of IFCs amongst the Middle East's wealth management experts and their private clients. Our focus is the countries of the Gulf Co-Operation Council (GCC), as well as some of the satellite markets served from the region. Our many findings lead us to conclude that there is an immense opportunity in these constituent markets for wealth management to flourish and for high-quality IFCs to consolidate their presence. Why? Because vast private wealth exists and literally hundreds of billions of dollars are or will be vested in structures offshore, for asset protection, asset expansion and to facilitate estate transition from the founder, older generations to the younger generations.

Foreword

Jersey Finance has a long and successful history working in the Middle East supporting the region's clients. We believe that our experience of the business practices, the financial markets, the cultures, the mindset and the priorities of the high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), their families and of course the wealth management community at large set us apart from other leading IFCs and prepares us for an even more successful future working in the region. For that, we wish to thank our clients in the Middle East and also welcome new clients and their advisers to work together with us in the years ahead.

Jersey offers tax neutrality, a wide range of wealth management and investment vehicles, effective regulation - our compliant confidential register of beneficial ownership being a case in point, high-quality team members and highly experienced service providers and we are working tirelessly to expand our reach. This message has been well received in the GCC countries for more than a decade, leading to a Jersey Finance regional office in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that was established in 2011. Jersey's history in the GCC dates back considerably further, as we have long recognised that the enormous progress in wealth generation, as well as historic links, would provide a platform for exciting growth for our services across the region.

Furthermore, we believe that Jersey remains one of the best regulated IFCs, a position that has been acknowledged by independent assessments from some of the world's leading bodies including the OECD, World Bank and the IMF.

But we are not resting on our laurels. We are future-focussed and continue to review and enhance our proposition to meet the diverse needs of our international client base. We firmly believe that a reputational advantage is paramount today and Jersey is making every effort to differentiate itself from some of the other IFCs and align ourselves only with the very pinnacle of this industry.

Jersey Finance has worked with clients in the GCC for many years to establish our strong reputation for operational excellence, professionalism and integrity. We believe our efforts to differentiate Jersey in the market are paying off and this is being seen in our actions across this GCC region. For example, Jersey Finance now operates under a Dubai International Financial Centres (DIFC) license alongside a number of Jersey-based wealth management businesses opening in the UAE, all of whom are also increasing their focus on and commitment to this region.

It is true that IFCs have in recent years been facing up to a wide range of challenges, spurred especially by the explosion of new global financial regulation, information sharing between national governments and their authorities, as well as tighter supervision of the financial advisory community and their clients. Media disclosures such as the infamous Panama and Paradise Papers revelations have put IFCs across the globe further in the spotlight, along with the wealth management structures they facilitate and house.

But, this is as much an opportunity as a challenge, as it has helped wealth managers, lawyers and anyone associated with the management of the wealth of HNWIs to re-evaluate their approach to existing and new structures and to re-focus on the IFCs they work with amidst the current global environment in which the key watchwords today are compliance, transparency, efficacy, propriety and value. This is positive for the industry, it is positive for Jersey and it is certainly positive for our existing and future Middle East clientele.

Which brings me to the rationale for this White Paper. IFCs have fulfilled a vital role in the global financial world for many decades and we firmly believe that high-quality IFCs will continue to do so in the future. With the Middle East and, in particular, the GCC in mind first and foremost, but also with a wide-angle global perspective, Jersey Finance has worked with Hubbis to unearth the many fascinating views you will read about in this report.

Many of these views were voiced in a private roundtable discussion we held earlier this year [2018] in Dubai, which was published by Hubbis in October. And many of the insights are derived from the comprehensive, detailed GCC Survey Hubbis completed in October.

The findings were both numerous and fascinating. They inform us and our industry on how we should work together to prosper with our clients for the future. They reassure us that, with an estimated USD1 trillion of wealth set to transition between families and generations in the Middle East during the next decade, there is a world of opportunity awaiting the wealth management industry and their HNWI clients.

We hope that you, the reader, will welcome the initiative behind this White Paper, which we believe is particularly timely, given the dramatic changes in global, and local, regulatory oversight, which is encouraging ever more wealth managersand their HNWI clients to focus on propriety and excellence in their wealth management and succession planning.

I will close this Foreword by stating that the outcome has proven to us yet again that forward-thinking IFCs face a bright future; the information and perspectives we have gathered throughout this process have certainly focussed our desire to provide the highest quality IFC services to our Middle Eastern and global clients, past, present and future.

Finally, on behalf of Jersey Finance, I would like to thank our partner in this endeavour, Hubbis, and the numerous wealth management experts who gave their time, their expert views and predictions to make this assessment a very worthwhile and insightful exercise.

GEOFF COOK
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
JERSEY FINANCE

READ THE FULL WHITE PAPER

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