The natural choice for family and private offices

Banking & Finance
| The European | 23rd April 2020

Article by John Hunter, Head of Banking and Fiduciaries at Finance Isle of Man

The Isle of Man’s long-standing success in providing specialist wealth management and fiduciary services to international high-net-worth individuals and families is based on our four cornerstones of strength, security, stability and service, which are continually supported and reinforced by our:

  • Regulatory and international reputation
  • Economic stability
  • Access to economic substance
  • Political stability

Family and private offices

The Isle of Man benefits from a sophisticated and experienced network of fiduciary, funds and wealth management experts which, for many years, have enabled family and private offices to flourish; it is no coincidence the Isle of Man is home to some of the world’s leading private wealth offices.

Every family and private office is different, and the island has many well established single and multi-family offices, offering a whole range of services from concierge, administration and advisory to wealth management and succession planning, through to property management, marine and aviation asset management.

Regulatory and international reputation

The Isle of Man is an outward-looking country at the forefront of best international practice. It has a modern regulatory system aligned to global standards in tax compliance and transparency and its regulatory jurisdiction is supervised by the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority (FSA), a proven, pragmatic and responsive regulator.

As an independent nation, we have the autonomy to develop legislations and policy quickly and in response to business needs. This also allows the Isle of Man Government to take a bespoke approach that other jurisdictions may not be able to provide. For example, earlier this year the Conduct of Business Code was introduced for life insurance and wealth management companies on the island, ensuring greater transparency for customers and further enhancing their protection, while demonstrating that financial services firms on the island are committed to raising the bar for international best practice.

Craig Brown, Managing Director, of corporate service provider IQEQ (Isle of Man) Ltd is among those who benefit from the jurisdiction’s versatility.

“The Isle of Man has long been a jurisdiction of choice for the management of family wealth due to its stability and strong trust and asset protection legislation, but I often wonder why family offices choose the Isle of Man over other jurisdictions. It can be taken as read that our professionalism and standard of service is second to none, but for me I think that the sense of family and social responsibility that is so embedded within the Isle of Man culture gives us a unique perspective which families value when selecting someone to whom they are trusting their wealth. When this is combined with our entrepreneurial spirit it provides a compelling blend of sound stewardship and enterprising nature.”

Economic stability

The Isle of Man has a strong and stable economy with steady financial control and positive economic growth. The island is a world-renowned finance centre and home to over 400 financial service companies. Some of the world’s most respected financial services brands are headquartered on the island and financial services account for over 40% of the total GDP. Renowned for its innovation, stability and professionalism, the island’s economy is diverse and includes a range of industries including eGaming, ICT and manufacturing and construction.

Expert wealth management company Boston Limited draws on the island’s dynamic and reliable environment to cater to its clients’ needs. As Managing Director Alex McNee reflects: “The Isle of Man has a long history in providing family offices with tried and tested structuring which has stood the test of time. Continuity and longevity are paramount to those that seek either a single or multi-family office solution to their intergenerational needs. As well as being in a position to manage and administer the structures and underlying assets, the Isle of Man is well regulated and internationally recognised as a ‘good global citizen’ which is becoming more and more important to families. The island is also well positioned with complementary services in the areas of fiduciary, tax and legal advice as well as being home to high quality investment managers and banks, all of which have an important role to play in serving international families.”

Political stability

The Isle of Man is a self-governing UK Crown Dependency and continues to have very strong ties to the UK. Located between the UK and Ireland in the Irish Sea, the island has the lowest crime rate in the British Isles and is politically stable with an extremely low risk of geopolitical threat. The island has the oldest continuous parliament in the world at over 1,000 years old, the oldest common law trust regime, and has fast become a popular jurisdiction for private and family office relocation due to its common-law jurisdiction and company law, which is based on UK principles.

Dermot Hamill, Head of Wealth Management, Isle of Man, at Canaccord Genuity Wealth (International) Ltd believes that it is the range of disciplines covered on the island that underpins its success: “The island is a leading jurisdiction for private wealth management and is home to many well established single and multi-family offices. The breadth of experience available across financial and professional services in areas such as taxation, investment management, cash management, legal services and banking on the island is outstanding”

Cost and substance

Economic substance means that the Isle of Man is increasingly being considered as a jurisdiction of choice for global family offices in order to manage their wealth structures in a secure and stable environment. The island’s business-friendly environment, including regulatory responsiveness and flexibility, provides the ideal platform for the establishment and operation of family offices.

If you are planning for the future, very few International Finance Centres, or jurisdictions, can match what the Isle of Man provides.

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