Ian Le Breton © 2019-2021 Legal stuff

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International trust or a company is it Sir? Suits you Sir! Well, does it suit any longer? Indeed, was it ever fit for purpose? Now may be the time to get your structure checked out.


What did you do during the pandemic, Dad? Many have done something different during the seemingly endless lockdowns and other restrictions. In my case, I’ve learned a little Arabic. Not fluently but in the words of the late, great Victoria Wood, “enough to buy a paper”.


More seriously, I’ve also reviewed my own financial affairs and continued to assist clients with theirs. My role as an independent consultant is to provide information, guidance and general knowhow on all aspects of the international trust and company field. Formerly referred to as “offshore” you’ll not find that term commonly used now. Moreover, the raft of international regulation, enhanced compliance and other rules has contributed to a dramatic change in the landscape in recent years.  


But the international finance sector continues to thrive; indeed in some jurisdictions it is more vibrant than ever. There are still good reasons for the compliant individual or company to consider using a structure comprising one or more entities such as a company, trust, foundation and the like. Whilst the industry has seen significant consolidation in recent years, there are plenty of world class trust companies out there very well placed to structure your affairs for you:  I can introduce you to most of them.


But hold on. That’s all very well for new structures. Everyone loves a new client and you won’t encounter difficulties finding eager business development people falling over themselves to secure your custom.   


But what if you already own a company, or have set up a trust or combination of the two? Who is looking after you now? I have had several approaches recently where clients feel somewhat abandoned by their corporate service provider – or worse, taken for granted. For example, has your trust company been in regular touch during the pandemic? Or have you only heard from them when the annual fees are due?   


All structures should be reviewed, at least once annually. Not only does this allow the trust company / corporate service provider to maintain contact, update information and so on but it is also a regulatory requirement in several jurisdictions. Any review should include a wider discussion that could lead to revisions to the structure or in rare cases a winding up.     


And of course therein lies the problem. Most financial sector companies rely on new business for organic growth.   Business developers are generally recognised for new business only. Few finance directors will thank sales staff for merely “reviewing” existing structures – still less should the structures requiring downsizing or even closing down. Maybe that should change.


In the meantime, step forward independent consultants who can work with the client and the current service provider to look at the existing structure, make recommendations and if necessary introduce other providers. The options are endless.


As an independent with close to forty years relevant experience, I focus on helping the client or their adviser(s) consider the best way forward once all the facts have been reviewed. In almost all cases tax advice will either be available or be required afresh. Other considerations such as banking, succession planning etc. should also be taken into account. Rather than take a commission from the underlying service providers, I charge the client modest fees based on time spent; this is agreed in advance to avoid any surprises later on.


As the pandemic continues to do its worst in some parts of the world, Europeans and others are looking forward to the lifting of restrictions. This is a good time to review your international affairs if you haven’t done so recently and certainly before the world rediscovers its hectic breathless pre-pandemic pace.


Give me a call to start the ball rolling.


28 April 2021to see the cutest animal pictures (and please I’ve seen enough home cooking results too)

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