Ian Le Breton © 2019-2021 Legal stuff

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Do you or your client(s) hold an offshore company or trust?

Now may be a good time to review the structure


In recent years the word “offshore” as it relates to companies and trusts has become somewhat tainted if not plain dirty in some quarters. It needn’t be so but care should be exercised now more than ever to ensure ongoing compliance with the rules. If you or your clients hold assets in an offshore structure and you wish to check on their bona fide or simply whether they remain fit for purpose, where might you start?

 

Companies, trusts, foundations and the like can be referred to generically as “structures”. They may stand alone or, more usually, form part of a wider set up. Most often, they will be managed by a Trust & Company Service Provider (“TCSP”) that may or may not be fully regulated – although the latter is increasingly unlikely, still less desirable.


There are many types of structure used for a myriad of purposes. There are over fifty jurisdictions worldwide one might include under the “offshore” category although depending on how you measure them, you could count many more.


Questions to ask will be similar in all cases regardless of the structure type and location. They might include the following (note this is not by any means an exhaustive list).


o When and why was the structure set up in the first place? For whose benefit and what was it intended to achieve?

o Do those reasons still apply today? Have the client’s circumstances changed in the meantime? Trust me - the “offshore” world has moved on in recent years. Developments include ever stricter regulation, enhanced and ongoing compliance and of course reporting to home tax authorities – just for starters.

o How much is the structure costing annually? And what has been the total cost since it was established?

o Is the perceived benefit worth the outlay?

o How does the TCSP interact with the client and/or their adviser(s)? Is there a named relationship manager in place? Are they genuinely interested in knowing a client and do they have their best interests at heart? Or are fees all they are truly bothered about?

o What interaction has been possible with the TCSP during the 18 month global pandemic – and what have been the consequences of Covid for the TCSP?

o All things considered, is there a better solution?

o Is it appropriate to maintain the status quo or even add to the structure thus ensuring it remains up to date and able to meet the client’s present requirements?

o Alternatively, does it make sense to transfer to an alternative TCSP? Change the jurisdiction or even collapse the whole structure?  


Each client will have their own needs and concerns. The above is intended to start the discussion. Independent assistance might be the answer. Read on.


I established ianlebreton.com in early 2019 after 15 years at a senior level with one of the largest TCSP groups worldwide. For more than 20 years before that I followed an international banking career that took me around the world so I’m familiar with international finance centres.


My independent review services do what they say on the tin. Totally independent I take an entirely dispassionate view of the structure under consideration. I consider the reason for its establishment originally and possible answers to the questions from the list above – and of course any others that may arise.


Individual circumstances vary and so do the reviews.  Ranging from a top level summary resulting in a concise report to an in depth study of the issues; the options are limitless.


Fees are modest ranging from a minimum GBP250 for an overall basic review / report to the in-depth work that may spread over several weeks. Fees will always be agreed in advance; in addition, the initial consultation is free of charge and without obligation on either side.


ianlebreton.com is not regulated and tax / legal advice is not provided at any time. However, an important area includes putting together and coordinating qualified individuals (or where necessary panels of experts) to provide advice and suggested solutions. Again any such involvement by others will be discussed in full, and in advance, with the client.  


Based near Bristol in England, I am able to travel to meet the client(s) or their TCSPs / advisers by arrangement. In such circumstances, travel costs and expenses are charged in addition to regular fees.


Contact me at ian@ianlebreton.com or +44 7966 155584 for an initial no-obligation consultation.


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

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