We’re hampered by far too many rules, says trust head

THE head of a major trust group says that the industry is bogged down in a quagmire of policies, codes and laws which make business both difficult and expensive.

Basel Group chief executive Julie Coward
Basel Group chief executive Julie Coward

THE head of a major trust group says that the industry is bogged down in a quagmire of policies, codes and laws which make business both difficult and expensive.

Julie Coward, chief executive of the Basel Group, says that work needs to be done to reduce the burden on firms competing for overseas business.

She has warned that clients will leave Jersey if there continues to be constant questioning and intrusion into their private lives.

And she urged the Island’s financial regulator to encourage the adoption of an approach whereby the individual client is looked at more than the jurisdiction where they are from.

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Comments for: "We’re hampered by far too many rules, says trust head"

Christophe La Maison

There's nothing wrong with an annual request to a client to update the KYC information Julie. Do you have many East European and Middle East clients who object to this reasonable level of checking then?


So Jersey should welcome anyone from anywhere -provided they have loads of £/$s.

This lead to many a court case in the past if I remember.

Jersey's reputation has been tarnished recently by several wheezes, do we want more publicity by dealing with some of the less savoury people out there?


What Ms Coward is saying is just because a client maybe domiciled is what is deemed as a high risk jurisdiction, it doesn't mean that they themselves are high risk. There are many high risk individuals living in low rush, highly compliant jurisdictions. It goes both ways. Case by case is the answer.

James Wiley

Well we have three choices:

1) Be an offshore finance centre with the same high level of secrecy as other jurisdictions, even Switzerland is losing clients since they entered into information sharing agreements with EU nations. Singapore is now the number one destination for rich people's money and they have absolute secrecy.

2) Not be an offshore finance centre but then we need to drastically cut back on the civil service because who is going to pay for it unless the rich people from overseas do?

3) I say go with secrecy and keep the money and still cut back on the communist style bureaucracy we have here.

But you can only choose one and that choice cannot be the JFSC's preference, the risk free option, which is to increase the number of people employed by the JFSC and increase its budget whilst at the same time push all the existing trusts out of Jersey and prevent any new clients from putting their money in Jersey.

A civil servants wet dream, ten thousand officials, with absolutely no work to do. What a model of efficiency that would be.


There is a chorus of trust company owners who are worried about the future.

New rivals appear in the Philippines , and other unexpected low cost areas every year.

We are killing the golden goose as civil servants boast about their controls.


Totally Agree. We shouldnt tarnish all our customers with the same brush just because of where they are domiciled.

Judge Jeffries

The regulators are self -perpetuating individuals who would otherwise have nothing else to do. They carve out nice little niches for themselves and justify their existence by expanding their roles into fiefdoms. They rely on management speak and charge recipients of their guidance vast sums for interpreting the rules that they have put in place. They bamboozle and frustrate business.They generate nothing except hot air and produce little except paper. Jersey possesses the finest examples of these useless but expensive articles.

Charles Deekee Dee

All those who complain about the JFSC are either foolish or very brave and have decided their career will take them off the island. Resistance to the avalanche of doctrinal procedures is useless you will be crushed under a relentless inspection regime that will drive your business into the ground and then banned from the industry on the basis of not having reviewed all your CDD on each and every client at least twice a year. Maybe you did not properly accrue your costs or did not account for deferred income in accordance with the rules when you produced your ANLA. Errors of more than .1% will be punished severely.

Be warned, your papers must be in order at all times unt der rugulator ist die Judge, Jury and Executioner of all regulated businesses.

Ziek Heil

Judge Jeffries Supporter

Everybody with half a brain agrees with the sentiments of Julie Coward (what does that say about poor Christophe La Maison?).

She deserves support from the heads of all other financial services businesses. However, she won't get it. Most are too frightened to put their heads above the parapet; they know how vindictive the Jersey regulators can be if questioned to any degree. The rest are the major law firms and banks who no matter what amount of laundering goes on through their offices are impervious to either inspection or punishment from the Jersey Financial Services Commission.

The billions that have been laundered by Nigerian dictators, Russian mafia, South American Mayors etc. must all obviously been placed in banks and almost certainly via the major law firms in Jersey.

Any one seen or heard of any prosecutions of them?

I wouldn't bother holding your breath.

But let one small trust company get some small timer's utility bill filed improperly, then the full weight of the regulators will fall heavily upon them. Meanwhile the regulators continue to trumpet to all and sundry how wonderful they are.

In the immortal words of Richard Littlejohn - "You couldn't make it up".

Chip on shoulder?

Err, wrong, actually, Local law firms are subject to equivalent AML requirements. And most have trust/fund admin businesses attached to them that are subject to the same requirements as others anyway.

And do you really think a law firm is involved and "places" clients when a non-Jersey person wants to set up a Jersey bank account? As a lawyer I only wish that were the case. Very little value to be added by us there.

Perhaps, just perhaps, as lawyers, we have better compliance standards and a better understanding of the consequences when standards are not upheld? Hence fewer law firm prosecutions (so far!)

James Wiley

That's rubbish, the only difference is that you have your own advocates who will stand in Court for free and simply run up the legal cost to the JFSC until they have no budget left. Even the JFSC are not that stupid.

Best rating

Sadly gentleman, whilst the arrogant minority continue to let the Trust Industry down the JFSC will not settle that their rules, codes and legislation are unnecessary. The industry had serious failings in its understanding and robustness in dealing with errant clients and has paid a price.

However as a balanced view the JFSC cannot expect site visits to be considered fair when it spends 3 days at a small trust company and 3 days at a large company.

If you sit behind a desk and club together that arguing the toss with the JFSC with Bedford Row and legal counsel you are only in denial as to the true state of your quality of administration, risk management, compliance and regularity of tax advice. Unfortunately the industry is cultural arrogant and run by too many spiffs and toffs.

I am not denying their are draconian elements to the JFSC but I am sure that placing the blame firmly on their shoulders places even more heads in the clouds.


Jersey could well be done for if people like this don't get a shot at changing our regulations. Let us be honest, if it wasn't for the UK we would not be the number one offshore center in the world, which is all that is saving our butt at the moment. Yes the UK have now shut the door on us and yes we can go to Asia & Africa for new business but how long will it last before other jurisdictions, closer to them i.e. Dubai, start to rise and take business away from us. People prefer to use local where possible and closer matching time frames, Hong Kong for example close as we get into work and open as we go home, that is a day's delay on everything. Not only that but these rules and regulations at every turn means our fees are through the roof. The future is not looking good right now, we need to turn the corner or Jersey could become a Ghost town. PLEASE do not build those offices on the Water Front just yet.


Well actually Hong Kong workers put Jersey ones to shame as they tend to work until late so their open for a few hours when we are. Not sure how they open when we go home though, unless of course Jersey workers stay open until midnight.


Nick, fair point - it was a general point I was trying to make, should have been more accurate I guess. take it you agree with the main point I was trying to make though.

Parktown Prawn


"Well actually Hong Kong workers put Jersey ones to shame as they tend to work until late"

That is a sweeping statement!

Do you know the contractual hours and pay for an average HK worker? Do you even know that for a Jersey worker....and do you know how much overtime the average Jersey worker does?

You may have people in your office who do the minimum, but that is certainly not the case in many others....believe me!

I have worked in a few offices where (usually unpaid) overtime is the norm and people often work weekends.

Please stop slagging off the Jersey worker because of a minority who have no ambition or drive when there are so many that work their butts off!


Beware, you may get more than you realise. Reducing regulatory powers can and probably will be held up in the wider world as another Tax Haven attempt to promote business unfairly which may steer business away from the island.

James Wiley

We are a tax haven, we should be proud of it. We are helping good men to battle the tyranny and oppression of the government bureaucracies in their own land. We fight on the side of right against the injustice of government.

Parktown Prawn


That is the biggest load of rubbish I think I have ever read on these forums!!

Man, you are one troubled person....

gino risoli

its the way of the world. Jersey has had fifty years of good times now change is afoot.

question is, are we ready?

M. Peirson

Oppression, duress, uber compliance are the enemies of entrepôt. Where this style of stifle is allowed to run riot, the chances of financial survival dwiindle.

The financial sector in Jersey is said to represent About 90% of the Jersey wealth. How wiil Jersey survive without this income.? Costs go on 24/7 and income is needed to cover these osts. It should not be beyond the wit of man to isolate real money laundering from supposed money laundering. The proclaimed wish for transparency will be easily achieved when there is nothing to be

Other jurisdictions must be rejoicing in the streets as the market leaders of the last 60 years or so are ordered to indlge in this ritual falling on the sword

How long do tthe commissioners propose to wait before it is too late?

The ghost of Major Peirson, Royal Square.

M Peirson

Over 200 years ago when I was fighting to save Jersey from the insurgents, I was pleased to have the facility of a trust in which to leave my modest assets for the benefit of the family in the event of my death. So did many others. But now,the facility of the trust is being blighted by waves of supposition along with smears of innuendo, rather than pobative evidence. There can be a doubtful apple in any barrel, but this does not mean that every apple should be tested to extinction. On behalf of later generations, could the powers that be, consider such guide words as discretion, humanity, and above all fairness and reasonableness?

M. Peirson