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Jersey’s philanthropy goal

Business | Published:

THE number of global ultra-wealthy people, with a net worth of $30m or more, is forecast to grow to 299,000 by 2021.

Bedell Cristin partner Zillah Howard

That is an increase of 72,550 since 2016, according to specialist information provider Wealth-X.

Much of that $35.7trn in UHW wealth will be given away, and Jersey’s finance industry is busy positioning itself to become a centre of excellence for philanthropy including increasing the use of foundations and a new charities law.

Already a third of the 350 or so foundations established in the Island are used for philanthropy, as they offer different characteristics to the widely used trust.

Trusts have been a crucial part of the finance sector for decades, but some wealthy clients prefer the corporate structure of a foundation.

Bedell Cristin partner Zillah Howard said that the introduction of the foundations law in 2009 added choice and did not replace the use of trusts – and there were still 836 regulated trust companies in Jersey.

‘Trusts and foundations can both be established for purposes which are technically charitable or, alternatively, for purposes which are more broadly philanthropic,’ Ms Howard said. ‘This is important, as it means that a philanthropist can set up a structure to address causes which he or she is passionate about, whatever they might be.’

A Jersey foundation also offers flexibility, as a philanthropist can be one of the council members of a foundation or on the distributions committee which decides on donations. Alternatively, the philanthropist could be the guardian, ensuring that the foundation’s council discharges its function as envisaged.

‘Each family’s approach to philanthropy can be very personal, with some families being keen to publicise their giving, while others prefer anonymity,’ Ms Howard said. ‘This is recognised by the Charities (Jersey) Law 2014, which provides an innovative system of registration for charities.’

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The final details of this law were recently approved by the States and most of the law will come into effect on May 1, when there will be two categories of registration, one including a public register.

‘With the introduction of this innovative system of registration for charities, Jersey is well positioned to operate as a centre of excellence for philanthropic wealth structuring,’ Ms Howard said.

Ogier partner James Campbell said that the new law was already having an impact and generating interest.

‘It will be a key component of Jersey’s offering… for philanthropic wealth management,’ he said.

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