‘Overwhelming’ regulation for trust companies in the spotlight

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Lawyer Patricia Wass, who was in the Island for the Jersey branch 25th anniversary conference earlier this month, is a consultant with Enable Law in Plymouth, specialising in mental capacity law and matters relating to elderly people.

Commenting on the conference, she said: ‘We have heard a lot about the overwhelming amount of regulation. But is this regulation for the sake of regulation? What purpose will it serve? And what about the security aspects, if it gets into the wrong hands?’

Ms Wass also referred to the difficulty of challenging the public perception of the trust sector. She said that the views of the general populace were influenced not only by ‘tax-dodging issues’, but also jealousy of the rich. ‘People do not understand that trusts are important in protecting wealth of future generations, for philanthropy, and the area I work in to protect vulnerable beneficiaries, the elderly and disabled people.

‘STEP can help by setting professional standards and education for our members so they can keep on top of the new regulation such as FATCA and the new Common Reporting Standard. Also, acting together as a global society gives us more clout with the authorities, with HMRC and the regulators,’ said the chairman.

Earlier, panel members discussed a consultation issued in August by the Jersey Financial Services Commission on data requirements for the new ‘risk-based’ approach to supervision. The consultation, which closed for comments last week, applies to all finance industry sectors, including the banks. If implemented, the proposals will apply from 1 January.

During the panel discussion those taking part suggested that the short time-frame would give firms little opportunity to gather the significant amount of information requested and potentially intrude into the essential business of looking
after clients.

Other regulation discussed during the conference included the new General Data Protection Regulation coming into force next year, as well as the National Risk Assessment required by the Financial Action Task Force, which starts in
the spring.

Andrew Le Brun, who is overseeing the assessment process at the Chief Minister’s Department, said the private sector would be asked to contribute wide-ranging information on the extent of business activity, as well as face-to-face interviews, in time for a World Bank workshop in April. He said the information provided by firms would not be identifiable and would be aggregated to provide an overall view, with Island authorities expected to publish an action plan responding to any risks by May 2019.

Mr Le Brun said that the information gathered during the assessment would provide evidence if questions were raised about the value of the industry.

‘I think it will be of benefit to Jersey,’ he added.

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