New Opening – Client Services Administrator

We are currently looking for a Client Services Administrator to join our growing team. If you are interesting in joining Parish Group, please send your CV to andy@parish-group.com

We are delighted to announce some exciting news within Parish Group due to some recent changes.

Andy Whalley will be taking over the leadership of Parish Group as Managing Director from the middle of October, and Arran and Charlie will be stepping away from the business to spend their time on family and personal projects.

Andy is a Chartered Accountant with over 20 years’ experience in the finance industry. Before joining Parish Group in July 2020, he was a board member of another medium sized fiduciary in Guernsey for over 10 years.

Whilst we’ll all miss Arran and Charlie’s presence in the business, for you, our clients, suppliers and introducers, it will be very much business as usual. The same great service from our friendly, professional and approachable team. The client services team of Neal Bewey, Kevin Allan, Kristy-Leigh Hedley and Aimee Rolf will be there to assist with all administration matters. Paul Robinson continues as Finance Director and leads the accounting team with Tonderai Kahuni and Peter Snell assisting him.

Should you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
We look forward to our continued journey with you.

Kind Regards,
The Parish Group Board

What is Moneyval?

MONEYVAL is a permanent monitoring body of the Council of Europe entrusted with the task of assessing compliance with the principal international standards to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism and the effectiveness of their implementation, as well as with the task of making recommendations to national authorities in respect of necessary improvements to their systems. Through a dynamic process of mutual evaluations, peer review and regular follow-up of its reports, MONEYVAL aims to improve the capacities of national authorities to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism more effectively.

MONEYVAL reports examine the efficiency of measures taken to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism in the legislative, financial regulatory, law enforcement and judicial sectors, with recommendations made to improve the domestic system to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Moneyval’s most recent findings in Guernsey

In January 2016, Moneyval issued a report on its assessment of the Bailiwick’s anti-money laundering and countering the finance of terrorism (AML/CFT) controls. The report confirmed that the jurisdiction had made substantial progress in its compliance with increasing regulatory standards and was “largely compliant” with international money laundering guidelines. Overall Guernsey performed very well in the 2016 Moneyval onsite visit and the report reflected this. However, Moneyval also found that “the relatively limited number of cases involving third party [money laundering] by participants of the financial industry and the amounts of property laundered and confiscated. indicates room for more effective application of [money laundering] provisions”. This in laymans terms translates as the regulator has not demonstrated a sufficient number of enforcement actions and prosecutions within industry for non-compliance or deficiencies.

The result of these findings saw an increased effort in the regulator’s approach to enforcement with new guidance issued soon afterwards which included a commitment to a risk based approach to supervision. Several notable enforcement cases ensued in order to address the Moneyval perceived deficiency in enforcement cases, which have been closely followed by industry.

The GFSC’s post-2016 public statements demonstrate an increase in the frequency and severity of sanctions along with increased maximum financial penalties being available to the regulator. Whilst failings have been identified by the GFSC at certain firms, most have not resulted in financial crime offences, which serves to demonstrate that sanctions are to be expected even where financial crime has not occurred.

It is expected that enforcement activity will continue to increase in order to demonstrate that Guernsey has a commitment to regulation in accordance with developing international standards.

Moneyval return to Guernsey for its next evaluation round in 2023/2024

In February 2021 Kevin Davis was appointed as the Director of Economic Crime & Money Laundering to provide “strategic and operational leadership” ahead of Guernsey’s forthcoming MONEYVAL inspection.

He has been called upon to apply his extensive experience in combatting serious, complex economic crime, having previously led UK enforcement teams in delivering significant successful prosecutions.

It is hoped that Kevin’s extensive experience will assist in ensuring Guernsey is prepared to achieve a positive outcome from the forthcoming Moneyval assessement.

For those who are keen to know more about the Moneyval assessment, GAT and STEP Guernsey are holding an event presented by Richard Walker, Director of Financial Crime Policy at the States of Guernsey which will address what to expect from the upcoming Moneyval visit.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/gatstep-event-moneyval-20232024-what-to-expect-tickets-164033445451

From 1st July 2021 all Partnerships will be considered in scope for economic substance regulations (subject to a few exemptions).

Legislation and updated guidance is expected to be published in due course and is currently under review.

Similar to companies, whether the Partnership carries out any relevant activities and whether it receives income from those relevant activities during the financial period will determine whether it will need to comply with the economic substance regulations.

The relevant activities in question are:

  • Fund management
  • Finance and leasing
  • Headquartering
  • Distribution and Service Centres
  • Banking
  • Insurance
  • Shipping
  • Pure Equity Holding
  • Intellectual Property

In scope Partnerships will need to will need to demonstrate that they:

  • Are directed and managed in Guernsey
  • Conduct all core income generating activities in Guernsey
  • Have sufficient qualified personnel, a physical presence and adequate operating expenditure in Guernsey

To determine whether a partnership is directed and managed in Guernsey the following definition has been add to the regulations to assist with this.

“A partnership’s place of effective management is the place where key management and commercial decisions that are necessary for the conduct of the partnership’s business as a whole are in substance made”.

When do the economic substance regulations apply to partnerships?

For partnerships existing on 30 June 2021, these economic substance rules will apply to the first financial period commencing on or after 1 January 2022.

For partnerships established from 1 July 2021 onwards, these economic substance rules will apply to every financial period of the partnership.

Tax returns for Partnerships

Partnerships have not previously needed to submit a tax return in Guernsey, however now they are in scope for economic substance they will be required to register with Guernsey Revenue Service and complete a tax return annually. They must also produce financial statements and these will need to be filed with the tax return. The tax return will collect data on the applicability of the economic substance regulations and evidence will need to be reported to demonstrate they are compliant.

Penalties for non-compliance with Economic Substance Regulations

Similar to Companies, failure to report or to meet the substance requirements regulations will result in financial penalties, automatic exchange of information with other tax authorities where relevant and eventual ‘strike-off’ of the Partnership should non-compliance continue.

Needless to say an understanding of the rules, regulations and legislation when administering any entity is becoming increasingly important. Parish Group endeavour to stay abreast of all the changes and bring them to our clients’ attention at the earliest opportunity where they apply. We help guide our clients in today’s complex world of compliance with many different regulations and whilst we do not give specific advice we can recommend an appropriate tax advisory firm to assist should this be necessary.

Traffic light travel is becoming the new normal. On Friday 21st May the Civil Contingency Authority (CCA) in Guernsey announced that Guernsey would be adopting a traffic light system for travel to the island from 1st July which would be equivalent to the UK system. This is welcome news to the whole community especially business travellers and marks some form of return to normality.

Whilst Guernsey has lived a ‘safe’ but very isolated existence over the last 14 months the severely restricted travel and lengthy isolation periods have all but stopped any kind of business travel to and from the island. Guernsey has slowly been opening up to the UK since April this year with some fairly complicated isolation and testing rules and a ‘travel tracker’ which requires completion for 14 days prior to entry to the island. You need to be rather desperate to get to the island to be bothered with all the requirements. It has really only been islanders who have needed to travel for medical or compassionate reasons who have travelled to and from the island since the pandemic began. Even those who have wanted to travel have been met with very few transport options, limited flights and ferry journeys available to book and a marked increase in fares.

Guernsey’s vaccination programme has been very successful with an equivalent percentage vaccinated to the UK but an even greater uptake amongst the community with very few people refusing the vaccine. I’m confident we will be one of the most protected places in the world once the vaccination programme has been offered to all.

Islanders will be very grateful for the return of more normal travel aligned with the UK traffic light system which will remove much of the confusion and assist with being able to meet up for both leisure and business purposes. The rest of the world will hopefully begin to earn green country status as they are able to achieve vaccine rollout and the COVID-19 prevalence reduces.

Many business travellers will return to our shores for usual board meetings held in person and ensuring the economic substance requirements are duly met. We will be delighted to welcome our clients back to the island and will enjoy the freedom to meet up with clients worldwide in due course. It is time to enjoy a less isolated island life once again.

It has been commonplace for many years in Guernsey for properties, especially higher value properties, to be owned via a Guernsey registered company. There was a distinct advantage to this in that sales could be achieved via a share transfer rather than a physical conveyance of the property itself. This enabled purchasers to avoid paying the document duty on the sale of a property. The document duty is a significant cost especially on more expensive properties. It is charged on a progressive scale of 2.25% for properties valued up to £250,000, climbing to 5.5% of the total property value on properties over £2 Million. This loophole in the law was finally closed in 2017 and it is no longer possible to avoid the document duty by selling a property via a share transfer. As such there is now little need for the Company in which the property is owned where the property is lived in by the owners and there is no commercial element e.g. property rental.

The reasons to ‘de-envelope’ now are threefold:

 1. Responsibility and administration of running a Limited Company.

A company requires maintenance in the form of annual validations, the production of annual financial statements and submission of a corporate tax return not to mention ensuring the corporate books and records are kept in good order and up to date at the Company’s registered office address. The administrative burden and responsibility is disproportionate where a company’s sole purpose is to own the property in which you reside in and there is no longer any clear benefits to this setup.

2. Cost of running a Limited Company

Another reason to move your house into your personal name(s) is so you don’t have to pay the Annual Validation fees every year (£250) to keep the company on the register of Companies. Late filings with the Guernsey Registry and the Guernsey Revenue Service, for late tax returns, will usually result in fines and penalties. You would be surprised by how many local people get caught out each year by forgetting to make the annual validation filing or filing a late tax return.

3. Reduction in probate fees

There is also another key benefit in de-enveloping your property which comes about on your death. Guernsey residents will usually have a will of realty (if he/she owns real estate in their own name) and a will of personalty which covers all other moveable assets that the person owns. Upon your death probate will need to be sought at the Ecclesiastical Court in Guernsey.

The Ecclesiastical Court charges its fees based on the value of the estate of personalty at the date of death. The value of the estate is always taken as the gross value (i.e. before deduction of debts and liabilities) of worldwide assets. Real estate situate in the Bailiwick of Guernsey is not included in the value of the estate.

Therefore if your property is held in your own name then there will be no probate fees to pay on the value. Whereas if your Guernsey property remains in a company, the shares of that company form part of your ‘personalty’ so is included in the probate fees calculated on your worldwide estate.

So, I want to de-envelope my property – what are my next steps?

You will need to formally convey your property from the company into your own name(s) which must be done by a Guernsey advocate. This is not particularly expensive and the benefits of doing so will usually outweigh the risks of not.

Once the property has been conveyed out of the company, provided there are no other assets or liabilities held within the company a simple strike off of the Company can be achieved within a few months. A voluntary strike off procedure exists in Guernsey company law to allow directors to properly dispose of Companies with no assets or liabilities that are no longer required. Provided the voluntary strike off has been submitted prior to the annual validation period then there is no annual validation fee to pay.

The annual validation period for companies has been moved this year (and for subsequent years) to 1st June to 31st July. Therefore there is still sufficient time to de-envelope before the annual validation period deadline thus saving this year‘s annual validation fee.

Ensure you get a Will of Realty in place to cover off this real estate asset which is now in your personal name. Alternatively get your existing Will of Realty reviewed and updated where necessary. A Guernsey advocate specialising in wills and estates will be able to assist with this.

Should you need any assistance with taking care of the administration of any Guernsey companies that you own please give us a call and we’ll be happy to assist and provide you with a no obligation quote.

Guernsey has suffered at the hands of COVID-19 similar to our global counterparts. However, Guernsey’s motivated and diligent community have pulled together throughout this pandemic to date to ensure the island remains a safe and prosperous island bailiwick in which to live and work.

The response of The States of Guernsey and our Guernsey public has been organised, decisive and cooperative and continues to be so. The #GuernseyTogether movement was born during the pandemic and was embraced by all in our community. Guernsey being an island, was able to restrict travel and impose strict self-isolation regulations and testing on arrival to the island. The test, track and trace programme left no stone unturned and this was fundamental in enabling the island to eliminate COVID from the population in May 2020, allowing our local lockdown restrictions and our beautiful island to be ‘business as usual‘ from June last year. We had no masks and no social distancing and really were in what became referred to locally as our ‘Bailiwick Bubble’, allowing staycations on island and with our Bailiwick islands of Herm, Sark and Alderney. Our island economy generously committed to spending their money locally which in turn helped our retail, construction and hospitality sectors to stem the bleeding and recover much of their lost earnings. Getting a table at one of Guernsey’s highly acclaimed seafood restaurants was harder than ever in summer 2020.

The business community and Guernsey’s economy bounced back during summer 2020 and many businesses saw a real recovery of earnings which had been depleted during the lockdown period. The finance sector successfully implemented disaster recovery procedures from the beginning and it was largely business as usual whilst working from home throughout the pandemic. As we were able to operate without restrictions within our island bubble, schools were able to be fully open, all extra-curricular activities went ahead and this allowed working parents to efficiently work without the additional burden of home schooling and childcare. Christmas came and went and parties and socialising continued as usual.

Unfortunately Guernsey couldn’t keep COVID out permanently and we suffered a second wave of infections, the new highly transmissible Kent variant, from an unknown source and as a result a swiftly implemented island-wide lockdown on 23rd January 2021. As a community we knew what to do having been here before and everyone pulled together to make sure we could recover from this lockdown swiftly and stronger than ever. As I write this article we have again successfully managed to all but eliminate the virus from the island and are on track to fully reopen on Monday 22nd March.

The vaccination programme in Guernsey began before Christmas 2020 and thanks to our strong relationship with the UK, we are able to keep pace with the vaccine rollout there and in fact, due to the reduced logistical challenge of the vaccine rollout owing to our small size, we are one of the front runners globally in vaccinated proportion of the population. The uptake of vaccine here has been phenomenal, all of us recognising and taking responsibility for the small part each of us can play in protecting not only ourselves but one another.

It is this cooperative and community minded spirit that allows Guernsey and its business community to continue to punch above its weight in the global economy. Our government is nimble and proactive and overwhelmingly supported by our community, a true benefit of our small size and profitable economy. Guernsey will come out of this challenge as it does with so many other challenges it faces, stronger, wiser and more resilient than ever before.

Data Protection has been a hot topic in Guernsey as well as worldwide over the last few years. Does anyone really know what it means or the implications? We all know that we need to ‘consent‘ to just about everything concerning our personal data these days in order to carry out the simplest of tasks, yet we still seem to receive a barrage of spam e-mails and unwarranted approaches from third parties despite this supposedly more regulated data environment. Is there no end to the red tape?

In a word ‘NO‘. It‘s only going to get worse. From 1st January 2021 there is a requirement in Guernsey to hold a data protection license for all incorporated and unincorporated organisations should you hold or process any data whatsoever. This can be as simple as names and addresses. This will cover all companies, sole traders, charities, non-profit organisations, clubs, church groups, PTA‘s, music groups, yoga groups etc. – the list goes on. Almost everyone will need to register and purchase a license for the princely sum of £50 which is renewable annually between 1st January and 28th February each year.

Is this a revenue generating exercise I hear you ask? Well, yes it is required to fund the Office of the Data Protection Authority (ODPA) in Guernsey which has been tasked by the States of Guernsey with becoming self funding. There is no opt out so I‘m afraid it is what it is and we all must comply. Any previous exemptions will now fall away except for a very small exemption for using personal data for purely domestic/household purposes.

So, what do I need to do?

Before 28th February 2021 you will need to register for a data protection licence with the ODPA in Guernsey and pay the requisite fee. This can be done directly or by using a Levy Collection Agent (LCA) such as a corporate services provider in Guernsey to do this on your behalf.

If you are already registered you will need to renew your existing licence by 28th February 2021 (your previous renewal date is no longer relevant) and pay the requisite fee. Again an LCA can do this on your behalf.

You can register online at www.odpa.gg

The fee paid is based on how many full-time equivalent employees you have:

  • £2,000/year for organisations with 50 or more full time equivalent (FTE) staff
  • £50/year for all other organisations
  • £0/year for registered charities and not-for-profit organisations

Registering with the ODPA does not make you compliant with the law. This is achieved by how you treat people’s data that you hold ensuring it is not unlawfully held, processed or shared.

It is intended that by meeting these duties organisations will benefit directly by building trust and confidence with their customers, service users, staff and any other people whose data they use. And ultimately it should help to reduce data harms that can damage people’s lives, careers, and reputations.

Parish Group is a registered LCA and is able to register with the ODPA on behalf of our clients reducing their administrative burden. This is one of the many corporate services we can assist with to ensure your corporate structures are compliant with the laws in Guernsey and follow best practice. Let the red tape be our problem, not yours!

During 2020 Guernsey‘s government worked hard to secure Guernsey‘s future relationship with the EU as part of the UK/EU trade deal after Brexit.
Successful negotiations have been reached in the following areas:

  • Continuation of our common travel area
  • A new customs agreement with the UK allowing the free flow of goods between Guernsey and UK
  • Membership of the World Trade Organisation has been extended to Guernsey
  • Confirmed preferential tariffs with Free Trade Agreement Partners as in the UK
  • Reaffirmation from the UK Government that it will not legislate for the Bailiwick of Guernsey without its express consent
  • Data protection equivalence
  • Third country recognition in the trade of animal products
  • Extension of the Bailiwick‘s territorial sea
  • No change in the Bailiwick‘s relationship with the EU as a third country for services

Guernsey‘s government approved the UK‘s 24th December deal on 27th December 2020.

The Bailiwick‘s Protocol 3 arrangement with the EU was primarily concerned with the sale of goods, whereas the Bailiwick has always been recognized as a third country for sale of services. This will continue and there will be no change providing reassurance of continuity in the finance sector. This third country status also extends to Guernsey‘s data protection legislation which again means that Guernsey is in a strong position and there will be no changes in this area.

EU/EEA/Swiss Nationals wishing to live and work in Guernsey will need to apply for a work permit and a VISA from 1st January 2021. British citizens will form part of the common travel area and will not require a VISA but will need a work permit as has previously been the case.

The Bailiwick will form part of a single British Islands customs territory – so alas no more duty free!

Guernsey‘s government is working with the Department for International Trade in the UK to ensure that the Bailiwick is represented in any trade deals that the UK makes with rest of world free trade agreements. For example deals with countries such as New Zealand, Australia and the USA.

Post Brexit, Guernsey‘s financial services industry is in a strong, secure position, largely due to its continuing third country status. Business as usual then in this wonderful relatively COVID-free island. 2021 is looking to be a favourable year for Guernsey and its islands.

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