Saffery Champness launches future of offshore initiative

13 Oct 2020

airplane taking off

A new report from Saffery Champness Registered Fiduciaries, published today, reveals the outlook for the global offshore industry as it heads into the next decade of the 21st century amid the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact of transformational factors such as globalisation, technological advancement and rising complexity amongst internationally mobile HNW clients and their families.

The report’s findings have been drawn from in-depth interviews held with 40 leading professional advisers across the private wealth industry, including law firms, banks and investment managers. Key findings include:

Jurisdiction of choice: Tradition is holding firm, with the Channel Islands, Cayman Islands, Switzerland and Singapore seen by respondents as the key offshore jurisdictions. The appeal of Hong Kong, originally highly cited, has begun to decline not least as a result of geo-political uncertainty in the region.

The client – service provider ecosystem: For offshore clients, service quality remains key, but issues such as regulatory compliance and data protection are high on the agenda. More in depth service provider relationships will be required in the future if firms are to meet client demands and protect themselves from anti-avoidance, anti-bribery and anti-money laundering concerns.

Planning for the future: The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a shift from a predominant focus on long term planning to short term mitigation of risk, but succession and effective planning for wealth transfer remain a key consideration. Trusts are still a cornerstone of planning, but other emerging structures such as Private Funds and Foundations are becoming popular alternatives. Advisers must be able to cultivate long term relationships based on trust with clients to help implement the most effective strategies and support families as they adapt to succeed in the new world – with issues such as environmental, social and governance (ESG) linked investing rising in prominence.

Technological transformation: Technology has a critical role to play in enabling excellent client service, particularly as services evolve to meet the needs of the next generation. But technology will be supportive and complementary rather than disruptive, with the ability to develop and retain personal relationships and empathy essential for both clients of today and tomorrow.

Commenting on the launch of the report, Managing Director of Saffery Champness Registered Fiduciaries, Nick Batiste, said:

“At a time when so much of the world is in a state of flux this report offers welcome insight into the trajectory for the offshore industry, helping guide professionals in the development of their businesses, relationships with clients and relationships with each other.

While this initiative originally began as a business strategy review for Saffery Champness, we felt strongly that the findings held real value for the wider industry and so we are pleased to share them today with our friends and colleagues in the offshore community.

The research for this report was partly conducted prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic but what has become increasingly clear over the course of recent months is that the perspectives and predictions we gathered are not just still relevant today, they are in fact now more pertinent than ever before. Even in the midst of global disruption, though, traditional values remain the bedrock of successful service provision – trust, empathy, stability and accountability are, and will remain, fundamental to the provision of offshore services and the retention of client relationships. We thank all those who have contributed so far to this initiative and look forward to continuing to work with the wider industry as we move forward together into the future of offshore.”

The full report, The Future of Offshore Services, is available to freely download at futureoffshore.gg

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