There are many jurisdictions, both onshore and offshore, in which it is possible to set up a trust. When choosing the correct jurisdiction it is important to select one which has a strong tradition of enforcing trusts, has an English Common Law system, has an established reputation for trust business, has enacted modem legislation which embraces the newer concepts of trusts - particularly asset protection - and imposes low or no tax on the trust. In the light of these requirements, the onshore jurisdictions such as the UK, USA and Australia are unsuitable because of the high tax that they would visit upon the trust structure. Other jurisdictions are not recommended because of political uncertainties e.g. Hong Kong. Others because they have only recently started to attract trust business and therefore their courts and professionals have only limited trust experience e.g. Mauritius, Cyprus, Nevis etc. Other jurisdictions, whilst being noted for their trust expertise, have not kept pace with the modem trends in legislation which give additional benefits and additional protection to trust assets - surprisingly many of the more traditional trust jurisdictions fall into this category such as Jersey and Guernsey.
There is a very wide choice of jurisdiction and only a small number of those jurisdictions are able to offer all the important elements and can therefore be said to be the best available. Although there are other jurisdictions which offer similar advantages we believe that the Turks & Caicos Islands and Isle of Man are amongst the best available.
The Turks & Caicos Islands, in particular, has initiated strong asset protection legislation and have a requirement that a professional trustee is licenced. Trust companies must therefore prove to the relevant licencing authority that they have the necessary probity, experience, financial resources, management methods and professional indemnity insurance to ensure that they can set up and administer trusts in a totally proper and professional manner. Our ICSG was amongst the first companies in their respective jurisdictions to gain licences to act as a professional trustee. The Isle of Man is expected to introduce similar licencing requirements in the near future.