Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Guernsey-headquartered Richmond Fiduciary Group has established its own representative office in China, in the Jing’an District of Shanghai.
Alan Chick, Chairman of Richmond said the representative office, which is to be led by Jing Zhang, is the next step in enhancing the Guernsey firm’s reputation in the Chinese marketplace.
“We decided 12 months ago that we needed a representative office so we are delighted to see it come to fruition. It gives us credibility with the people we have been meeting over the years and now that the office is opened we have seen a far greater interest in what we are doing,” he said.
“Having Zhang on the ground enables us to meet with other people who are offering complementary services, such as immigration and educational services to high-net-worth families, and therefore allows us to expand our own network and effectively have other people recommending our services," Chick added. "Having a constant presence in Shanghai also enables us to meet others in an existing business or social network at short notice to talk about mutual opportunities, which is far more convenient and productive than trying to set up meetings during our next visit, when the opportunity may have been lost."
Guernsey Finance - the promotional agency for the island’s finance industry internationally - opened a representative office in Shanghai at the end of 2007. Since then, Richmond utilized its services to build relationships in China before branching out to develop his own network of contacts across the country. In November this year, Richmond received a licence from the local authorities to establish its own representative office in Shanghai.
Fiona Le Poidevin, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance, commented: “It is extremely pleasing to hear that a Guernsey firm such as Richmond has established an office in Shanghai. Alan has been very proactive in making the most of the opportunities which Guernsey Finance has to offer and also driving forward independently to take his work in China to the next level. Having the local presence in Shanghai will not only benefit Richmond but also help to reinforce our message that Guernsey is an ideal jurisdiction to provide asset protection, succession planning and wealth planning services to Chinese high net worth individuals and families.”
The company now employs more than 30 staff worldwide, including Hao Wang, Senior Partner of RayYin & Partners, who is retained by Richmond as a consultant to explain the nuances of international trust laws to Chinese individuals and professionals. Richmond hopes to be able to announce the appointment of a similarly qualified consultant in Shanghai in the coming weeks. With offices in Beijing and Shenzhen, Wang has already presented on behalf of Richmond to the clients of one of the China’s leading trust companies and spoken on behalf of the business at the Wealth Management and Private Banking Conference in Shanghai.
Explaining the importance of this relationship, Chick observed: “It was initially difficult to explain the discretionary trust concept to professionals in the region as they were more familiar with other trust models, particularly from Caribbean jurisdictions, where the trustees simply let the clients run the underlying companies. However, this type of structure has come under the spotlight of the China tax authorities, who are effectively saying that if the Chinese client runs an offshore company personally, then it will be taxed in exactly the same way as a Chinese resident company. It means there has been a growing interest in the traditional Guernsey offering, so having Wang explaining the concept to them on the ground in China has been extremely beneficial.”