Jersey has not been put on the European Union’s tax haven blacklist, but it is still among 47 countries that were put on notice.
This is an attempt by the EU to clamp down on tax avoidance that takes away hundreds of billions of pounds in revenue every year.
After the release of the Paradise Papers, the role of British overseas territories and crown dependencies has come under even closer scrutiny, but for those servicing ultra high net worth clients on the island, the picture is very different.
‘To be honest I think the Paradise Papers have had less impact on us than the Panama Papers,’ said Ana Ventura, partner and head of family office (Jersey) at Stonehage Fleming.
‘With the Panama Papers it was the first of its kind. We had a number of questions in ensuring there were no data breaches. But this time around people have been less open about concerns. We allayed a lot of fears before. We make we invest in ensuring that our computer systems are foolproof and we have a team of IT specialists.’
She added that if there is more coming out of the Paradise Papers however, there will be concerns of a contagion effect – which is a constant pressure the island faces from being described as a tax haven.
The bigger concern for private offices in Jersey is regulation and how the island ‘has been cooperating with the increase in tax transparency across the world and how compliant it is in terms of exchange of information’.
She said: ‘We are constantly being questioned as to what Jersey is doing. It’s actually fortuitous a few weeks ago that the OECD published a report confirming that Jersey had been awarded the standard of excellence in terms of being totally compliant on transparency and exchange of information on tax matters.
‘In 2004 when the last review was carried out it was largely compliant so having such an increase in the rating highlights how strong a jurisdiction it is.’
Ventura, after joining the company in 2002, relocated to Stonehage Fleming's Jersey office in 2016 to develop relationships with UHNW clients and grow the business. She is now responsible for about nine to 10 UHNW families and argues that Jersey is increasingly becoming more attractive for such people.
This is mainly because of the res non-dom rules that were introduced in the UK which is leading people to look for other jurisdictions to live in.
‘Jersey being so close to the UK and having English as a main language and offering a very high quality of life has attracted a number of people. It does offer favourable tax treatment to UHNW people and gives them a good quality of life. There is a good medical system and good connections and good schools.'