The Middle East is one of the most dynamic and fastest growing regions in the world. With diversifying markets and governments keen to enact strategies and legislation to bring further innovation, the Middle East is primed for further transformation and growth.
The demand for professional advisers who understand this rapidly changing environment and the opportunities and challenges it brings has never been higher or more important.
Regional clients with worldwide investments as well as international clients conducting business in the area trust Collas Crill to guide them through their business dealings and wealth planning, with expertise in Shariah-compliant products allied with decades of experience using traditional structures to meet the needs of clients wherever their focus lies.
At Collas Crill, we have established a wide range of charitable structures from local Guernsey limited by guarantee companies to large charitable foundations for some of the world's wealthiest families. Our specialist Middle Eastern team also has experience in advising regional families on the principle of Zakat.
Depending on your jurisdiction, guardianship, delegates and powers of attorney are useful tools in helping a party to deal with the financial affairs of another, whether that is paying bills, managing bank accounts or otherwise. If you need assistance dealing with your own affairs then a power of attorney may be appropriate. This will enable you to choose who can carry out any actions, and the extent to which they can take those decisions, on your behalf. If an individual can no longer handle their own affairs then a guardian or delegate will need to be appointed by the court to look after that individual's affairs. Whether you are choosing to give someone power to deal with your affairs, or you have a relative who can't deal with their own any longer, careful consideration needs to be given, and advice sought, to decide what route is most appropriate.
Demand continues to rise for legal professionals with a strong knowledge and understanding of Shariah law concepts continues, a reflection of the growth in Islamic finance products and services for institutions and private clients. Our team of experienced finance lawyers regularly works with onshore law firms, banks, managers and service providers to assist clients in the UK, the Middle East and Asia, as well as trust and corporate service providers servicing clients in this area.
Dubai has no specific pensions law as such but Dubai-based companies do need to plan for and fund end of service gratuity payments. Instead of a pension, local laws require companies to make a severance payment when employees leave the business This can be a significant liability to fund and can often come at the most unwelcome of times such as during an economic downturn. Companies who have failed to set money aside to meet these payments have historically been unable to afford to reduce headcount as they have not planned or budgeted for severance payments. Although it is difficult for some smaller firms to set money aside to fund their entire historic liability, it is never too late to start setting aside at least some provision for this potentially large liability. If done well, these end of service schemes can be self-funding and can also achieve a company's ESG aims by investing in very worthy causes both within the region and more widely.
Private trust companies (PTC) and private trustee foundations (PTF) are an ideal solution for clients wanting to divest themselves of ownership while still retaining a level of control. A PTC, or its most recent incarnation, the PTF, is a corporate vehicle which is used by a family in place of a professional trustee so that the family themselves can control the board of the trustee and thereby control the underlying assets.
Thanks to the depth of our experience and the resources of our team, we've acted on some of the largest pieces of litigation brought against directors offshore. We're well placed to deal with the 'bet the farm' proceedings that can occur in these type of disputes and have represented parties involved in intra-company disputes, including executive, non-executive and independent directors, majority and minority shareholders, companies and liquidators. We understand that shareholder disputes are often not black and white and our team finds innovative and commercial alternatives to those which the Court may offer – taking a collaborative approach with our clients to ensure that the right result is achieved.
At Collas Crill, we're used to working as part of a multi-jurisdictional team, capable of reacting and responding quickly to urgent requests for assistance with locating and freezing assets. As sophisticated defendants become more adept at dissipating assets, we've been involved in cases that created new law in the Channel Islands in relation to a party's ability to trace assets and recover their losses. With their ability to deal with complex issues the team deliver clear, commercial advice on the availability and likely success of recovery methods.
We represent trust corporations, high net worth individuals, individual trustees and beneficiaries, often dealing with novel points of law and creating new and innovative solutions to fit the needs of our clients. We work as a global team and, given the international scope of settlors, investments and assets, clients benefit from the knowledge and depth of experience of our people around the world.
We provide fast, cost-effective and sensitive advice on all types of will-related disputes during what is often an extremely upsetting and distressing time for those concerned. We regularly act on multi-party actions for both plaintiffs and defendants.
Alongside companies and wills, family trusts are still a very popular tool for estate planning and asset protection – perhaps even more so in the light of the envisaged changes to the UK non-domiciled regime. Family foundations are proving to be a popular new tool for families looking to ensure their wealth and assets are protected for future generations. We establish trusts and foundations for local and international families to preserve family businesses and ensure appropriate succession planning. We work closely with tax advisers in order to ensure that any new family trust or foundation fits with a family's overall tax position and will be a workable long term, cost efficient structure. Discretionary trusts are still the most popular but we can also advise on fixed trusts, will trusts and pension trusts.
Managing wealth, asset preservation, planning for succession and inheritance, and writing wills can be a complex and difficult experience. It's important to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your family and/or successors are taken care of. We have experts in a number of jurisdictions to assist with wills, succession planning, inheritance matters and probate.
We advise internationally based companies and trustees on the establishment and operation of employee incentive schemes, addressing issues such as the funding and structuring of awards as between sponsoring employer and trustee, treatment of dividend entitlements for share awards and the formulation of the beneficial class of employee benefit trusts having regard to international legal and taxation requirements.
The third sector is an umbrella term that covers a variety of different organisations with different legal structures and purposes, belonging neither to the public sector (the state) nor to the private sector (profit-making private enterprise). As a business, we are heavily focused on supporting third sector organisations both in our local communities on local issues and also internationally. Charities, non-profit organisations (NPOs) and voluntary organisations are increasingly required to plug the gap and perform the social and cultural functions formerly carried out by the public sector.
We provide our expertise in the area of asset finance to assist some of our clients in their business requirements. We have worked with lenders in funding acquisition of aircraft and other specialist assets. We also advise and support our finance leasing clients with their customer documentation and security requirements.
Fund financing covers a range of financing possibilities but most commonly involves capital call or subscription facilities. It is a specialist area that requires an understanding of fund structuring, the risks involved in lending to funds and specific security requirements. Underlying relationships between investors, borrowers and lenders are key to the success of the industry. We work with lenders and borrowers to maintain these relationships at every stage of the process, with our commercial, efficient and pragmatic approach to managing transactions.
Our teams have been involved in some of the most innovative finance structures, including the first public-private finance initiative in Guernsey, a care home. We regularly advise housing associations on funding their projects. Internationally we work with clients on key infrastructure projects, including power stations and railway links.
Offshore vehicles are used for a huge range of purposes either standing alone or as part of large multi-jurisdictional structures. Our highly commercial team specialises in advising clients on the most effective uses of such vehicles and their on-going operation, including normal and cellular companies as well as foundations, unit trusts, limited partnerships and limited liability partnerships. We also provide commercial contracts for clients whether bespoke documents to effect specific transactions or suites of precedent documents for company service providers or offshore groups.
The regulatory environment both in local jurisdictions and internationally, is increasingly complex and regulatory agencies are becoming more zealous in their approach to enforcement and investigations. We guide clients through the impact of enforcement of investigatory actions by regulatory bodies, offering dedicated strategic advice on a broad range of issues including enforcement notices, governance matters, complaints, insider trading and dealing and market manipulation.
We provide full support to financial services clients in all aspects of their interactions with regulators. We have achieved outstanding results for our clients through timely advice and representation in the course of an investigation and robust representation where this is required.
We provide contentious and non-contentious advice and support, primarily for local financial services businesses, in complying with sanctions and anti-money laundering regulations. Our work ranges from initial strategic advice, liaison with stakeholders including regulators, clients and investigations and prosecution authorities – to litigation, where required.
Real estate continues to dominate as an asset class for many investors. We have a strong track record in financing commercial real estate acquisitions, mainly in the UK. We act for some of the key lenders in this area. Our clients include banks, funds, alternative lenders, private investors and family offices. Locally, we have worked on the funding of some of the most prestigious buildings in our jurisdictions.
This week, the eyes of many of us around the world will be trained on Dubai as it hosts COP28. In September, the UAE Sustainable Finance Working Group put forward for...
Family businesses hold a prominent and important role in the UAE economy and, prior to this year, have done so without a flexible and robust legal framework within which to...
This article first appeared in issue 11 of Thought Leaders 4 Private Client Magazine. In this article Angela reflects on what is a significant period of accelerated growth...
Partner Angela Calnan is quoted in Businesslife's latest edition in a feature entitled 'Strategies for succession – why wealthy Middle Eastern families are increasingly...
Group Partner Mike Williams and Associate Alexander Price feature in the latest edition of Jersey First for Finance. Supported by Jersey Finance, this year's publication...
An article by Group Partner Angela Calnan has been published in eprivateclient:'Changing times, changing needs: The growing demand among Middle Eastern families for...
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Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) have been a feature of the Guernsey trust landscape for many years now. EBT is something of an umbrella term that can be used to describe lots...
Give your employees the benefits that they need to feel secure and appreciated. Collas Crill is a leading participant in the international pensions market. We have...
What is Zakat? Under Islamic law, Muslims are required to donate a certain amount of their wealth to charity. This practice, which is called Zakat, is the third of the...
Angela Calnan notes that many modern Middle Eastern families are looking offshore to avoid the forced-heirship provisions of Shari’a law. Having lived and worked in the UAE...
For several years, private trust companies have been the vehicle of choice for administering the assets of wealthy families. Many variants have emerged, as each host...
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