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‘Distracting’ FATCA agreement brings certainty for Guernsey financial services

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Guernsey’s FATCA agreement will bring certainty for the financial services industry in the island and its clients, according to Michael Betley, executive group chairman of Trust Corporation.

Betley (pictured), whose business has a number of US clients, says the FATCA initiative had been “enormously distracting and costly for industry” and was a further unwelcome burden of doing international business.
 
But, he says: “It is a relief that we have finally signed the US inter-governmental agreement, after many months of waiting. It has been a hard slog but at least we can now plan with a greater degree of certainty.
 
“At least it is non-discriminatory in the sense that it affects all businesses worldwide who undertake financial transactions with the US or act for US persons.”
 
Betley believes that the co-operative approach between the Crown Dependencies will pay dividends and avoid future uncertainty where there are pan-island client relationships.
 
“The islands have been working hard together to produce some common guidance on the interpretation and management of both the UK and US FATCA process and it is hoped that these guidance notes, which are being finalised, will be released very shortly for wider consultation,” he says.
 
Betley recognises that initiatives such as FATCA were part of the new landscape for doing international business.
 
“Guernsey has accepted that as an island we wish to be part of a more compliant and transparent worldwide financial system and like it or not FATCA is part of that,” he says. “We will not be able to pause for breath for too long as it is likely that similar multilateral initiatives will be following shortly.”

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