Isle of Man plan to introduce Foundations

The Isle of Man’s Treasury Minister Eddie Teare has welcomed the announcement of Royal Assent to new legislation that would permit the establishment of foundations in the territory, enhancing its position as a centre for international wealth management.

The Foundations Act provides for the establishment of foundations, which are an alternative to trusts as vehicles for holding assets. While foundations resemble trusts in many respects, they also have separate legal personality, like a company. Their existence will be recorded on a public register and each must have a local registered agent accountable to the authorities.

“The Manx Foundation will be a bespoke product that will provide our financial services industry with an additional tool to open up new business opportunities,” Teare explained. “The world of wealth management is highly competitive so it is vitally important that the government keeps working in partnership with the private sector to enhance the island’s offering to international clients.”

John Rimmer, a partner at the law firm Appleby, welcomed the announcement that foundations would soon be added to Isle of Man financial services providers’ suite of offerings, stating: “The island needs to offer decent solutions for all those whose custom we want to attract. Trusts form a key part of our offering, but they are not the answer for everyone. Foundations offer greater familiarity and comfort for individuals and families from civil law countries, as well as interesting opportunities in commercial legal structures.”

“The Treasury have shown real commitment in bringing this offering to the statute books in response to an initiative from the Isle of Man branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. The Foundations Act is another good example of what cooperation between government and private sector can achieve.”

Annemarie Hughes, senior associate within Dougherty Quinn’s specialist trust team, added: “Having recently returned from the STEP Asia Conference in Singapore, where Foundations and estate planning formed a key part of that conference, I am confident that the Isle of Man’s new sophisticated yet flexible Foundation vehicle is ideally placed to service the numerous opportunities and growing demand in the international market.”