Why are Family Offices Relocating to the Isle of Man?

From the House of Rothschild in the 18th century to present day, every Family Office has been and remains as unique as the Ultra-High-Net-Worth (UHNW) family it represents. This fact often necessitates a structure comprised of a network of private wealth and investment planning vehicles in multiple jurisdictions around the world, with a central office to co-ordinate operations and safeguard the family’s interests.

The massive growth in private wealth over recent decades has resulted in the establishment of a significant number of Family Offices globally. It is reported that 4 in 10 Family Offices have been created since 2010, with the current total quoted as circa 20,000 in 2023.

But ‘Where is the best place to establish a Family Office?’. Choosing where the central Family Office is located can be a complex task but will primarily depend on the needs and long-term objectives of the family.

In this short article, we highlight some of the reasons why Family Offices are being attracted to the Isle of Man and how Dixcart can support this trend.

Tax Environment

Where the Family Office is established will determine the applicable tax laws and regulations. Therefore, the choice of jurisdiction will not only affect the running costs of the Family Office itself, but also impacts its ability to protect and grow wealth.

Though there may be applicable taxes where the assets or investments are located, certain income and gains can be managed efficiently where the Family Office is located in an appropriate jurisdiction. This can affect performance and return on investments.

The Isle of Man operates an attractive tax regime, offering headline rates such as:

  • Corporate Tax @ 0% for most activity
  • Income derived from Isle of Man land/property is taxed @ 20%
  • No withholding tax on most dividend and interest payments
  • Highest Rate of Personal Income Tax @ 22%
  • Elective Income Tax Cap Available @ £200,000 of Contribution
  • 0% Capital Gains Tax
  • 0% Inheritance Tax

Access to Talent

Whether it is the central or a branch office, the Family Office’s activities rely on high calibre professionals from an increasingly diverse background. It is important to select a territory with access to a pool of highly qualified and experienced professionals, and the flexibility to bring specialist personnel in from outside the jurisdiction if necessary.

The chosen staff need more than just the technical know-how, they also need to be persons with a depth of experience and integrity, whom can be relied upon to promote the best interests of the family at all times.

The Isle of Man has a diverse economy with a long heritage in financial services, with over 10,000+ professionals working across a wide range of sectors. The population is made up of a large number of leading Legal, Accounting, Fiduciary, Tax and Compliance professionals, among others. In recent years the island has also become globally renowned for its E-gaming industry and has attracted large numbers of IT and programming professionals.

The Island offers a great deal of flexibility regarding immigration and work permits, so that Family Offices and other businesses that make the Island their home can have the freedom to flourish.

Infrastructure & Services

Just as ‘no man is an island’, no Family Office operates in a silo. Wherever the Family Office is located, there should be robust infrastructure and significant professional services available to support the wealth management activities carried out – from banking to IT services and everything in between.

The Isle of Man offers Family Office’s and businesses a range of attractive features, including:

Infrastructure

  • The Isle of Man is at the forefront of connectivity, with a national project to have 99% Island-wide fibre broadband coverage by August 2024.
  • Regular travel links to 16 destinations, including London, Dublin, Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh, Belfast and more.
  • A wide range of well-funded public services available on Island, including healthcare and public transport.

Professional Services

  • All major UK banks have a presence on the Island, including Barclays, RBSI, HSBC, NatWest, Santander etc.
  • All big 4 accounting firms have a presence on the Island and a wide range of independent Tax Advisers on hand.
  • A large number of legal services providers, offering Isle of Man Advocates that are often dual Isle of Man / UK qualified.
  • Over 70 licensed and regulated Trust & Corporate Service Providers.
  • A selection of local telecoms providers, IT services and data centres
  • Investment Managers, Pension Administrators, Insurance companies and more.

Legal & Regulatory Regime

The Family Office must comply with the local laws and regulation where it is located. This will dictate aspects like the available structuring options, impact privacy and impose requirements such as reporting or licensing etc.

A robust regulatory environment is often regarded as a burden but can actually be an advantage for the effective operation of a Family Office. For instance, being linked with a globally compliant country will make transactions, banking and day-to-day administration more straightforward and reliable. Conversely, a less well-regulated jurisdiction can create operational difficulties.

The Isle of Man is an OECD whitelisted jurisdiction, placing it in a select group of leading nations for technical compliance in anti-money laundering measures.

The Island has no specific regulatory requirements relating to Family Offices per se and as such there is a high degree of freedom afforded in terms of its operation. Further, Isle of Man legal entities enjoy a high degree of privacy, and as such the family’s matters can remain confidential. In addition, Isle of Man law permits a wide variety of legal structures which can support all of the Family Office’s planning needs, including many variants of Trusts, Companies, Foundations and Partnerships.

The Island is a self-governing Crown Dependency that offers a modern Common Law regime that is distinct from that of the UK. The Island is politically stable and agnostic in its policymaking, meaning that it maintains a consistent blend of enduring business-friendly Legislation and reliable Case Law. Therefore the Isle of Man provides a natural home for almost any Family Office or business.

Culture and Quality of Life

Whilst there is a high degree of subjectivity in this area, that does not detract from the importance of the Family Office’s surrounding environment. This will impact the staff and potentially the family members who either live or spend time in the chosen jurisdiction.

The Isle of Man is an outward looking and progressive society with a multicultural population of approximately 85k and a rich and unique cultural heritage. Indeed, the 572 km2 Island can boast of being the world’s only ‘Entire Nation’ UNESCO Biosphere, owing to its culture, natural environment and approach to conservation.

Safety and quality of life are at the centre of the Isle of Man proposition. In 2022, the Chief Constables Annual Report revealed that the Island continued to be the safest place to live in the British Isles and in a HSBC 2019 report the Island was cited as the best place to live in the British Isles, and 12th best in the world.

When compared with other desirable offshore jurisdictions, like the Channel Islands or Malta, the Isle of Man offers much more open space and diversity of landscape, with windswept uplands, lush managed woodlands and sandy beaches.

You also could not discuss the Isle of Man’s culture without noting the world-famous TT Races. The races take place on a approx. 37-mile circuit over public roads. The fastest average speed of over the course is 135.452mph and reaches top speeds of over 200mph. It is a time when the whole island comes to life and is a must see for motorsports fans – to give some perspective on the scale of the event, more than 43,000 visitors came for the TT Races in 2023.

Dixcart’s Family Office Services

The Dixcart Group has itself been privately owned by the same family for over 50 years and is proudly independent. The Group has 8 offices in 7 leading jurisdictions, each of which can provide a core suite of Fiduciary services, and each having areas it particularly excels in.

Dixcart’s Isle of Man office has been delivering bespoke services to Family Offices and HNWIs since 1989 and specialises in actioning Private Client planning and Corporate Structuring for clients and their advisers.

Our mix of private ownership, high proportion of senior professionals and quality over quantity approach to business makes Dixcart ideal for those looking to establish a Family Office in the Isle of Man for long-term success.

Get in Touch

Whether you are seeking to establish a new Family Office, a branch, or are looking at relocating, please always feel free to get in touch with David Walsh at Dixcart to discuss how we can assist: advice.iom@dixcart.com

Alternatively, you can connect with David on Linkedin.

Dixcart Management (IOM) Limited is Licensed by the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority

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