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Isle of Man: The Final Piece in the Private Client Jigsaw

1024 768 Abacus


The Isle of Man continues to be recognised as an international finance centre of excellence, no more recently than during the Professional Advisor International Fund and Product Awards 2015 where they won ‘Best International Finance Centre’, fending off strong competitors like Jersey, Guernsey, Dublin and Luxembourg.

Having successfully encouraged diversification of its economy over the years, the Island is currently home to a number of high performing sectors, one of the most successful being its financial services industry. This is due to having a proactive government, a robust regulatory framework and the ability to recognise that engaging with its stakeholders and forming positive relationships with professional service providers, such as Abacus, helps for a successful business environment in which all can flourish.

Abacus is one of the Island’s longest established and reputable service providers currently celebrating 40 years of excellence in providing a range of financial and professional administration services. Delivering value through the provision of corporate, trust, funds and tax solutions, our longevity and success is predominantly due to our underlying principles of integrity, independence and insight.

However, some of our success can be attributed to being ideally located in a jurisdiction that is home to a politically stable and proactive government, a robust regulatory framework and evolving industry sectors – one of its biggest and most successful being Financial Services, a sector which offers all of the pieces in the Private Client jigsaw…well almost!

What does a Private Client jigsaw look like…? Firstly, there is no ‘typical’ private client – anyone working in the financial services industry knows that each and every client has bespoke needs and requirements. However for the purpose of this piece, a private client could be an ultra-high net worth individual who has acquired his wealth through the family business which is involved in UK property development; he owns a private jet and is currently looking to purchase a yacht.

So which pieces of the jigsaw does the Isle of Man have to offer? And where does Abacus fit in?

Firstly, the Isle of Man is the perfect jurisdiction for the establishment and operation of property holding structures, offering efficient and cost-effective arrangements for all types of property acquisition through various vehicle types, ranging from private wealth structures to collective investment schemes that can facilitate a commercially effective pooling of investor capital and a convenient reporting mechanism. With the right advice and structuring it can be a tax effective solution, particularly for UK non-resident and non-domiciled individuals.
At Abacus, we establish and administer property holding structures designed to meet our client’s individual objectives and requirements and provide a range of support services to ensure that the structure is correct and runs efficiently.

Secondly, the Isle of Man is a one-stop shop for private global aviation business. Not only does it have an aircraft register which has been voted the best in the world in a survey of leading aviation lawyers from around the globe, it offers owners a neutral nationality registration prefix, a secure mortgage register and a professional infrastructure with experience in aviation finance. The Isle of Man Aircraft Registry is renowned for its high customer service ethos and its focus on safety and service…what more could you want for your aircraft?

With strong relationships across the Island’s aviation industry, we assist owners and their representatives in understanding the diverse requirements associated with owning and operating an aircraft, whilst providing tax efficient ownership structures that facilitate aircraft operation on a private and/or commercial basis.


Thirdly, is the Island’s strong history and heritage in shipping – it has one of the fastest growing ship registers in Europe and a Registry that provides a high quality and fast response customer service with a low cost scale of charges. It is also favourably on the much sought after ‘White List’ of the Paris Port State Control Memorandum of Understanding and has been a popular register for yachts, with a significant number currently waving the Isle of Man Ensign.

As a highly experienced corporate service provider, Abacus has significant experience in a wide range of international ownership structures and administration services for yacht owners, making us well placed to assist with the complexities of yacht ownership. We work with our clients to ensure that custody and management of their prized vessel stays on an even keel, from establishment of the structure through to its ongoing administration. We also offer yacht registration services but understand that choosing a flag for a vessel is very much a personal choice and that the Isle of Man may not always be the most practical or effective place for a client. It is here that our office in Malta, a jurisdiction which is growing rapidly in popularity amongst the yachting industry, can offer a full range of yacht ownership, registration and administration services in an alternative EU jurisdiction.

Another is that the Isle of Man is a cost effective alternative for private clients and their investment, fund management and administration requirements. With a well-established fund sector, supported by a range of professional service providers including investment managers, fund administrators, legal firms, custodians, auditors and fiduciaries, the Island offers a compelling and cost-effective alternative for the domicile of investment funds.

As an established fund services provider, Abacus offers a fully cross-border administration solution to fund managers and intermediaries establishing and operating fund structures for clients internationally. We deliver support by providing market leading technology customised to provide added value and improve our client’s relationship with shareholders, promoters and other service providers. Our proposition includes an efficient and effective cost base coupled with a client service ethos designed to add speed, quality and flexibility to the fund administration service.

As we come closer to completing the puzzle, we come to the Island’s Residence and Citizenship opportunities. The UK Tier 1 (Investor) Visa is aimed at High Net worth Individuals and their families who are looking to obtain alternative residence and citizenship by making a qualifying investment into the Isle of Man. An applicant must meet the eligibility and due diligence requirements and complete the application process but if successful can obtain British citizenship.

With understanding and experience of citizenship programmes, we are able to advise and assist individuals and their families wishing to apply for citizenship in an alternative EU jurisdiction. We can help clients choose an appropriate programme and country of residence (we can also offer three Maltese residence and citizenship programmes) and guide them through the application process to ensure that preparation and submission of their application is correct and processed in an expedient manner.

So now the picture is near complete, what is Abacus’ part in the puzzle? Simply, we are the final piece…we utilise the Island’s capability and apply our knowledge and experience to develop and provide solutions that keep pace with change and ever more sophisticated tax planning, to ultimately assist private clients in the effective structuring and management of their wealth. We are the piece that holds it all together and make the Private Client jigsaw complete!


Do Lawyers Need To Become All-Rounders To Breed Client Loyalty?

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In an age when clients want their lawyers to be advisers, both on a personal and business level, beyond the job at hand, and where there is enough choice for clients to ‘shop around’, how do lawyers ensure that they keep hold of their best clients for the long-term?

The problem is that most lawyers in Britain are specialists, so for example, a corporate lawyer wouldn’t prepare their client’s will or do the paperwork on a house sale.  But what this means is that the lawyer only gets to know their client to a limited extent and when a matter comes up outside of their specialism, the client is passed over to a colleague, so it could be months or even years between calls or visits.  This means that it is unlikely that you will build up a close relationship with the client and the tiniest niggle could see the client walk away from you – and the firm – for good. And more than this, because clients can’t quantify what a lawyer does for them – it’s not as if they walk out the door with a new car for their money – loyalty is hard to come by.

So what is the answer?  Is the only solution to become more like the American system and practise as many areas of law as possible, so the client can come to you for almost anything and you can build a strong and long-lasting relationship with them?  Or do you have to take a managerial role when cross-referring clients to colleagues, so the client gets the work done by someone else, but you are always present at meetings and oversee the work that is done (even if you do not specialise in that area) and keep fully up-to-speed with all the client’s dealings?

What does the future hold for the legal industry in this regard?  What do you think?

coping client

How To Cope With A Difficult Client Or Colleague

1024 768 Deborah Newton, life-coach for Clear Skies Coaching Limited


Without intending to sound pessimistic, I think I can safely predict that you will come across at least one person at work who you perceive as “difficult”. That special someone who is just downright rude, unreasonable, irritating. Someone whose life-purpose appears to be to make our lives hell. Fear not! Here are some practical and effective ways of coping with a difficult client or colleague.


Notice Notice Notice!

I encourage all my coaching clients to observe their thinking as much as possible. The more awareness you have of yourself and the people around you, the greater clarity you have. And the greater the clarity, the more likely it is that you’ll respond to others with rationality and calmness.

Are you getting caught up in endless ruminations bemoaning your own misfortunes or inadequacies? Or perhaps you’re consumed with narratives criticising your colleague/client? Do you find that one negative experience with this person triggers a downward spiral of self-criticism? Recognise thoughts for what they are: thoughts. They do not necessarily reflect reality.

What are you feeling? Self-doubt, anger or perhaps fear? Feeling one’s emotions is an important part of life; it’s what we do with them that can create problems. Once we are aware of our emotions, and we begin to understand where they come from, we are able to see the hold they can have over us.

Be assertive & manage the situation

Know when to stand up for yourself whilst maintaining your professionalism and integrity. Could you discuss with the person why you are having problems whilst presenting a solution to this? (The idea being to convey that you are trying to help them instead of running them down.) Put any agreement you make in writing and act on any steps that need to be taken. Reassess the situation at a future date to see if further steps need to be taken.

Set boundaries and manage expectations. Bending over backwards for a colleague/client is draining. Often, it will never be enough and you’ll start resenting that person. Be realistic with your time so you don’t over-promise.

Consider discussing the situation with your superiors. If you are the superior, ask yourself whether having this person in your life is necessary!

Don’t take it personally

Worrying or getting stressed about other people’s opinions of you is wasted time and energy. You will never be everyone’s cup of tea.

Avoid over-interpretation and speculation of critical comments. They’ll just make you feel worse. Just because someone says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. Remember that we each perceive the world through our own stained glass window.

Believe in your own ability and concentrate on what is “right” about you rather than what is “wrong”. And then work on any areas of self-improvement with as much kindness and patience towards yourself as you can muster. If criticism of you is justified and constructive, see this as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Find the positives

I once worked with someone who triggered insecurities and anger in me. The situation seemed increasingly impossible. One day I decided to try a different approach. Instead of focusing on the negatives about that person, I made a conscious decision to find the positives. Every night before falling asleep, I made a mental note of three things I was grateful for about my colleague. I was surprised that I could find any! The result of doing this exercise was that I experienced a noticeable shift at work. Not only was I appreciating my colleague more, I began to realise how complex and insecure this person was. My behaviour towards them became less prickly and defensive. And despite finding my colleague challenging from time to time, we became good friends.

Developing empathy

Being empathetic may be the last thing you want to do! (“Surely they don’t deserve my empathy?”) But if you can find a way to observe them from a more neutral perspective, you may find that you perceive the person in a different way. This in turn impacts on your experience with them.

Tomorrow is a new day

At the end of the day, it can be comforting to remember that life is full of challenges and that the difficult moments in our lives are not permanent. The most important thing is how we respond to these challenges. That is what will make all the difference.