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Entering the Market in Guernsey


Entering the Market in Guernsey

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Why Expand in Guernsey?

With St Peter Ports cobbled streets and a harbour full of yachts, quaint would be an appropriate description for a first encounter with Guernsey. A cursory glance over the islands economic books however would reveal that quaintness is not Guernseys only attribute. The islands propitious taxation laws have seen the picturesque and flowery bailiwick emerge as an economic force. Financial institutions have brought millions of pounds to the islands shores and created unusual levels of wealth. With its prime location and the fact that its people have managed to maintain a level of independence from EU directives, Guernsey continues to serve an economic as well as aesthetic purpose.


Attraction for UK business


Guernseys status as a UK Crown dependency means that it has certain economic advantages. Although it is bound by protocol to adhere to EU directives on matters such as agriculture and manufacturing, when it comes to financial services, the exchange of information and taxation, Guernsey is not compelled to follow EU edicts. As a consequence, taxation for foreign companies registering a business in Guernsey remains low, with levels of income tax ranging between thirty percent and zero, dependant on the type of the business. There are no other direct or capital taxes and the level of income tax is usually fixed for five years. The trading environment is particularly attractive to the financial services industry, with banks receiving special concessions for the referral of business to the island and no legal restrictions on the transfer of profits or foreign exchange. Financial companies expanding a business in Guernsey are also permitted to operate without the same levels of transparency required in other EU countries, although this is currently being reviewed. With a reputation for a liberal economy, as a result of the cheap import and export tariffs, it is a good location for upstart companies and is also a good location for testing products, before they are launched on wider UK market.

Other advantages for investment can be derived from the size of Guernsey itself. As a small place, government departments and committees are accessible, making it easier to reach and influence economic decision makers. Guernsey, in comparison to the UK, has felt less of the negative affects of the recession, with low unemployment. Guernseys geographical location is also an attractive asset to investors, with Europe within easy reach.


Main Industries


  • Financial Services - Financial services account for more than 20% of Guernseys employment and 55% of the islands income. The global recession has had a negative effect on the sector with a 3% decrease in deposits on the island. The results indicate that despite the downturn, Guernseys attractive tax incentives continue to attract high levels of business. Private equity funds are also attracted by Guernseys light tax and death duties.
  • Tourism - The tourist industry is still a large part of the Guernsey economy. However the recent recession has affected numbers.
  • Horticulture - Guernsey is a producer of tomatoes and cut flowers, but increasing competition from cheap European suppliers has meant that the industry has been in decline for several years.

Business Opportunities

  • Product Testing and Business Startup - With a population of 60,000, Guernsey is an attractive environment for testing new products and services before they are sold to the 60 million residents of the UK. With a liberal economy and low import tariffs, Guernsey is a good location for developing a business with a view to launching a product or service in mainland Europe or the UK.

Challenges foreign companies

Although unemployment has risen slightly as a result of the recession, joblessness is still low in Guernsey. Consequently,when it comes to set up a business in Guernsey it can be difficult to recruit high quality staff on the islands.


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