The foreign trust industry has responded with shock to the threat of the Government moving to remove its tax-free status and is gearing up for a lobbying effort it concedes will be an uphill battle.
Cone Marshall principal Geoffrey Cone, understood to be the country’s largest foreign trust provider, said last weeks’ tax announcement had come as a shock.
“We knew it was under discussion, but I don’t think anybody really expected it to happen … It’s pretty disconcerting for there to be a complete reversal of policy without a great deal of consultation.”
Robin Oliver, a former deputy commissioner of policy at Inland Revenue and founder of tax advisory firm Oliver Shaw, was blunt in describing the likely impact of the move on the trust sector.
“This effectively closes the industry down,” he said.