This publication recently covered the launch of the Bahamas Executive Entity – or “BEE” – which helped put this jurisdiction in the limelight. We caught up with Andrew Law, founder and chief executive of the International Protector Group and Kevin Clerey, managing director, IPG Switzerland, to talk about the Bahamas.
Could you both tell us a bit about yourselves and background?
Andrew Law: Before founding IPG seven years ago in Nassau I worked for some twenty-five years in the international fiduciary services industry. Most of my experience was gained in Guernsey, Switzerland and the Bahamas while working for Credit Suisse. At the moment, I serve on a number of government and private sector industry working groups which were established by the Bahamas Financial Services Board, and I have previously been chairman of the Association of International Banks and Trust Companies in The Bahamas. I am British, but love living out here with my family in the Bahamas.
Kevin Clerey: I met Andrew when we both worked with Credit Suisse – with my time there stacking up to over 25 years in total. I've lived in Switzerland for the last thirteen years, and I currently oversee IPG's development in Europe, helping with the launch of the new Swiss office earlier this year in Zurich and with supporting IPG’s Bahamas Executive Entity services in the wealth management market.
Why set up IPG? What were the particular circumstances/factors that led you to found it?
Andrew Law: I set up IPG in 2005, with the intention of filling a vital niche in estate planning by providing professional protector and related services to trusts and foundations. It was a time of marked expansion of the trust industry into offshore centres and we could see a lot of opportunities to address new issues which were beginning to become clear within the industry.
Kevin Clerey: Exactly. One fundamental issue was where trustees were based in a remote jurisdiction too far away to be involved closely in the needs of the beneficiaries. What was needed was a trust protector who was on hand to oversee the activities of the trust and the trustees and to ensure that the interests of the settlor and the beneficiaries were understood and correctly regarded. This was a niche market, but in many cases a very important one.
How would you describe IPG and its clients? What are its distinctive characteristics?
Andrew Law: In the seven years we've been going so far, the business has evolved, and by choosing to focus on a niche market we've become specialists with greater in-depth knowledge. We offer dedicated international business expertise which is backed up by our strong experience of working with our private clients and their professional intermediaries. Our clients come from all over the world.
Kevin Clerey: We've made sure that our approach is very focused and research-driven, which means that we have a complete understanding right from inception of each client's individual requirements. This in turn enables us to offer bespoke, tailored solutions to suit very specific needs.