Guernsey protected cell company fund converted to ICC

A Guernsey protected cell company has become the first to be converted into an incorporated cell company, in the process becoming the world's largest mutual fund to adopt the new ICC structure, according to law firm Bedell Cristin.

'This illustrates once again how the island is not just a major player but at the cutting edge of developments in the international finance industry,' says chief executive Peter Niven of GuernseyFinance, the promotional agency for the island's financial services industry.

'It is fitting that 10 years after Guernsey introduced the PCC concept to the world, the island has once again delivered a world first, this time with the younger sibling that is the innovative ICC structure.'

Under legislation introduced in Guernsey in Spring 2006 it is possible to convert a conventional company or PCC into an ICC.

Bedell Cristin's Guernsey team, led by partner Mark Helyar and solicitor Kate Ovenden, undertook the conversion on behalf of Guernsey-based clients, whose PCC originally had nine cells that were converted into incorporated cells. A further 13 incorporated cells have been added to create the first Class B ICC investment fund in Guernsey.

The company uses the mutual ICC as a multi-manager platform with different promoters in each cell. They believe the additional insolvency protection and flexibility offered by the ICC structure is particularly advantageous for management and future business development.

Helyar, who was a member of the committee that developed and introduced the ICC legislation to Guernsey in May 2006, says: 'The time frame was tight for such a complex exercise, especially as this was the first application of its kind.

'We are seeing significant business interest in the ICC, especially - and perhaps unexpectedly - in the private wealth management sphere. It is a new structure and certain characteristics make it particularly useful for complex family office applications.'

Adds Niven: 'This development highlights, firstly, how close co-operation between industry, the regulator and government in Guernsey means that the island is able to produce legislation that is of tangible benefit to clients, and secondly, that there is the level of expertise on the island to deliver the end product.'

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