Guernsey firm reacts to predictions of e-commerce influx with dedicated team
Guernsey law firm Babbe Le Pelley Tostevin has set up a team of five lawyers dedicated to acting for e-commerce businesses setting up offshore. The firm said that it predicts a sharp rise in e-commerce business arising out of the ongoing introduction of a regulatory framework, which has been described as less strict than that in the UK. It also follows the laying of a substantial amount of fibreoptic cabling, opening up more affordable access to the internet and a significantly wider bandwidth. Previously, the island relied more on expensive satellite technology. Former Withers and Hill Dickinson lawyer Peter Wilding is heading the new team, which advises companies involved in offshore banking and financial services, date hosting, intellectual property management, gambling and electronic product sales. Highlighting the tax and regulatory benefits of Guernsey, Wilding said: "Mainland UK, while it is liberalising its online gaming sector [which will be permissible in the UK in three years time], still imposes corporation tax and gaming duty. Companies also need to have servers in the UK and domain names must include .co.uk." In contrast, e-companies can apply for tax exemptions in Guernsey and nearby Alderney. Wilding said that regulatory legislation in Guernsey is less prohibitive than the UK's regime. Guernsey recently set up a regulatory framework for online gaming, and later this year a similar regime is due to be introduced for intellectual property management and data protection companies operating on the internet. Wilding also expects a growth in electronic banking and insurance sales. "The banks are anticipating that, while this area ebbs and flows [in success terms], Guernsey has to be in a position to sell these sectors."