Still tracking the NZ trust firms’ international connections

It takes a bit of time, but the trust firms that are based in New Zealand do have interesting international connections, whether or not they are branch operations, or outposts for some larger international firms. One of those international players is Amicorp, and on the website for its New Zealand operation there seems to be a reasonably sizeable staff, at least eight, and so we still have to wonder what the size of the foreign trust industry actually is.

There seem to be a number of trust firms just within the ambit of the Jackson Russell law firm housed at 41 Shortland St, in Auckland. This is the same building at which another international firm, Asia Citi, is based. It seems that Jackson Russell has its own trust firm offshoot, Jackson Russell Trustee Services (International) Ltd, with Richard George Wilson prominent again. Wilson remains one of the directors of the Aeternus Trust, along with Christopher Arthur Hubbert of Auckland, and Anthony Richard Able of Jersey; Able is also the sole shareholder. The link with Jersey seems very prevalent in Auckland. But Jackson Russell have another new trust vehicle, registered as a New Zealand company in September 2015, Landmark Fiduciary Company (NZ) Ltd. Landmark is a term that comes up often in the Panama Papers, but this time it is linked with another big player, Landmark Fiduciairie, which is based in Geneva, and with offices in Monaco and Hong Kong. The New Zealand version of Landmark Fiduciary has four directors: Richard George Wilson, Nigel John Carter, Ian Fred Ledger, and Nicholas Winearls. The latter three are all part of the Landmark Fiduciarie stable as shareholders: Carter in Geneva; and Ledger and Winearls are based in Monaco. One wonders what it is up to, but Jackson Russell must be very busy lawyers.

I want to now mention two other big international trust firms, Hawksword, and Rawlinson & Hunter. Both have bases in the Channel Islands, but Hawksford may be newer to the New Zealand market, whereas Rawlinson & Hunter appear to have had a local presence for over a decade. Both have got hooked up with the Cone Marshall law firm of Auckland, or the Bentleys accounting firm. Now this is quite complex, because Cone Marshall and Bentleys appear to have swapped trustee companies, using their own vehicles, New Zealand Trustees Ltd (by CM), and Bentleys being the address for a company called HLSS Nominees. So one assumes that HLSS is linked to Hawksford, which was set up by Timothy Robert Urquhart and others, and had employed a Leon Carl Keen. Hawksford Trustees (NZ) Ltd had Urquhart and Keen as directors, along with Geoffrey Cone, Karen Marshall and one of their staffers. But Leon Keen has now joined Rawlinson & Hunter. Rawlinson & Hunter International, through HLSS Nominees, had owned the Manchester Trustees (NZ) Ltd, but that has been swapped with NZ Trustees Ltd (CM) for the Halcyon Trustees Ltd, within a small gap of 3 months this year. Keen and Urquhart had been directors of Manchester Trustees, along with Nicolaas James Den Heijer and Roger John Thompson, both of whom live in Auckland. In the process, Cone and Marshall have also picked up Global Fiduciary (NZ) Ltd, which had previously been known as Rawlinson & Hunter (New Zealand) Ltd.

Even if that is difficult to follow, and to understand the real reasons behind changes, a couple of things came out of the searches. One point is the number of companies that Cone Marshall actually have; and it’s interesting how Geoffrey Cone seems to move about, his current address is in Uruguay.  But the main point was to discover the links to Rawlinson & Hunter, and the role of Hawksford. The Hawksford website advertises a Julian Hayden as their man covering the New Zealand business. And the local branch of Rawlinson & Hunter, R & H Trust (NZ) Ltd, is actually based in a Whanganui accountant firm, Belton, Smith & Associates. This once again highlights how the trust firms also have links with regional centres in New Zealand, and not just with the specialist Auckland firms. And in the next post I will be moving regions again, to look at the trust companies operating in Wellington.

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