James Campbell

Partner, Global Service Line Head of Private Wealth   |  Ogier

England and Wales


Trust, foundation and estate planning
Asset holding structures

Enhanced Q&A

What has been the highlight of your practice over the past 12 months?

In the past 12 months, I have done significant work for clients on Middle East structures using private trust companies and Jersey trusts. I am also the service line head – trying to bring all of the offices together so that we have one cohesive service line across Cayman, BVI, Jersey, Guernsey and Hong Kong. We have also set up lots of family offices over the past year – normally involving private wealth, fund and regulatory advice – so it has kept us busy.

How did you get into private client?

Initially, I started out at Payne Hicks Beach in London. I wanted to come back to Jersey, so worked in trust litigation, later moving into the non-contentious side. I found that non-contentious was more for me – the people side attracted me. I think in pure trust litigation it needs a certain type of personality to do it. I found non-contentious was more interesting, varied and gave me the opportunity to meet lots of different families and people.

What advice would you give rising stars/new lawyers in the private client world?

Get straight to the point and keep advice pragmatic and simple. Clients for the most part do not want an "academic" analysis.

What is your favourite quote?

"The harder I practice, the luckier I get." Gary Player (Golfer).

Do you have any outside interests or hobbies?

Skiing and golf. You get to see different parts of the world with these sports. I used to play lots of tennis, too – but less so now.

When the restaurants reopen, where would you like to go?

The Oyster Box, Jersey – I love the beach there and the food is fabulous.

Where have you seen growth in your practice over the last year?

The COVID-19 pandemic has given ultra-high net worth families the time and opportunity to consider where and how they want to structure their assets. We are seeing a good flow of instructions from international families looking to establish new structures in Jersey or re-structure existing structures. Political uncertainty remains high as a risk factor and there remains a strong desire for families to structure their assets in a safe harbour like Jersey which has the benefit of political stability, a reputable court and over fifty years of experience in structuring trusts and other entities. The spectre of new wealth taxes is also causing many wealthy families to consider physical re-location and a restructuring of assets.

What is the main area of growth you predict for the next 12 months?

I predict and am seeing an increase in the number of private trust companies being established in Jersey for ultra-high net worth families. Further existing private trust companies in other jurisdictions moving to Jersey as a safe harbour with a sound reputation.

I am also seeing a rise in structuring coming out of South East Asia and notably Hong Kong. The pandemic coupled with political uncertainty is driving clients to structure their assets.

What do you think will be the biggest three challenges in your practice for the next 12 months?

(1) Families becoming increasingly mobile;
(2) New wealth taxes being introduced to pay for the pandemic; and
(3) A desire for ultra-high net worth clients to contribute more to society as the gulf between rich and poor continues to widen exponentially.