Private Wealth /

International

Collyer Bristow is a highly internationally focused firm. In any given year around a third of our revenue is attributed to clients outside of the UK.

Across our various specialisms we work with clients and contacts based in countries all around the world. However as a firm we maintain a particular focus upon; have a cultural awareness and language expertise in; and have built considerable professional contacts in Italy, USA, Channel Islands, and Switzerland.

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About

Our international focus

Advising international businesses

Our multi-disciplinary team provides ambitious foreign entrepreneurs and businesses with strategic and practical guidance on building and growing companies in the UK. Whilst the process may appear complicated, we guide them through each step, assisting with setting up the appropriate business structure, advising on funding and business premises and drafting the necessary commercial contracts. If your clients are looking to expand their existing overseas business by developing a UK presence, either by establishing a branch, a subsidiary or an LLP, we are well placed to advise on all registration and ongoing statutory compliance requirements.

We can then provide them with dynamic and uniquely tailored guidance which covers all their commercial needs including real estate, employment law, immigration, intellectual property, data protection and tax.

As their business expands, we also have the capability to advise on mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital backing, competition law and financial services regulation. Our litigation expertise also allows us to support our clients in resolving disputes of any kind that they may encounter.

We regularly advise overseas clients on:

Our international legal network

We are an active member of World Link for Law, a leading network of international law firms. The network comprises 70 law firms with 80 offices in 47 countries worldwide. This close network of law firms enables us to source and collaborate with high quality international legal providers in the jurisdictions that our clients require.

Advising individuals and families with international affairs

Wealthy individuals and families with international affairs must give careful consideration to ensure that their assets are protected and passed on to future generations in a way which is effective and efficient in all the relevant jurisdictions. Whether the circumstances involve assets owned in various parts of the world or foreign people living in or moving to the UK, without proactive and strategic planning there is a risk of assets passing in an unintended way or valuable opportunities being missed.

Our team works closely with wealthy international individuals and families to support them in protecting their wealth now and in the future. Our clients’ assets can be complex and diverse requiring the deployment of a variety of holding vehicles including trusts, foundations, companies and partnerships.

Find out more

Explore the nuances of some of the most common aspects of UK/USA cross-border tax and estate planning.

International work highlights

Swiss flag on a boat

Acting in a multi-million international arbitration

We advised a foreign company facing claims for a share of its recovery in a multi-million international arbitration.

Acting on a substantial debt-recovery claim

We acted on a substantial debt-recovery claim against a Swiss company, including dealing with service out of the jurisdiction and issues arising under Swiss law.

Advising family members of the director of an offshore company in liquidation

We advised family members of the director of an offshore company in liquidation on dealing with enquiries from the liquidator. This involved dealing with cross-border insolvency issues and responding to threats made to examine the family members in court.

Spotlight

Assets across multiple jurisdictions

Clients often have assets in a number of different jurisdictions.  It is crucial to give careful thought to an estate plan that considers the tax and succession rules in each country.  For example, do forced heirship rules prevent you leaving assets to your chosen beneficiaries?  Can a client choose which law should apply on death?  Is a separate will needed in each jurisdiction, or is one worldwide will sufficient?  What taxes will apply and can they be mitigated?  Should assets be transferred to a structure during lifetime to avoid unattractive succession laws?  Our team can provide a considered estate plan to cut through these issues to ensure the best outcome.

Spotlight

Islamic finance

Our financial services team has experience in drafting and negotiating master purchase and sale agreements for Islamic finance products, including commodity based Murabaha trades and Sukuk bonds, negotiating with a number of Middle Eastern Banks in the process.

On the disputes side, we have been instructed by a number of state-owned Middle Eastern banks over the years on various financial and commercial dispute matters. As such we are aware and very familiar with the business and other cultural issues involved in acting both for and against clients in the Arab world.

Spotlight

Pre-immigration planning

Foreign individuals moving to the UK will want to be able to fund their life here in as tax-efficient a way as is possible.  Careful pre-immigration planning can help to achieve this.  This may involve structuring assets so as to make optimal use of the remittance basis of taxation,  and triggering the receipt of income or capital gains before becoming UK resident.

Spotlight

Sponsor licence applications

Where UK businesses want to employ nationals from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland, they are likely to need a sponsor licence to be able to do so.   To be successful in applying for the licence, an employer must be able to show that it is a genuine and legitimate organisation, that it poses no risk to immigration control, and that it has robust systems in place to be able to comply with its sponsorship duties.  We regularly advise employers on these applications, ensuring that they have the correct supporting documentation in place, that they appoint the relevant key personnel required for the licence, and that they have the necessary monitoring and record-keeping systems in place to meet their sponsor requirements.

Spotlight

Tier 1 visa applications

“Wealthier individuals can use the Tier 1 Investor visa route to come to the UK.  By investing a minimum of £2m in UK trading companies, successful applicants can live, work and study in the UK.  The rules governing these visas have been subject to recent revisions, so we advise applicants in navigating a course through the latest changes.  We also combine this advice with careful estate planning, to minimise the exposure to UK taxes once the applicant is in the UK.
Other recent changes have ended the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category, replacing it with new Innovator or Start-up visas.  These visas are nascent concepts, so it is important that careful advice is sought to ensure a successful application.”

Spotlight

Tier 2 visa applications

Where a UK business holds a sponsor licence, it can employ overseas workers in the UK to carry out specific skilled roles.  We advise employers on obtaining the relevant ‘certificate of sponsorship’ required for each visa holder and guide them and their future employees through the application process.  Where necessary, this involves advising on compliance with the ‘resident labour market test’, whereby a role must first be offered to a worker from the UK or the EU, unless an exception applies.  We also advise on ‘intra-company transfer’ visas, where employees of an overseas business come to work for a group company in the UK.  These applications commonly involve contemporaneous applications from family members accompanying the main visa holder to the UK.

Spotlight

Trusts for non-domiciled clients

We regularly advise individuals who are not domiciled in the UK, but who are resident here or have other UK connections, on how best to structure their wealth. Trusts created by individuals who are not domiciled in the UK, and containing assets situated outside the UK, can remain outside the scope of UK inheritance tax.  They can therefore be a very attractive structure for clients in the right circumstances.

Jump to the top of the International page

Italy

2004 saw the beginning of our focus on Italy that has continued ever since.

London has long been an attractive destination for Italians – whether to visit, to live, to set up business or to invest. We support Italian clients in all of these areas and have close relationships with professionals in England, Italy and in offshore jurisdictions who have experience of acting for Italian clients.

Our Italian focus was formed to meet the needs of Italian companies (operating both in Italy and the UK) to advise them on doing business in the UK, and also to support private individuals seeking specialist tax and estate planning services. We have knowledge of the legal, commercial and cultural environments of the two countries, of the workings of Italian business, and the preferences of Italian clients.

Our range of services for Italian clients includes:

Members of our Italian team include:

Stephen Rosen, Partner – Commercial & Financial disputes
Stephen has had Italian clients and businesses as one of his focuses since 2004 and is a regular visitor to Milan. His Italian credentials include:

  • Acting for an Italian car battery manufacture in a major dispute with car manufacturer Nissan over the performance of starter batteries for over one million of their cars.
  • Acting for a well-known Italian women’s fashion group in disputes with suppliers, wholesale customers and others including landlords.
  • Acting for Alitalia in dealing with cargo and passenger claims and disputes with travel agents.
  • Participating in acting for a large international Italian fashion group that involved the firm dealing with a range of issues including restructuring, intellectual property, GDPR and property acquisition and disposal.
  • Advising an Italian public relations company on disputes with customers
    Acting for various Italian manufacturers and retailers in disputes over contractual obligations.

Charlie Fowler, Partner – Private Wealth
Charlie is of Italian heritage and has studied in Italy and speaks Italian to conversational standard. His Italian credentials include:

  • Acting for a UK resident Italian citizen with assets across both jurisdictions to prepare a detailed estate plan that minimised exposure to UK and Italian taxes and navigated the succession law requirements of both countries.
  • Acting for a family-owned retail food business in Little Italy in London on the UK tax implications of dissolving of the family partnership and distributing partnership assets.
  • Acting for an Italian food business on the expansion of their business into the UK, providing corporate, immigration and employment advice in connection with the opening of an operating company in the UK.

Emily Malvaso, Associate – Private Wealth
Emily is a dual English and Italian national, born and raised in Italy before moving to the UK in 2011. She is a native bilingual speaker of English and Italian and specialises in providing UK tax and estate planning to clients with an Italian nexus. Her Italian credentials include:

  • Advising on the availability of inheritance tax reliefs on agricultural and business property in relation to a uniquely structured Italian ‘agriturismo’.
    Advising on the UK IHT implications of entering into an Italian succession instrument known as ‘patto di famiglia’ (which translates into a ‘family pact’) in respect of a family’s company shares.
  • Advising several UK and Italian individuals in respect of their UK/Italian estate planning, to include the drafting of tax efficient Wills in both jurisdictions taking into account their differing succession rules.
  • Advising UK domiciled individuals on the use of deeds of variation over Italian assets whilst co-ordinating the differing Italian tax treatment for the same transaction.

Switzerland

Our Swiss office, established in 2004, places our English law and UK tax expertise within this hub of international wealth and commerce.

We regularly have different teams of lawyers operating from the region, servicing our corporate and high-net-worth private clients and maintaining valuable links with local advisers.

Many corporate and high-net-worth private clients establish a key strategic presence in Switzerland, whether it is their headquarters or a family office or the place where they bank or establish trusts.

They often have complex international legal requirements and, with English law frequently used in international contracts and with England often chosen as a centre for dispute resolution, our clients see significant advantages in being able to access our English legal services from Geneva.

Turkey

Our Tax and estate planning team specialises in international matters and includes a focus on supporting wealthy Turkish and Middle Eastern clients. Our work includes advising individuals and families on cross-jurisdictional tax and planning considerations, trust structuring, succession planning, tax planning and complex international probate matters.

We also advise privately owned non-UK resident businesses on their corporate restructuring in England and in Turkey, advising on appropriate structures for holding UK property and on the availability of sovereign immunity from tax. We have particular expertise in taxation of international transactions and provide services to Turkish corporate clients wishing to extend their trading activities into English markets.

USA

For individuals with personal and financial connections in both the US and the UK, navigating the interaction between the two regimes on matters of tax, estate planning, trusts and succession can be complex. Individuals may have just avoided the pitfalls of one jurisdiction only to fall foul of the rules in the other.

If you are in the position where you have interests across both sides of the pond, it is crucial that you work with advisors with experience in crafting suitable UK advice that is mindful of, and can coexist tax-efficiently with, concurrent US concerns.

Our Private Wealth team includes lawyers who specialise in providing guidance on a range of US/UK cross border matters. Co-ordinating with US advisers where necessary, we are able to provide a tailored and fully integrated estate plan.

Read more

International Publications

International insights

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    International key contacts

    International

    International

    International

    Collyer Bristow is a highly internationally focused firm. In any given year around a third of our revenue is attributed to clients outside of the UK.

    Across our various specialisms we work with clients and contacts based in countries all around the world. However as a firm we maintain a particular focus upon; have a cultural awareness and language expertise in; and have built considerable professional contacts in Italy, USA, Channel Islands, and Switzerland.

    OUR INTERNATIONAL FOCUS

    Advising international businesses

    Our multi-disciplinary team provides ambitious foreign entrepreneurs and businesses with strategic and practical guidance on building and growing companies in the UK. Whilst the process may appear complicated, we guide them through each step, assisting with setting up the appropriate business structure, advising on funding and business premises and drafting the necessary commercial contracts. If your clients are looking to expand their existing overseas business by developing a UK presence, either by establishing a branch, a subsidiary or an LLP, we are well placed to advise on all registration and ongoing statutory compliance requirements.

    We can then provide them with dynamic and uniquely tailored guidance which covers all their commercial needs including real estate, employment law, immigration, intellectual property, data protection and tax.

    As their business expands, we also have the capability to advise on mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital backing, competition law and financial services regulation. Our litigation expertise also allows us to support our clients in resolving disputes of any kind that they may encounter.

    We regularly advise overseas clients on:

    Our international legal network

    We are an active member of World Link for Law, a leading network of international law firms. The network comprises 70 law firms with 80 offices in 47 countries worldwide. This close network of law firms enables us to source and collaborate with high quality international legal providers in the jurisdictions that our clients require.

    Advising individuals and families with international affairs

    Wealthy individuals and families with international affairs must give careful consideration to ensure that their assets are protected and passed on to future generations in a way which is effective and efficient in all the relevant jurisdictions. Whether the circumstances involve assets owned in various parts of the world or foreign people living in or moving to the UK, without proactive and strategic planning there is a risk of assets passing in an unintended way or valuable opportunities being missed.

    Our team works closely with wealthy international individuals and families to support them in protecting their wealth now and in the future. Our clients’ assets can be complex and diverse requiring the deployment of a variety of holding vehicles including trusts, foundations, companies and partnerships.

    Find out more

    Explore the nuances of some of the most common aspects of UK/USA cross-border tax and estate planning.

    International work highlights

    Swiss flag on a boat

    Acting in a multi-million international arbitration

    We advised a foreign company facing claims for a share of its recovery in a multi-million international arbitration.

    Acting on a substantial debt-recovery claim

    We acted on a substantial debt-recovery claim against a Swiss company, including dealing with service out of the jurisdiction and issues arising under Swiss law.

    Advising family members of the director of an offshore company in liquidation

    We advised family members of the director of an offshore company in liquidation on dealing with enquiries from the liquidator. This involved dealing with cross-border insolvency issues and responding to threats made to examine the family members in court.

    SPOTLIGHT

    Assets across multiple jurisdictionsopen

    Clients often have assets in a number of different jurisdictions.  It is crucial to give careful thought to an estate plan that considers the tax and succession rules in each country.  For example, do forced heirship rules prevent you leaving assets to your chosen beneficiaries?  Can a client choose which law should apply on death?  Is a separate will needed in each jurisdiction, or is one worldwide will sufficient?  What taxes will apply and can they be mitigated?  Should assets be transferred to a structure during lifetime to avoid unattractive succession laws?  Our team can provide a considered estate plan to cut through these issues to ensure the best outcome.

    Islamic financeopen

    Our financial services team has experience in drafting and negotiating master purchase and sale agreements for Islamic finance products, including commodity based Murabaha trades and Sukuk bonds, negotiating with a number of Middle Eastern Banks in the process.

    On the disputes side, we have been instructed by a number of state-owned Middle Eastern banks over the years on various financial and commercial dispute matters. As such we are aware and very familiar with the business and other cultural issues involved in acting both for and against clients in the Arab world.

    Pre-immigration planningopen

    Foreign individuals moving to the UK will want to be able to fund their life here in as tax-efficient a way as is possible.  Careful pre-immigration planning can help to achieve this.  This may involve structuring assets so as to make optimal use of the remittance basis of taxation,  and triggering the receipt of income or capital gains before becoming UK resident.

    Sponsor licence applicationsopen

    Where UK businesses want to employ nationals from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland, they are likely to need a sponsor licence to be able to do so.   To be successful in applying for the licence, an employer must be able to show that it is a genuine and legitimate organisation, that it poses no risk to immigration control, and that it has robust systems in place to be able to comply with its sponsorship duties.  We regularly advise employers on these applications, ensuring that they have the correct supporting documentation in place, that they appoint the relevant key personnel required for the licence, and that they have the necessary monitoring and record-keeping systems in place to meet their sponsor requirements.

    Tier 1 visa applicationsopen

    “Wealthier individuals can use the Tier 1 Investor visa route to come to the UK.  By investing a minimum of £2m in UK trading companies, successful applicants can live, work and study in the UK.  The rules governing these visas have been subject to recent revisions, so we advise applicants in navigating a course through the latest changes.  We also combine this advice with careful estate planning, to minimise the exposure to UK taxes once the applicant is in the UK.
    Other recent changes have ended the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category, replacing it with new Innovator or Start-up visas.  These visas are nascent concepts, so it is important that careful advice is sought to ensure a successful application.”

    Tier 2 visa applicationsopen

    Where a UK business holds a sponsor licence, it can employ overseas workers in the UK to carry out specific skilled roles.  We advise employers on obtaining the relevant ‘certificate of sponsorship’ required for each visa holder and guide them and their future employees through the application process.  Where necessary, this involves advising on compliance with the ‘resident labour market test’, whereby a role must first be offered to a worker from the UK or the EU, unless an exception applies.  We also advise on ‘intra-company transfer’ visas, where employees of an overseas business come to work for a group company in the UK.  These applications commonly involve contemporaneous applications from family members accompanying the main visa holder to the UK.

    Trusts for non-domiciled clientsopen

    We regularly advise individuals who are not domiciled in the UK, but who are resident here or have other UK connections, on how best to structure their wealth. Trusts created by individuals who are not domiciled in the UK, and containing assets situated outside the UK, can remain outside the scope of UK inheritance tax.  They can therefore be a very attractive structure for clients in the right circumstances.

    Jump to the top of the International page.

    Italy

    2004 saw the beginning of our focus on Italy that has continued ever since.

    London has long been an attractive destination for Italians – whether to visit, to live, to set up business or to invest. We support Italian clients in all of these areas and have close relationships with professionals in England, Italy and in offshore jurisdictions who have experience of acting for Italian clients.

    Our Italian focus was formed to meet the needs of Italian companies (operating both in Italy and the UK) to advise them on doing business in the UK, and also to support private individuals seeking specialist tax and estate planning services. We have knowledge of the legal, commercial and cultural environments of the two countries, of the workings of Italian business, and the preferences of Italian clients.

    Our range of services for Italian clients includes:

    Members of our Italian team include:

    Stephen Rosen, Partner – Commercial & Financial disputes
    Stephen has had Italian clients and businesses as one of his focuses since 2004 and is a regular visitor to Milan. His Italian credentials include:

    • Acting for an Italian car battery manufacture in a major dispute with car manufacturer Nissan over the performance of starter batteries for over one million of their cars.
    • Acting for a well-known Italian women’s fashion group in disputes with suppliers, wholesale customers and others including landlords.
    • Acting for Alitalia in dealing with cargo and passenger claims and disputes with travel agents.
    • Participating in acting for a large international Italian fashion group that involved the firm dealing with a range of issues including restructuring, intellectual property, GDPR and property acquisition and disposal.
    • Advising an Italian public relations company on disputes with customers
      Acting for various Italian manufacturers and retailers in disputes over contractual obligations.

    Charlie Fowler, Partner – Private Wealth
    Charlie is of Italian heritage and has studied in Italy and speaks Italian to conversational standard. His Italian credentials include:

    • Acting for a UK resident Italian citizen with assets across both jurisdictions to prepare a detailed estate plan that minimised exposure to UK and Italian taxes and navigated the succession law requirements of both countries.
    • Acting for a family-owned retail food business in Little Italy in London on the UK tax implications of dissolving of the family partnership and distributing partnership assets.
    • Acting for an Italian food business on the expansion of their business into the UK, providing corporate, immigration and employment advice in connection with the opening of an operating company in the UK.

    Emily Malvaso, Associate – Private Wealth
    Emily is a dual English and Italian national, born and raised in Italy before moving to the UK in 2011. She is a native bilingual speaker of English and Italian and specialises in providing UK tax and estate planning to clients with an Italian nexus. Her Italian credentials include:

    • Advising on the availability of inheritance tax reliefs on agricultural and business property in relation to a uniquely structured Italian ‘agriturismo’.
      Advising on the UK IHT implications of entering into an Italian succession instrument known as ‘patto di famiglia’ (which translates into a ‘family pact’) in respect of a family’s company shares.
    • Advising several UK and Italian individuals in respect of their UK/Italian estate planning, to include the drafting of tax efficient Wills in both jurisdictions taking into account their differing succession rules.
    • Advising UK domiciled individuals on the use of deeds of variation over Italian assets whilst co-ordinating the differing Italian tax treatment for the same transaction.

    Switzerland

    Our Swiss office, established in 2004, places our English law and UK tax expertise within this hub of international wealth and commerce.

    We regularly have different teams of lawyers operating from the region, servicing our corporate and high-net-worth private clients and maintaining valuable links with local advisers.

    Many corporate and high-net-worth private clients establish a key strategic presence in Switzerland, whether it is their headquarters or a family office or the place where they bank or establish trusts.

    They often have complex international legal requirements and, with English law frequently used in international contracts and with England often chosen as a centre for dispute resolution, our clients see significant advantages in being able to access our English legal services from Geneva.

    Turkey

    Our Tax and estate planning team specialises in international matters and includes a focus on supporting wealthy Turkish and Middle Eastern clients. Our work includes advising individuals and families on cross-jurisdictional tax and planning considerations, trust structuring, succession planning, tax planning and complex international probate matters.

    We also advise privately owned non-UK resident businesses on their corporate restructuring in England and in Turkey, advising on appropriate structures for holding UK property and on the availability of sovereign immunity from tax. We have particular expertise in taxation of international transactions and provide services to Turkish corporate clients wishing to extend their trading activities into English markets.

    USA

    For individuals with personal and financial connections in both the US and the UK, navigating the interaction between the two regimes on matters of tax, estate planning, trusts and succession can be complex. Individuals may have just avoided the pitfalls of one jurisdiction only to fall foul of the rules in the other.

    If you are in the position where you have interests across both sides of the pond, it is crucial that you work with advisors with experience in crafting suitable UK advice that is mindful of, and can coexist tax-efficiently with, concurrent US concerns.

    Our Private Wealth team includes lawyers who specialise in providing guidance on a range of US/UK cross border matters. Co-ordinating with US advisers where necessary, we are able to provide a tailored and fully integrated estate plan.

    Read more

    International insights

    View all insights

    Need some more information? Make an enquiry below.

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