About Us

Walter Property Limited (WPL) is a family-owned Guernsey property holding company. It purchases properties that are considered to have potential for development either through refurbishment or by obtaining planning permission to change its classification from, for example, industrial premises to offices or retail outlets, or by the marriage value of buying an adjacent property to one already owned by WPL.

WPL’s reputation as a fair-minded landlord stems from the application of the founder’s tenet of working with the tenant to help maximise the business benefits of both parties.

There is no capital gains tax on the sale of property in the Island which makes buying and selling an attractive enterprise.

Why Guernsey?

The Bailiwick of Guernsey is a British Crown dependency in the English Channel. The benefit of establishing a company in Guernsey is the island’s low tax jurisdiction since there are no capital taxes and no corporation taxes for many companies. Consequently since the 1980s the island’s development as an ideal financial centre for the establishment of institutions and banks has thrived.

There are currently more than 160 companies registered with the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (28 banks, building societies, stock brokerage and asset management firms, insurance and finance companies, retailers and credit unions are the basic types of financial institutions) and it is this group of financial institutions that is the greatest generator of tax revenue.

Many Guernsey-registered companies have a policy of renting property rather than purchasing. Most prefer to put their capital into the business and not into property whilst others simply cannot afford the large capital outlay required to buy. Their view, often, is that they are not property experts and leave that métier to specialist companies such as Walter Property Limited.

Yesterday

WPL was founded in 1934 by Willian Water to manage both his own extensive investments and his property portfolio in Guernsey.

His property portfolio consisted of twenty properties each valued at approximately £1,500 – which also included the fixtures, fittings and furniture.

Despite the somewhat glorified title of Governing Director General of the company, William Walter ensured that he, together with his six children – who were all shareholders – knew each and every one of his tenants personally treating them with respect and, in many cases, with patience and understanding whenever they were faced with financial shortcomings.

With the outbreak of World War II and the occupation of Guernsey by the Germans, William Walter, who was by then eighty-eight years old, refused to be evacuated in order to “… look after my tenants … to ensure their safety” but he died in 1942. Tom Scott, who was married to William Walter’s eldest daughter, took over the running of the company and with foresight managed to ship to England all the company’s securities, whilst his brother-in-law Reggie Walter managed the company’s stocks and shares from Nairn in Scotland to where he saw out the duration of the war.

During the occupation many of the tenants who ran shops continued to pay rent to the company and with the end of hostilities rents were frozen and support from WPL was provided for the re-establishment and repair of both shops and houses left in disrepair by the occupying forces.

The following years saw some members of the Walter family retuning to the Island. Family members joined the company serving as Company Secretary or Directors. One job of the Company Secretary until 1995 was the collection of ‘Rentes’ a Guernsey tradition whereby rent was paid in bushels of wheat and chickens and converted into what was then pounds, shillings and pence! The rest of the large and by then internationally-located family remain as shareholders taking an active part in the development of the company.

Today

The Walter family has steadily built on the foundations set out by the founder and each generation develops and manages the company appropriate to the era.

The pride of being a part of a family company has ensured that all the thirty-three shareholders participate in its development. Whether it is through an active daily role in the Property Committee or by giving their advice and opinions at the Annual General Meeting in Guernsey which regularly welcomes family members from the USA, Australia, Kenya, Thailand and the UK.

The daily running of WPL is the task of the four Guernsey-based directors who make up the Property Committee which convenes monthly to discuss current and prospective property developments, any business concerning the day-to-day administration and often concludes with a brainstorming session to find solutions to any tenuous situations or obstacles in developing projects.

Tomorrow

In keeping with its past project development philosophy, its intrinsic understanding of the local property market and the successful management succession of the younger generation of the Walter family, the future in the Bailiwick of Guernsey is optimistic despite the economic fluctuations throughout much of Europe.

The property Committee will continue to look at new projects, seek opportunities to take advantage of changes in the European economy and with increasing globalisation WPL may seek to develop opportunities further afield.