Innovation is Vital

We often talk about how stability is a cornerstone of Jersey’s success as an international finance centre. From our efforts and activities around the world in markets stretching from the US to Europe to Asia, we constantly hear just how rare commodities security, stability and safety are.

Jersey can respond to that extremely positively and, in a sea of change, provides a safe harbour for global financial flows. It’s one reason why we’re seeing more than half of our new business coming from markets beyond Europe, as investors seek certainty.

The counterpoint to that is innovation. Investors are also looking for a centre that can clearly demonstrate an appetite and an ability to break new ground and stay at the forefront, and innovation certainly seems to be a key theme for Jersey Finance at the moment.

I’ve blogged a few times recently about how Jersey is driving forward as leading centre for fintech, but our innovation is not just restricted to digital. In recent months, we’ve also seen a number of examples of how legislative and regulatory enhancements are helping to keep us right at the cutting-edge of international financial services.

Our funds industry has long been seen as a front-runner in keeping up with the changing needs of managers and investors, and the Jersey Private Fund (JPF), which marks its first birthday today (18th April) is a case in point.

Launched after a considerable amount of consultation, we foresaw the need for a vehicle geared towards small groups of sophisticated investors needing a quick-to-market, appropriately regulated option.

It’s safe to say it’s been a fantastic year in terms of take-up of the product, with more than 100 funds established since the first applications were accepted under the JPF regime one year ago.

The regime, which offers 48-hour authorisation for funds with up to 50 investors, has been a clear success – it is finding favour right across the private equity, real estate, infrastructure and debt and credit fund asset classes, it’s being used to market funds seamlessly into the EU through private placement, it was the selected vehicle for the biggest private equity fund ever launched, and it has also proven to be an attractive structure for family offices looking to co-invest.

It’s a fantastic example of the kind of legislative innovation and forward-thinking Jersey is capable of, and that is necessary to set us apart from other jurisdictions.

Away from the funds sector, last month also saw a number of significant enhancements in our private wealth offering too.

Last month, the remaining elements of Jersey’s Charities Law were brought into force by the Government of Jersey in a move that will introduce an innovative system of charity registration, a new definition of ‘charitable purposes’ and a charities test. Registration of charities is set to ‘go live’ on 1st May 2018.

This latest development represents a vital step change in how Jersey is working with key partners to support globally-focussed philanthropic activity and underlines our ambition to provide a better, professional environment for philanthropic endeavour.

In addition, approval was also granted last month to a set of amendments to Jersey’s Trusts Law. The amendments are expected to be brought into force during 2018 and will provide clarity in a number of areas and introduce certain new provisions. Overall, the changes will allow Jersey trusts to develop in a competitive and international market place.

And there’s more on the horizon. Later this year, for instance, we are anticipating the adoption of new Limited Liability Company (LLC) legislation, which will be a real game changer in terms of boosting Jersey’s appeal for corporate and funds work – particularly amongst USA-based institutions and funds that want to invest capital into Europe.

Innovation is a vital part of Jersey’s proposition which can differentiate us from other centres. I firmly believe that our ability to balance that innovation on the one hand with preserving stability and familiarity on the other is a recipe for future success.

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