This live-streamed event followed the same format as our popular Masterclass series, but in a virtual format, bringing together experts in their field to discuss the latest trends impacting on fund distribution decisions.
Event Summary: Masterclass Highlights Importance of Easy Investor Journey
With investors being absolutely key when it comes to fund domicile decisions, Jersey is focused on making the investor journey as easy as possible – something that has really come to the fore in the Covid-inflicted remote working environment.
Those were amongst the thoughts to emerge from the recent live streamed Jersey Finance Funds Masterclass, which was focused on Distribution last week (21 October) and which explored fund structuring, the impact of Brexit and other aspects of fundraising in an era defined by Covid-19.
In a panel session moderated by Niamh Lalor, partner at Ogier and head of the JFA’s legal and technical committee, panellists discussed how investors were increasingly influencing domicile choices and that having the right vehicles and regulatory environment to meet investor needs was vital.
Rob Milner, partner at Carey Olsen, pointed to the range of structures Jersey can offer to suit different investor types: “It’s now a given that, whatever structure an investor wants, it’s possible to meet those criteria through Jersey’s range of structures . This can range from the agile, quick structure like the Jersey Private Fund, to the listed and expert public funds for a wider investor base, to the hugely flexible ‘non-fund’ structure like SPVs. All of these can be marketed into the EU with the opt-in AIFMD overlay and give Jersey a good, flexible platform to appeal to investors.”
Meanwhile, commenting on the shift to remote fundraising in the current environment, Lewis Fellas, CEO, Equi Global, said: “We certainly saw this move to remote working was coming, with the idea of going on frequent business trips to meet managers coming to the end of its lifespan. As a manager, what’s key is understanding your investor demographic and having the ability to work with and speak to LPs remotely from Jersey is really important.”
Giles Johnstone-Scott, Head of Operations at Medicxi, added that the current environment had given rise to investors asking a lot more questions about the manager: “It’s been quite apt in terms of timing, as investors have been looking at managers just as you are literally testing out your business continuity plans in a live environment. They want to look under the bonnet of the GP and see how you really operate when a significant event like Covid occurs.
“At a jurisdictional level, having made use of the national private placemen regimes for several of our funds accessing Europe, Jersey has been a very easy jurisdiction to sell and has provided us with a positive experience to fundraise from since lockdown.”
Rob Milner added: “DDQs and investor led research has really gone through the roof recently, with LPs wanting to know more about the managers and funds they are putting their capital into. Having Jersey down as the fund domicile rarely raises any concerns, which is really positive reflection of investor attitudes.”
“LPs are really familiar with Jersey as a domicile, and a lot of the biggest LPs in the world have funds that are operated in Jersey,” added Giles.
Turning the sustainable investing, Tom Powell, Principal at Alnitak Advisers, said: “We’ve had a really positive story to tell from lockdown with a greenfield LP in the UK investing in one of our strategies, and we have done everything remotely with them. We’ve been able to cover everything in far greater granularity than a limited time face to face meeting would have entailed. That could actually lead to much better long-term terms relationships.”
“At a regulatory level, the Jersey regulator has seen the direction of travel towards ESG and is keen to ensure that the integrity of ESG vehicles launched in Jersey matches the integrity of the rest of the industry. We’ve had some robust discussions between industry and regulator around ESG, and that’s very pleasing.”
Looking to the future, Rob Milner pointed to the fact that the emphasis Jersey has placed on stability, transparency and neutrality over the past 30 years is now really coming the fore:
“Whatever happens in term of Brexit, Jersey stays the same. Jersey is already a third country in relation to the EU, and that won’t change. That puts Jersey in a strong position. Being a substance, transparent and neutral jurisdiction has been a lot of work for us, whilst other jurisdictions were more focused on taking the easier option. But now, they are all having to scale up to Jersey’s level. As a result, we’re seeing a real surge in fund structure and manager relocations.”
“We’re seeing a revolution in terms of how people approach their work,” concluded Rob. “Jersey, with its substance legislation, has all the necessary infrastructure in place to welcome both open-ended and illiquid managers to set up here, when they might decide they don’t necessarily need to be in London or elsewhere.”
Elliot re-joined Jersey Finance in November 2018 from Crestbridge where he managed their Management Company Services Group.
Elliot’ role is to help define Jersey’s product offering for funds as well as to oversee the strategy and execution of marketing Jersey as both a domicile and destination for Alternative Investment Managers and their funds.
Elliot moved to Jersey in 2006 to establish a Macro strategy Hedge Fund under the Ermitage umbrella for whom he also seeded other Macro / CTA strategy Hedge Funds.
Elliot founded the Jersey Hedge Fund Managers Group and the Digital Asset Managers Group aimed at linking the growing community of local Managers and is a committee member of the Jersey Funds Association, the BVCA Channel Islands working group and the islands Funds’ Innovation Committee.
Niamh Lalor Partner, Ogier
Niamh leads Ogier's Jersey Investment Funds practice and has nearly 20 years' experience as a specialist funds and regulatory lawyer, focused on private equity, venture capital and real estate. She works with businesses ranging from debt fund managers to sovereign wealth funds on all aspects of fund marketing and regulation. She regularly advises on economic substance and AIFMD considerations. An active member of the JFA committee, Niamh heads its legal and technical sub-committee and has been involved in a number of reforms to Jersey’s regulatory regime. Niamh is recognised as a Leading Individual in The Legal 500, Chambers and The IFLR 1000.
Robert Milner Partner, Carey Olsem
Robert is one of Jersey’s leading funds lawyers. He acts for a wide range of boutique and institutional fund managers and has extensive experience in establishing private, expert, unregulated and listed Jersey funds. He has particular expertise in establishing fund manager vehicles and structures, including migrating fund managers to Jersey from other jurisdictions. Robert also advises on the establishment, financing and sale of Jersey vehicles holding UK and European-situate real estate (including JPUTs) and advises on the structuring and listing of REITs, having been a member of the TISE Rules Committee responsible for amending the listing rules to streamline the requirements for REITs. Recent transactions include the establishment of the c$100bn SoftBank Vision Fund, the migration to Jersey and listing on the London Stock Exchange of EJF Investments Ltd, and the listing on TISE of each of Liberty Living Group plc, Clipstone Logistics REIT plc and Bricklane Residential REIT plc.
Tom Powell Principal, Alnitak Advisors
Tom works with fund managers, to generate sustainable investor returns and do better for the world, profitably. Tom’s principal role is local portfolio manager and global head of investor relations at Kimura Capital, the commodity trade finance manager based in Jersey, UK. Tom has raised over USD$100m into Jersey based alternatives this year. Tom also sits on local investment committees, sourcing and structuring investments. Central to these activities is building lasting, mutually profitable relationships, founded on strong communication and transparency. Tri-lingual (English, French, Italian), with eighteen years’ experience in trading and management roles in hedge funds and tier-one banks. Tom has previously embraced the role of promoting Jersey to the funds industry. Tom leads the Jersey Funds Association ESG Sub Committee working on several projects in the “impact Investing” space, whilst continuing to be a keen promoter of financial services in Jersey.
Lewis Fellas Chief Executive Officer, EQUI Global
Lewis is a seasoned investment manager possessing a multi-asset class background spanning over 20 years with international expertise gained in Hong Kong, Japan and USA. Lewis co-founded and managed one of the world's first regulated Crypto Currency hedge funds, Bletchley Park Asset Management which, he successfully exited in 2020. Honing his entrepreneurial start-up experience in combination with lessons learnt from the nascent crypto market Lewis is currently building a new Tech Venture Capital Fund, EQUI Global. The firm seeks to bring private equity tech investments to a broader audience and benefits from a world class investment committee featuring Baroness Michelle Mone and Steve Wozniak “Woz”.
Giles Johnstone-Scott Head of Operatons, Medicxi
Responsible for managing Medicxi's Jersey operations and fund administration. Prior to joining Medicxi, Giles was Head of Private Equity at Intertrust Fund Services (formerly Elian) and has over 15 years' experience in the Jersey financial services industry. BA in Geography from the University of Exeter and ICSA Diploma Qualification in International Finance and Administration.
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