Meanwhile, Europe remains locked in a status of instability, with Russia’s war in Ukraine continuing to unsettle not only the political status quo in Europe, but completely reshape energy supply chains and distort markets worldwide, contributing to considerable inflationary pressures on global economies.

The US too looks poised to enter another period of volatility, with a long run in to the 2024 presidential election.

And closer to home, the Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast that the cost of living crisis in the UK will completely wipe out the past eight years of growth.

Small though we are, Jersey as an IFC stands right in the middle of all this – with both the capability and a responsibility to support positive change by acting as a conduit for channeling government, sovereign wealth, institutional and private capital to where it is needed most around the world.

And we know we can make a big difference – groundbreaking research we launched last year showed that, through ‘global value chains’, Jersey supports more than £170bn of global economic output – comparable to the GDP of New Zealand. That output supports in excess of 5 million jobs around the world and £73bn in associated wages.

In fact, that research was in itself a demonstration of leadership on our part – no other IFC has undertaken an analysis quite like it to better understand and demonstrate the positive role we play. It’s been transformative in how we can speak to politicians and authorities about the work done in Jersey.

Jersey has a long history of innovation and foresight in the IFC space, and we continue to demonstrate our leadership today.

In fact, it’s interesting that a piece of research we undertook this year looking at the evolution of international fund centres remarked that, a couple of decades ago, Jersey looked like an over-regulated, expensive jurisdiction compared to other IFCs.

Almost 15 years ago, when the global financial crisis took hold, Jersey’s government, industry and financial regulator came together to invest in a strategy and a vision that would help guide us and strengthen our proposition as a well-respected finance centre.

The recommendations for industry in that review – which spanned a whole range of areas including regulation, legislation, infrastructure, skills, reputation and overseas markets – were absolutely pivotal in shaping the direction of our industry.

Fast forward to today and Jersey has been proven to have been right – the robust regimes, legislation, experience and expertise we established all those years ago is the standard now demanded by investors – BEPS and a presumption towards substance are a case in point. Other IFCs, meanwhile, have had to adapt and change quickly, and often uneasily, to keep up with the pace of change.

It’s this sort of foresight that has kept us at the forefront of cross-border finance.

Our research generally is a key area where we are focusing our efforts to provide insights into the work we do. It sets us apart from other IFCs. Over the past year, for instance, we’ve supported research looking at Asian attitudes to ESG investing, Islamic wealth management, emerging fund managers and the next generation.

We’ve innovated our product and service range over the years too – the Jersey Foundation has proven to be a leading vehicle for philanthropic activity, whilst the Jersey Private Fund, which is five years old this year, is now considered the go-to vehicle for sophisticated fund structuring.

But conscious of the appeal of stability, we’ve only adapted where we’ve needed to – our Trust Law, nearly 40 years old, has been amended on just a handful of occasions to ensure it reflects the context it exists in, whist retaining the clarity and robust nature that has made it the blueprint for a number of other IFCs in the trust space.

In more recent times, our focus has been on setting the pace in the digital and sustainable finance space. Our fintech strategy, refreshed this year, aims to support greater productivity and satisfy growing regulatory and reporting requirements, whilst our sustainable finance strategy, launched in 2021, sets out a framework to help position Jersey as a leading centre for sustainable finance in the markets it serves by 2030.

We are always looking to take a leading stance. Over the course of 2022 alone, we held our inaugural Sustainable Finance Awards; we hosted our first ever US Roadshow; we refreshed our fintech strategy, and we evolved our strategy in Asia by establishing a new presence in Singapore.

But leadership is not just about setting the pace. True leadership is about bringing others with you – understanding their needs, demonstrating robust purpose-driven standards, and working collaboratively to make sure the IFC world moves forward positively together.

That’s why we focus so acutely on our engagement with partners and the authorities in overseas markets, through MoUs, collaborations, events and other partnership arrangements.

That’s also why we have established outreach programs to engage the younger members of the industry through our Future Connect network and students in schools in Jersey, to bring people on a journey with us, help them better understand the industry and provide them with opportunities to develop new skills.

And that’s why we continue to focus our communications efforts to help tell our story, why we do what we do and why we believe we have a fundamentally positive role to play in leading and supporting positive change around the world.

We need to work hard to maintain a leading position, of course – but our sustained focus on evolving our diverse skills base, on nurturing our sustainable finance capabilities, on integrating fintech into our ecosystem, and on listening carefully to our stakeholders will stand us in good stead.


This article first appeared in the Jersey Evening Post Leadership Feature, December 2022