The Brexit negotiations will be monitored closely by Jersey Finance, but they will not affect Jersey’s position as an international finance centre of excellence.
Today (Wednesday 29 March), the UK formally notified the European Union of its intention to cease to be a member state, and negotiations will now begin with an absolute deadline of 30 March 2019, when the UK will exit the union.
Regardless of the outcome of the negotiations, the ability of Jersey’s finance industry to access the European Union as a third country will remain unchanged, and the UK remains Jersey’s largest trading partner for financial services, with the importance of the relationship recently recognised in two UK Government reports.
Geoff Cook, CEO, Jersey Finance, said: “There is clearly uncertainty about the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, and what the relationship between the UK and EU will look like in two years’ time, but for Jersey’s financial services industry, trade with the EU and UK is governed by bilateral agreements which are unaffected by Brexit. Our access to European markets continues under the same terms, and we continue to be a conduit for investment into the UK and EU.”
Last year, an independent report concluded that Jersey was a conduit for €188 billion of foreign investment, and supported almost 90,000 jobs, in the EU. It also found that Jersey was a conduit for nearly £500 billion of foreign investment into the UK, helping the UK to generate around £4.5 billion in tax revenues each year and supporting 250,000 British jobs.
However, a decade ago Jersey’s finance industry recognised the importance of diversification, and began a strategy of developing business revenue streams from the rest of the world, Mr Cook said.
“Whilst we continued to nurture our traditional business sources, and recognise that the UK will continue to be Jersey’s largest trading partner, we have also pushed out into growth markets with the result that, today, half of the investment we handle originates from outside of the UK time zone,” he said. “For both advanced and developing economies Jersey remains an attractive jurisdiction and provides certain market access to both Britain and the EU for financial services during the period of Brexit uncertainty.
“Fundamentally, we are in a strong position. Jersey is a world-class international finance centre and uncertainty in the European market has little impact on opportunities elsewhere.
Speech to Institute of Directors
On 28 March, Geoff Cook presented a speech to the Institute of Diretors in which he set out Jersey Finance's views.
Click here to read the text of his speech.