It must be remembered that Jersey has fared better than almost all developed economies in terms of government borrowing (Jersey has no net debt) and employment levels (which remain far higher across all sectors than in the UK and many other G8 nations). This careful management during tough economic conditions is highlighted in the report by Jersey's per capita GVA, which remains significantly higher than that of the UK at £37,600 compared to the UK figure of £21,900 – some 68% greater.
The commitment of the financial services industry to Jersey remains high, as evidenced by stable employment levels in the sector and recent performance figures from the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC), which indicate a degree of stabilisation within the banking, funds and private client sectors compared to the impact seen in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 crisis.
The specific impact on banking, which is the largest financial services sub-sector, is primarily due to unprecedented low interest rate levels. Despite this difficult trading environment for banks, there is a commitment to Jersey as a leading centre for international banking and an understanding that a return to 'normal' interest levels will help to restore pre-crisis performance and profit levels.
Geoff Cook, CEO of Jersey Finance, said: “Jersey’s finance industry contributes some 40% of total GVA, generating enough government income to support the combined expenditure of education, health and social services annually. The industry spends more than £1m per day on local goods and services, money that is spent with other businesses right here in Jersey. The finance industry wants to see a strong and diversified economy and is fully behind the government’s efforts to support employment levels and stimulate other sectors, including communications, construction, tourism, agriculture and nascent industries such as digital.”
Looking to the future, Mr Cook added: “The financial services industry is working hard to participate in the early signs of recovery and growth now being seen in the US, UK and other developed economies, while at the same time maintaining its investment in high-growth markets such as China, India, the Gulf Region and Russia. It is essential that this strategy continues to be supported by the States through active engagement with other governments and prudent control of domestic expenditure, which in turn affects Jersey’s global competitiveness in terms of the cost of doing business. “