Hosted by Jersey Finance Chairman, Robert Christensen, the event, attended by around 180 local financial services practitioners and politicians, included an introduction from Chief Minister Senator Ian Gorst and a keynote address from Philipp Härle, Director at McKinsey, who provided an overview of the global political and economic landscape and its relevance to Jersey.
Discussing recent developments and activities for the year ahead, Geoff Cook, CEO, Jersey Finance, described 2014 as another challenging year but one which had seen significant advances in its plans to increase Jersey’s leadership as an International Finance Centre. In particular, he highlighted the strong performance of the funds industry in a year that saw the introduction of the AIFMD, with the number of new fund registrations in Jersey more than doubling year on year in 2014:
“Our funds industry continues to grow, with the value of assets under administration now at their highest level in five years. Meanwhile, within the private wealth sector, our trust legislation celebrated its 30th anniversary last year and the Jersey Foundation goes from strength to strength with almost 300 such structures having now been formed. Listings business is also well up on previous years. There are now 110 Jersey companies listed on exchanges around the world, whilst Jersey has the greatest number of AIM listed companies outside the UK and retains the greatest number of non-UK companies on the FTSE 100 index.”
He also pointed to two significant reports published in 2014 – ‘Moving Money’, published by two US academics, Richard Gordon and Andrew Morris, which challenged criticisms of the role of IFCs and analysed their vital contribution to the global economy, and ‘Jersey’s Value to Africa’, produced by Capital Economics, which set out the potential for Jersey to make a significant contribution to the development of Africa.
Also at the event, an update on Jersey Finance’s overseas markets strategy was provided by Richard Corrigan, Deputy CEO, Jersey Finance. He told the audience that while London remains a core market for the industry, building a strong international presence would continue to be a key part of plans in 2015:
“In 2015, following the recommendation of the Jurisdictional Review, we will look to maximize our additional resources in the Gulf region in order to capture significant private wealth and increasingly funds opportunities there, whilst we will also be focusing more on targeting hedge and private equity fund managers in the US. In addition, in line with the findings of the Value to Africa report last year, we will also be increasing our efforts to build relationships with Sub-Saharan Africa where we see considerable outbound private wealth and inbound infrastructure investment opportunities.”
A panel debate also at the event was moderated by Geoff Cook and featured Assistant Chief Minister Senator, Philip Ozouf, Financial Services Director for the States of Jersey, Joe Moynihan, Director General of the Jersey Financial Services Commission, John Harris, and Commercial Director of TheCityUK, Dan Torjussen-Proctor. As well as answering questions from the audience, panelists discussed the progress made in implementing the recommendations of the ‘Finance Industry Strategic Jurisdictional Review’ and regulatory challenge on the radar for the year.
Geoff Cook added:
“Looking ahead, we fully expect regulation to remain firmly on our agenda this year, whilst in a UK election year we will almost certainly see an uptick in political rhetoric surrounding tax and transparency. Thanks to commitments made by Jersey’s government and regulator, however, we are in an excellent position and are well regarded as a cooperative and transparent jurisdiction. Jersey has a robust tax information exchange framework in place and recently joined more than 50 countries to sign up as an early adopter of the OECD Common Reporting Standard. Combined, all this sends out a strong message about Jersey’s stance.”