An overview of the plan was presented to more than 300 industry leaders and politicians at Jersey Finance’s Annual Review breakfast event, held at Hotel de France on Friday 27 January. Geoff Cook, CEO, Jersey Finance, said that 2016 had been a record breaking year, with funds business in Jersey reaching its highest level since 2008 and the Island now the world’s sixth largest hedge fund management centre.
He told the audience that, in 2017, Jersey Finance’s strategy of evidence-based advocacy would continue: independent research into key areas of the industry would provide clear direction and thought leadership.
Mr Cook said: “Jersey’s finance industry has evolved considerably over the past decade and more than half of our business is now institutional in nature. That means that Jersey firms are supporting things like pension, university and sovereign wealth funds, but that is perhaps not widely understood. For that reason, we will be doing some further research work this year to explain Jersey’s role in the global pension fund market.
“Our funds industry, meanwhile, continues to both grow and diversify. Firms here are well established in the private equity, real estate, hedge and infrastructure fund space, but they are also reporting more activity in the private debt fund market, providing financing for investment activity around the world in the absence of traditional sources of financing. We will be exploring the opportunities in this innovative area more thoroughly.”
The event was hosted by Jersey Finance Chairman, Robert Christensen, who is set to retire following his recent appointment as a jurat, and included an introduction from Chief Minister Senator Ian Gorst. In addition, a keynote address was given by Gary Campkin, Director, Policy & Strategy at TheCityUK, who explained how London’s finance industry is adapting and responding to the post-Brexit vote environment.
A panel session at the event, moderated by Paul Savery (a Jersey Finance board member) and featuring Geoff Cook, Richard Corrigan (Financial Services Director, Government of Jersey), and John Harris (Director General, Jersey Financial Services Commission), prompted discussion about Jersey’s position in relation to Brexit, as well as the regulatory and legislative changes that are on the agenda for the coming year.
Commenting on the current geopolitical environment and particularly Brexit, Geoff Cook said: “Above all, investors want stability and Jersey, with its regulatory framework and good rule of law, is well placed and should see some good opportunities. Our private wealth, funds and capital markets sectors are all posting positive figures, and pleasingly we are seeing a flight to quality and flows of business that might ordinarily have gone to other centres. We are not resting on our laurels, though, and we are talking regularly to stakeholders in Europe and the UK to ensure Jersey’s message is heard in all the Brexit noise.
“We are also focused on differentiating Jersey as a finance centre through cutting-edge projects in fintech and cyber security and enhancements to our companies, trusts and foundations laws. The results of a significant funds regime consultation are set to be announced imminently, and we continue to set the pace on transparency and beneficial ownership. All this is being well received across our core markets in the UK, Europe, Asia and Africa.
“Meanwhile, it’s important that we continue to do more to engage with the local community and we are working on a specific project this year to illustrate clearly the role the finance industry plays in supporting local services, complementing other sectors, and providing local people with good career prospects.”