The Review of British Offshore Financial Centres was announced by HM Treasury in November last year, when Michael Foot was asked to conduct an independent review of long-term opportunities and challenges facing both the British Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories that had significant financial centres.

Published today, the report included an examination of how these financial centres were managing the effects of the economic downturn, as well as their overall ability to respond to major economic shocks. Issues such as implementation of international standards for regulation and information exchange were also reviewed.  

Jersey was regarded as performing extremely well in all areas covered by the review. It specifically highlighted the value that Jersey had provided to the UK throughout the banking crisis, as the largest provider of net deposits, in the region of $218.3 billion, to UK banks in the second quarter of 2009 alone. In particular it was noted that:

“The Crown Dependencies make significant contribution to the liquidity of the UK market” and that the “decision to build up reserves in recent years during a period of rapid economic growth has served to increase…resilience”.

The report also concluded that the amount of UK tax avoided by UK corporates using British Offshore Financial Centres was “significantly lower than estimates produced by previous studies have suggested”. The Crown Dependencies generate significant professional fees for UK professionals and are an important contributor to London as a global financial centre. Jersey’s recent positive IMF assessment was also recognised. 

A number of recommendations were made, including calls for the UK to lead the way in global efforts towards achieving a level playing field, by calling on all EU Member States and third countries to move to automatic exchange of information under the EU Savings Tax Directive.

Geoff Cook, chief executive of Jersey Finance, commented:

‘This latest review has demonstrated once again that Jersey’s financial services industry has good resilience in the face of a severe economic downturn, and that it has a regulatory regime of a high international standard, capable of evolving to meet changing global requirements. The positive findings of the British Offshore Financial Centres Review are a further endorsement in a year during which Jersey has been placed on the ‘white list’ by the OECD for meeting agreed international tax standards and been classed by the IMF in the ‘top division’ of international finance centres, for the quality of its regulatory and supervisory regime.

‘We wholeheartedly support any efforts to strengthen the regulatory and supervisory oversight of the global financial services industry in the wake of the unprecedented financial crisis, and Jersey’s financial services industry will continue to co-operate in any independent reviews and assessments that help to demonstrate our stability and effectiveness. Jersey has ably shown, time and time again, that its finance industry applies the highest standards of corporate governance, transparency and sound regulation.’

Ends.

For further information, please contact Geoff Cook, Chief Executive, Jersey Finance Limited, on tel. +44 (0) 1534 836011 e-mail geoff.cook@jerseyfinance.je

Or Adam Riddell, Crystal Public Relations, on tel. +44 (0) 1534 639505 or e-mail adam@crystalpr.co.uk