Jersey’s funds industry will need to embrace FinTech, assert its long-standing expertise and focus on innovation in order to remain at the forefront of a constantly evolving global funds landscape, according to the chairman of the Jersey Funds Association (JFA).
Speaking at this year’s annual JFA Dinner (18th March), Ben Robins told an audience of over 450 funds professionals, senior politicians and regulatory representatives that the recent performance of Jersey’s funds industry painted an extremely positive picture and positioned the jurisdiction well as a centre for alternative funds business.
Highlighting that the total value of funds business grew at the end of 2015 to reach £226bn, and that company formation activity was at its highest level since 2008, he pointed to rising levels of business across the well-established hedge, real estate and private equity asset classes, but also significant growth in emerging areas including debt, credit and infrastructure funds. Explaining that the industry globally faces a number of challenges, Ben said:
“Volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity will be the key challenges facing those of us operating in the asset management sphere in 2016. In the worlds of regulation and tax transparency, the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project progresses with surprising speed, AIFMD trundles on, the implementation of MiFID II has been postponed yet again to January 2018, and the Common Reporting Standard now looms large, adding significantly to the complex tax information sharing burden presented by FATCA.
“However, these are global asset management issues, not just issues impacting Jersey. In fact, 2015 was another year of very positive performance for our local funds industry. The net asset value of funds under administration in Jersey grew over the twelve months and by the end of the year 230 Jersey funds and 104 Jersey managers were actively marketing into the EEA under AIFMD private placement arrangements, a reflection of our strong European market access proposition.
“The inward migration of fund managers to Jersey is also an exciting growth trend, ably facilitated by Jersey Finance and Locate Jersey, with Jersey now in the top ten hedge fund management hubs globally. There are now 126 fund promoters operating in Jersey, a 113% increase in five years, so we are fast cementing our reputation as an asset management substance hub which is very helpful in these times of BEPS and AIFMD.
Looking at the year ahead, Ben suggested that the current direction of regulatory traffic and market developments could give Jersey some opportunities:
“We've done really well keeping pace with the shifting international norms and this year will give us an opportunity to re-assert our long-standing credentials as an innovative jurisdiction. We are finding ways, for instance, to make the increased flow of information in this world of heightened transparency as smooth as possible. Whether it's FATCA or CRS tax reporting, KYC information-sharing or AIFMD Annex IV reporting, there’s an opportunity for Jersey to harness its FinTech capability to make these complex new requirements more digestible.
“Capturing these opportunities, of course, requires high quality human resources, but I have no doubt that, whatever the future may throw at Jersey in this world of uncertainty, we have the high quality of resilient human capital our funds industry needs to thrive.”
The JFA annual dinner was held on Friday 18th March at the Royal Jersey Showground and featured comedian Miles Jupp as guest speaker. Lead sponsor of the event was Mourant Ozannes, silver sponsors included BNP Paribas Securities Services, Hawksford, Moore and Ogier, and the champagne reception was sponsored by Carey Olsen.