It’s a year since we opened our office in the United States and who could have predicted what those past 12 months would bring.
In October 2019, more than 100 professionals, mainly lawyers, fund managers and intermediaries, joined us at the Peninsula Hotel in New York, to formally mark the opening of our office at 1185 Avenue of the Americas. At the event, Jersey’s External Relations Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, spoke of the rich history of trade and co-operation between Jersey and the United States. When we all mingled afterwards, there were plenty of conversations about the future, in terms of opportunities and challenges, but no one had any idea as to what was just around the corner.
Every anniversary should have surprises and, talking to my colleague Philip Pirecki, our business development lead across the Atlantic, there have been a number of these associated with our arrival and first year in New York. One of the pleasant surprises for Philip since he joined us has been the level of global collaboration between Jersey and our overseas offices in London, Dubai and Hong Kong. We truly are an integrated operation, and this has thrown up opportunities across our global markets.
I think that industry professionals in the US have been surprised too about some of the strengths that Jersey has been able to demonstrate. In the past, Jersey was often better known for private wealth, but that is no longer the case. We have been able to demonstrate our clear appeal as a funds jurisdiction. Some in the funds community were surprised at how effective our private placement regime is and how, thanks to our own bilateral agreements, Jersey’s global funds offering will not be affected by the outcome of the UK’s Brexit negotiations. It enables us to begin our second year in New York building on a platform of greater understanding of our proposition, while responding to the aspirations of the US funds community as it navigates its way through the impact of the pandemic on their sector.
Despite the unpredictability of 2020 to date and that, on top of the pandemic, the US is of course only weeks away from a dramatic and unpredictable Presidential election, it’s been a very productive year for Jersey Finance. We’ve completed a successful outreach programme and established strong relationships with a range of key funds and legal professionals in the region. To complement our varied marketing activities, we created a video outlining Jersey’s strengths and its appeal to the US funds community. We’ve launched evidence-based research, particularly on the issues around fund domiciliation, and we’ve held a series of funds events, moving seamlessly to virtual delivery, with more to follow. At home, Jersey has implemented legislation that makes it easier for limited partnership structures to migrate to Jersey from other jurisdictions, and further legal changes are on track regarding Limited Liability Companies, another measure which we anticipate will be well received in the US market. One year on, we’re more firmly on the radar of US managers and, in our second year, we intend to cement those new relationships.
No one of course would be wise to predict the future direction of global markets in these uniquely unpredictable times, but some things will surely never change. As the markets recover from the initial disruptions of 2020, there will always be institutional investors with capital to invest. Jersey, with its stability and robust regulation, yet being nimble and innovative, and close to European and UK markets, can play a part in that recovery as a gateway to channel investment to where it is needed. As we commented at our recent Global Jersey webinar, this still lies at the heart of the role that Jersey plays as a leading IFC on the world stage.