Jersey is continuing to embed its reputation for providing robust private wealth structures in Africa, and has the opportunity to diversify its offering and support a greater appetite for cross-border alternative investment amongst internationally-active African families.

That was the message at a series of recent events held recently by Jersey Finance in Kenya and South Africa, which formed part of a Jersey delegation visit to both countries led by Director of Business Development Allan Wood, and which also included a number of industry meetings.

The events entitled ‘Jersey: A Valued Partnership’ took place in Nairobi, Kenya, (3rd October) and Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa (9th and 13th November) and attracted a total of almost 250 members of the local advisory community, including wealth practitioners, lawyers, investment managers and other finance professionals. They built on a visit to and similar event in Nigeria earlier this year.

Since the publication of Jersey’s Strategic Jurisdictional Review in 2013, Jersey Finance has been focused on explaining the jurisdiction’s mutually beneficial role in supporting investment into and out of Africa. The 2014 ‘Jersey’s Value to Africa’ report in particular sets out Jersey’s strong links with the continent and illustrates its role in helping the continent realise it economic growth potential.

Most prominent in discussions at the events was the impact of recent measures on cross-border wealth and succession planning, including global transparency developments such as the Common Reporting Standard, and compliance with reporting and governance requirements, as well as domestic tax initiatives. 

Highlighting that Jersey has the right expertise and regulatory framework to support high quality cross-border private wealth strategies for African investors and act as a valuable investment gateway to the UK and wider Europe, Allan, who introduced all three events, said: 

“While we enjoy strong relationships with Kenya and South Africa, continuing to emphasise the positive role Jersey can play in supporting African families with their global trust and succession planning strategies is really important, particularly given the increasingly complex regulatory environment African investors find themselves in. 

“Jersey firms have been supporting families in Africa with private wealth expertise for some years now. The feeling is that now support can be broadened out so that Jersey plays an important, specialist role in helping those families, which are often truly international, with their regulatory and reporting obligations.”

Pointing to future opportunities in Kenya in particular, Allan explained that appetite for private wealth expertise is high in Nairobi:

“Exacerbated by a particularly volatile political environment this year, Nairobi is seeing significant growth in the need for comprehensive wealth structuring solutions for internationally-active families. It’s clear that security and confidentiality are really important to them, and there are still genuine concerns about compliance with international transparency initiatives. Jersey can play a pivotal role here going forward.”

In South Africa, meanwhile, discussions also focused on diversification within the investment space, pointing to the trend amongst families to move from traditional to alternative investments, such as real estate and private equity, whilst there was also interest in Jersey’s role in supporting social and impact investment.

“There’s a definite appetite amongst South African families to explore other investment options, and diversify a proportion of their wealth by investing in alternative assets outside of their country. Jersey is particularly well practiced in the structuring, servicing and management of alternatives, and we see significant potential for Jersey firms in supporting this drive.”

He added: “This series of events proved really successful, and a number of the firms that formed part of our delegation have since secured business off the back of it. It’s been really useful to strengthen existing relationships and build new ones as we continue to strengthen Jersey’s jurisdictional reputation in an important, dynamic and growing market.  Additionally, this is an activity we plan to build on in 2018.”