Jersey's Finance Industry Records Stellar Performance in 2014
The survey of Financial Institutions released this morning reveals a stellar performance by the Jersey Finance Industry in 2014. Profits rose to £1,470m, an increase of £290m, up 25% on the previous year, and the highest figure achieved in the last five years.1 July 2015
The three main pillars of the industry all saw double digit increases with Banking up 28%, Trust and Company administration up 14% and Legal up 23%. This is the second highest profit figure ever recorded for the industry and just £50m short of the all-time high achieved in 2008.
We had been expecting an uplift in performance given that new business volumes have been building strongly on the back of our entry into new geographical markets and as a result of the dividend we are seeing from new product development initiatives such as the AIFMD 'best of both worlds' funds offering.
There has also been a run off of losses incurred as a result of the financial crisis and the combination of increased investor confidence and our growth initiatives has produced a significant uplift in performance.
Looking at the results in more detail, it is pleasing to see the spill over effects for the wider economy with over £350m spent in Jersey providing vital support for local business, which equates to £1.5m every working day!
From an employment perspective, the total expenditure on employment remained consistent with 2013 to stand at around £720 million, particularly encouraging was that 390 local staff were recruited directly from school or university by the finance industry in 2014, 80 more than 2013 and the highest number recorded since the Survey began in the 1990s.
We began investing dedicated resource in education and skills in 2007 and have worked hard with a number of partners to provide financial services education opportunities on island to attract and retain the best of home grown talent. This programme has seen an increase approaching 100% in the number of school leavers and graduates making a career in the finance industry. We continue to broaden this effort through an adult education project aimed at making employment opportunities available to even more Jersey people.
Of course some will highlight the significant weighting attributed to our banks in the figures, but what is frequently missed is that much of the business conducted by our banks is introduced through the trust, company, funds and legal sectors, creating a very diverse and stable business platform. It is telling that net interest income (income from deposits) for our banks is at the same level it was in 2005, yet banking profits have recovered significantly as a result of diversifying business models and managing costs effectively.
The strategic reviews we have undertaken with London Business School and latterly with McKinsey led to the formulation of a long term strategic plan for our industry, the latest iteration of which contains no less than 21 initiatives designed to keep our competitive position strong. The partnership forged with Government and our Regulator has seen a number these initiatives come to fruition and many others are being actively worked on.
Arguably the greatest positive impact has been seen from the reputational work undertaken, the most prominent being the ground breaking 'Jersey's Value to Britain' report. This research evidenced for the first time that Jersey supports 180,000 jobs in the UK and provides £500bn of vital foreign investment to the UK Economy. Our role as a valuable trading partner is now much better appreciated around the world as a consequence of this work, and has been followed more recently by 'Jersey's Value to Africa'.
We are doing well, but it's a highly competitive world, there are 42 other centres snapping at our heels competing for the same business flows. International competitiveness is key and we must focus on customer needs, on keeping our costs down, and on ensuring we have the right business environment and infrastructure in place.
The outlook is positive, but of course unexpected events can occur at any time. However, we expect performance to continue to build, and profitability and employment prospects to improve further, in line with business performance.
Industry, Government and Regulator have worked hard to deliver this success. We have a world class finance industry in Jersey, and we plan to keep it that way.