At the conference, held in London on 19th March, an audience of senior funds professionals was asked where they saw most growth coming from in the months ahead. 33% of attendees indicated that real estate was the biggest growth area for them, with 27% indicating that they saw most potential in private equity.
Attendees also said they thought most opportunities would come from outside of Europe, with 37% suggesting Asia was the most interesting growth market, closely followed by Africa and Latin America (26% each).
The conference, which attracted an audience of more than 400 leading lawyers, asset managers and other UK-based funds professionals, featured a keynote session from the award winning author and journalist Gillian Tett, who discussed global wealth inequality, and an interview with Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management.
Two panel sessions featured Jersey, UK and global funds and regulatory experts, including Tajinder Singh, Deputy Secretary General, International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). They highlighted that, whilst regulatory moves like the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) are complex, fund managers shouldn't be afraid of regulation and that there are solutions to suit managers’ varying requirements.
Panellists also argued that, despite an onslaught of complex regulation, there is a strong future for alternative asset classes, pointing in particular to the trend for more and more sovereign wealth funds, private clients and family offices looking to alternative investments as part of their portfolio, as well as the more established institutional investors.
Geoff Cook, CEO of Jersey Finance, gave an introduction to the conference indicating that he saw opportunities for Jersey in the face of rising reporting requirements:
“Given Jersey’s specialist expertise in fund governance, we see real opportunities for managers to draw on that and outsource their administration needs to Jersey, to help facilitate increasingly complex reporting requirements under the AIFMD. The response we have had from the international funds community in response to the AIFMD more widely has been really encouraging too. In the run up to the end of the implementation phase in July, we have seen a number of firms relocating to or expanding in Jersey, including Brevan Howard, CVC and Ardian.
“It is interesting that our audience shares our belief in the real estate and private equity market in particular. We are seeing a growing number of real estate funds being structured through Jersey, targeting major UK and continental European property assets, including recent examples involving prime sites in London and Paris. In addition, the largest ever real estate fund to be listed on the London Stock Exchange, the Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate fund, was structured through Jersey, with a capital raise of over £1bn.”
Adding that the number of funds established in Jersey currently stands at over 1,500, the highest level since the crisis began, Geoff continued:
“It was a clear theme from our conference that whilst managers are still cautious about the AIFMD, there are real solutions and Jersey is undoubtedly a very attractive one. Flexibility, expertise and clarity are key for asset managers and, with its ability to offer ongoing AIFMD-compliant private placement into Europe and a non-European regime entirely outside the scope of the AIFMD, we feel Jersey is extremely well placed to support the real state and private equity growth our audience expects.”