Over that time, the industry and the marketplace has changed significantly as investor demands, capital flows, regulatory frameworks, social norms and technology have all shaped what it means to be a modern International Finance Centre (IFC).
What has stayed consistent over that time, though, is Jersey’s ability as a jurisdiction to demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit, innovate and adapt to support high-quality financial flows, as well as its willingness to work with international partners, governments and global standard setters to ensure Jersey has the highest regulatory standards in place – all ideas that will undoubtedly come to the fore over the pages of this publication.
Jersey Finance has changed over the past two decades too. Today we are a truly global organisation with a footprint in key locations thanks to our team of business development directors, whilst we are representing and supporting firms in more ways than ever before, what we understand by the term ‘finance’ has become more and more diverse – we are now, for example, working with firms and partners in areas from Islamic finance and philanthropy, to ESG investing and virtual currencies.
Of course, an ability to adapt has never been as necessary as this year, as the pandemic has forced us all to rethink how we operate and how we deliver services to global clients.
It was already going to be busy in 2020. Right at the beginning of the year, I set out a programme of activity that would see us make a serious commitment to establishing Jersey’s vision as a centre for sustainable finance; launch our inaugural Rising Stars Awards; drive home our digital capabilities; broaden our global reach; assert our strengths as an alternative funds domicile; maintain our commitment to evidence based research; and enhance our family office proposition.
Despite the unprecedented global challenges we have experienced this year, we have achieved all of that, whilst also winning a number of awards along the way, courtesy of Citywealth and Wealthbriefing. The industry has also continued to grow, with for instance the value of funds under administration in Jersey reaching an all-time record high of more than £361 billion.
The clear evidence is that, amidst the global uncertainty, whether that is caused by Brexit, wider geopolitical upheaval or black swan events like COVID-19, Jersey is seen as a beacon of stability and that continues to give investors’ confidence.
Of course, we do not stand still. We are continuing to evolve and make enhancements to our platform in response to global market conditions and we are able to do that very effectively thanks to the unique and positive collaborative model we have established between industry, the Government of Jersey and our regulator, the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC).
The value of that collaboration was evident last year as Jersey brought its economic substance rules into force, measures that subsequently led to the European Union recognising Jersey as a cooperative jurisdiction. Having those substance rules codified in Jersey’s regulatory framework has been hugely significant in exemplifying Jersey’s stance as a responsible, compliant jurisdiction that takes governance and oversight very seriously. Introducing legislative amendments to improve the financial services offering continues to be a focus too and this year amendments were made to Jersey’s Limited Partnership legislation to make migrating such structures from other jurisdictions
much easier. The expectation is that this will prove popular amongst fund managers who are re-assessing their domicile choices, with Jersey able to provide a sensible and attractive solution.
We are also progressing changes to our Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) law, which we anticipate will be an attractive prospect for managers in the US, a market where we are seeing real traction amongst US managers looking to access European capital following the opening of our New York office last year.
The fallout of the pandemic has also underlined the importance of global connectivity, supported by digital capability and in that regard Jersey has already been on the front foot for some time.
Our commitment to developing relationships and working with partners in key international markets has helped us diversify as an industry and maintain a global footprint that is the envy of other IFCs.
We were the first IFC, for example, to open an office in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) to support our growing presence across the Gulf region, whilst the opening of our New York office last year has been instrumental in building our US profile. This is complemented by our offices in Hong Kong and London and our fly-in models to Africa, India and Asia.
The UK, of course, remains a key partner for us and in the context of Brexit, we believe Jersey is in a strong position to play a positive role as the UK develops new international partnerships, while also maintaining a gateway between the UK and the EU thanks to our existing agreements with both.
This global connectivity is backed up by our commitment as a jurisdiction to digital innovation and our aspiration to be the easiest jurisdiction to do business with remotely in a digital world.
We are continuing to develop fintech, wealthtech and regtech solutions to deliver on this ambition, made possible by the growing community of digital experts in the Island and Jersey’s digital infrastructure – including fibre broadband which has been assessed to be the second-fastest in the world this year.
As the world comes to terms with the impact of the pandemic this year on economies and communities, Jersey stands ready, thanks to its global connectivity, to play a positive role in economic recovery, supporting capital flows to make sure investment is put to work where it is needed most.
As this latest edition of Jersey ~ First for Finance illustrates, Jersey’s resilience and its forward-thinking, global approach, means that it is well placed to show strong leadership and support high-quality international investment in a secure, stable environment. Never before have those qualities been so necessary.