Many will know Richard from his time at Jersey Finance, which promotes Jersey as an international finance centre of excellence. For several years he was Deputy Chief Executive of Jersey Finance, joining as Global Head of Business Development after leaving Barclays, where he was a director within the wealth and investment management division.
Richard helped provide support to members of Jersey Finance in a number of international growth markets, developing close working relationships with a range of industry stakeholders. Richard said: “There were two key elements to my role at Jersey Finance. One of them was supporting our external efforts and interacting with media and other channels where we could convey our message of being a well-regulated internationally cooperative financial centre. So that was the deputy chief executive hat that I had, where I’d support or stand in for Geoff [Cook] in media and conference engagements but then on a day-to-day basis I was leading our business development effort across global markets Jersey identified as most relevant to our growth and the global economy.”
Richard explained that key markets such as the GCC, Africa and Asia were an important focus: “The GCC is an attractive market for Jersey. It’s a hub of very strong wealth creation, there are very low barriers to capital coming out of the GCC and investing into other markets. Also, Jersey plays an important role in carrying that sort of capital from areas of surplus into areas of opportunity. Important sectors to have benefitted from this cross-border investment would be UK & European real estate and infrastructure projects whether directly or through alternative investment fund managers.
“Beyond that, Jersey Finance has made a strong effort to grow its awareness and recognition in Africa. Several sub-Saharan African markets of South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, are important gateways from an east, west and south African context, each very different in terms of their characteristics as economies. This again is where Jersey will be well-placed to help with capital making that journey.
“Also Asia, where from a presence in Hong Kong, Jersey Finance is keen to reach out to advisors and clients across those markets to ensure we can help them structure new-found wealth, helping them invest into opportunities in UK and European markets.
“So that was the most important part of my role at Jersey Finance, it was growing our market recognition in those areas. Again doing that through a great team of people embedded in those markets or flying out to those markets on a regular basis, to build good, long-standing relationships with professional advisors and reach into their client base and make them aware of what Jersey has to offer.”
Having gained extensive experience in banking and the private sector, Richard hopes to draw upon his understanding of international markets to convey Jersey’s key attributes, highlighting why it is a unique jurisdiction and what it offers the international business and investment communities.
“My current responsibilities in government are for financial services, digital economy and enterprise. Within that enterprise category we cover competition and also innovation which are sort of crosscutting strategies that affect different sectors of the economy. Jersey’s financial and professional services proposition is strong and if it is to remain strong, we must embrace digitisation and find new ways to deliver our insights and capabilities. With financial services and digital in particular, because we’ve had a very strong financial services sector for very many years, that centre is digitising. Therefore understanding the effects of digitisation on our legacy sector and ensuring that we embrace that as government and provide the right environment in which digital businesses can flourish, both to support financial services but in some areas to replace or intermediate financial services, is clearly important as we look at some of the new entrants to the market in fintech and regtech.
“I work as part of the Chief Minister’s Department and the Chief Minister has the lead responsibility for these policy areas of financial services, digital and enterprise. So I’m the lead officer in terms of making sure that we deliver the right supporting policies and legislation towards these sectors and in doing so, see that is aligned to the strategic plan of government here and ensuring a sustainable growth of our economy, development of skills on the Island and offering the widest possible employment and job advancement opportunities to our community. I couldn’t possibly do it single-handedly, so I have a great team of people working around me. Individuals working in the role of lead policy advisor will pick up specific areas of financial services such as the funds offering, private wealth, banking and importantly, Jersey’s governmental-led response on the agenda for identifying and prosecuting financial crime. I then have policy leads across the digital and enterprise areas as well.
“Certainly digital is more of an emerging sector. We published our Digital Policy Framework earlier in 2017 to indicate the enabling environment we wished to create across a number of areas such as cyber security. So we already have, as I think you commented in previous publications, a fantastic gigabit Internet service across the entire Island. We’re nearing completion of that rollout and will embrace new technology such as 5G as an early adopter, to make sure our environment is at the leading edge of jurisdictions of our kind.”
Richard explained that the financial services policy framework, the cyber security strategy, the digital policy framework and the regulatory and competition framework review action plan, constitute his team’s initial work: “It really is a cross-government effort – and I’ll talk specifically about my team and the role they play – but at the very heart it’s no accident that the Chief Minister has policy responsibility for financial services, as it is our largest single economic sector.
“In a variety of international markets Jersey is known as a strong international financial centre. We haven’t delivered that recognition by accident. It’s come about through policy aimed directly towards the financial services sector and the quality of the laws and regulations we’ve enacted over time. This includes innovative and pioneering laws such as our Trusts Law of 1984, which has been the model for other trust jurisdictions around the world.
“Also, the approach we’ve taken on our funds sector to offer third country market access to European investors. If that business is going to be conducted here we need to create the right environment, so that’s around quality of infrastructure and particularly the quality of talent that’s available to financial services and professional services firms here in the Island. Clients gravitate to where there are good people, deep talent pools that can look after client interests in the long term. That therefore involves the work of our education department in terms of not just turning out bright young people into our jobs market but making sure they are well prepared for the world of work in terms of skills and balance of qualifications they’ve acquired through either secondary or tertiary education, or perhaps via a more professional route of obtaining qualification in accountancy, law and other sectors.
“More widely in government, the Ministry of External Relations look after Jersey’s international identity with foreign countries and with the UK itself – our most important single relationship by far – but also some of our relationships with international bodies such as the OECD. Jersey has been highly rated by the OECD over many years and again our process of engagement in the OECD programme of work is very important. We’ve had involvement as one of the vice chairs of the OECD’s Global Forum Peer Review Group on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes in 2013 and now vice chair of the Global Forum Working group on Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) for example.
“So there’s cross-government effort, aside from the work of my own department, which is more around delivery of policy and legislation, which either maintains or helps to advance Jersey’s position in those markets. Some of the legislation we’ve worked on over the past year includes the introduction of our Bank Recovery and Resolution Law, following a lead of other jurisdictions internationally in the aftermath of the global financial crisis to make the banking sector safer for those who use it and ease resolutions in the event of a bank suffering a period of significant stress. Rather than seeing that bank fail there are a range of other measures that can be taken by a resolution authority to try and ensure a bank continues or if it should fail, it has minimum impact on customers, investors and the financial system.
“Some of the more innovative work we’ve done has been around developing our charities law, which will help fuel Jersey’s reputation as a centre for philanthropic activity. That’s led to the appointment of a Charities Commissioner, which shows serious commitment to how we bring together a modern framework that supports philanthropy both locally and across borders.
“So the team itself, in terms of how it’s structured, we have lead policy advisors across each of these areas. Often they come from a legal background because they’re working with the law on a day-to-day basis. They will cover key areas of our financial economy, so banking, funds, private wealth structuring and an overarching approach to how government deals with financial and economic crime. We’ve made some very significant commitments on that agenda.
“Most recent is the commitment to exchange beneficial ownership information with the UK. We are able to fall back on a register of beneficial ownership that’s been held in the Island here for the best part of 30 years. We verify beneficial ownership information, we hold that securely but it’s information that we can share with law enforcement authorities through proper gateways. That’s an important commitment from us to helping other countries fight financial and economic crime where it exists. We’ve always had a policy of cooperation on these matters and with the UK being our strongest relationship, it’s entirely appropriate that the first agreement on exchange of beneficial ownership information was signed with the UK. Looking forward, we await the emergence of a global standard in much the same manner that the Common Reporting Standard has set an international norm for sharing tax information.
“Key amongst our initial tasks has been making sure we have the right balance between continuing to maintain our reputation, with a commitment around the tax and transparency agenda and sharing of beneficial ownership information, including commencement of our National Risk Assessment, which is an important part of identifying the necessary safeguards to ensure ongoing compliance with the financial action taskforce recommendations on AML and CFT. So we prioritise that in one area but then there’s also those things that we do more from a developmental perspective around helping to modernise parts of the jurisdiction, to codify certain legal decisions where we think they bring greater clarity and certainty to people that want to use Jersey.
“We’re currently working on the seventh package of amendments to our trust law since 1984. We’re also working on Companies 11, which is a similar package of measures to keep our company’s law where we want it to be internationally in terms of respect and recognition. We’re considering a new LLC product for limited liability companies because of significant market demand, particularly in the US.”
Another area that has engaged Richard and his team, has been supporting enhancement of the Island’s funds regime that helps underpin Jersey’s highly successful funds sector: “Moving Jersey’s private fund structure was an important simplification of the funds regime here and was a recognition that the kind of investors that are wanting to use private funds structures, don’t necessarily value high levels of regulation. They’re sophisticated in their own outlook, have the ability to identify the right managers for their capital, to assess the kind of investment opportunities they want to be exposed to through those managers, negotiate with those managers the basis of investment, whether through a conventional blind pool structure or as more of a co-investor with the manager. These are institutions, pension funds, endowments and foundations from around the world that are very sophisticated in their outlook. So applying a retail level of protection and regulation to them is detrimental to their interest of creating returns for their investors. Whilst it’s important there’s some control and structure around the way the fund is established and managed on an ongoing basis, it’s very different to the level of regulation a fund would need for safeguarding retail investors.
“It has gone very well and we’ve got over 40 of the new Jersey Private Funds already in place. So from a standing start back in April we’ve made rapid progress getting new Jersey Private Funds onto the book. And more widely Jersey’s had some very significant new fundraisings during the course of 2017 – mainly from large global managers raising capital from international institutional investors – using Jersey as a platform.”
Given Jersey’s position as one of the world’s premier IFCs and the economic importance of the sector, support of the Island’s finance industry is a significant part of Richard’s role. Part of his remit is to ensure Ministers are advised on proposed legislative changes and that policies concerning international issues and developments relating to Jersey’s financial services industry, gain widespread exposure: “The communication happens at a variety of levels, as we engage actively through the regulator and Jersey Finance to make sure an upcoming policy and legislative agenda is well understood.
“Our people have a pretty good understanding of where our priorities are going to be over the next 12 months and where we need to work with industry and the regulator to bring those about. We’ll go through a process of understanding what the policy objective is. There’s a process then of consultation with interested parties, the opportunity for them to feed back through working groups and trade associations here. We have the Jersey Funds Association, Jersey Bankers Association and Jersey Association of Trust Companies and we receive consolidated feedback from them, as well as Jersey Finance.
“All this activity ensures the law of unintended consequences is minimised, that we’ve properly thought through situations that may arise and considered those well ahead of time so that when we eventually produce draft legislation for consultation, it’s as close to the finished article as it reasonably can be but is then subject to further consultation and ultimately we converge on a final version.
“We also have to communicate across government to ensure legislation is human rights compliant. We have a process of scrutiny of new laws and policies where members of our States Assembly will look carefully to ensure what we’re doing is appropriate for the Island and makes sound economic and social sense for the jurisdiction.
“All of that combined means we have a very active communication programme with the industry regulator, other government departments, elected members of our States Assembly and international standard setters as well. We’re not going to subscribe to measures that boost the economy but are detrimental to our reputation because reputation’s the one thing you preserve at all costs.”
Regular contact between government, industry and the regulator has clearly helped facilitate the development of appropriate new legislation when required over the years, ensuring formulation of future strategies is as inclusive as possible. Jersey has been effective in constructing systemic consultation towards realising integrated strategies, with the close proximity between organisations on the Island itself inevitably enhancing levels of communication and cooperation, not only formally but also informally. Richard said: “I think in terms of government working closely with key stakeholders, we produce better policy and legislation and achieve better outcomes together. Now within that you’re going to have disagreement at times and you’ll need to converge on solutions to make sure that what we’re doing is an aggregate in everyone’s collective interest.
“I think there’s a key advantage in being small – if you are looking at elements that make us successful – which confers a degree of agility upon us. There’s familiarity, particularly where it’s appropriate and there’s also some healthy tension in those relationships as well. We don’t agree on everything and it’s good to have those discussions actively, it contributes to better decision making. So it would be entirely wrong for government to sit and pronounce on matters, ignorant of what the views of the regulator or industry might be. If we want a strong, sustainable, vibrant economy here, we need to get all of those measures right. So far we’ve been able to do that effectively and that’s key for me in terms of holding the baton at this point in time, making sure we can continue to do that and deliver a good quality enabling environment for financial services.”
Richard feels it is important to proactively engage with relevant organisations beyond the Island’s shores towards maintaining and enhancing Jersey’s reputation, remaining responsive to internationals initiatives, tax and legislative changes that may impact its financial industry: “As I touched on earlier, we’ve historically had that vice chairman role of the OECD Global Forum, which has helped us develop our framework over time although recently passed the baton on. In November 2017, Jersey received a compliant rating from the OECD, which is the highest rating available.
“We’ve had our Council of Europe MONEYVAL assessment, the outcome of which was announced early 2016. The Council of Europe has created MONEYVAL to deal with European geographic centres outside the direct membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). So IFCs like ours are assessed by the Council against the 49 FATF recommendations. I was delighted to see us rated as either compliant or largely compliant on 48 of the 49 recommendations in our last MONEYVAL assessment.
“MONEYVAL will be visiting again in 2021. We already have a programme of work to deal with that assessment and one element we’ve just kicked off is the National Risk Assessment, where we go through a self-assessment methodology to identify where there is risk in our financial system. That again is an effort across government, the regulator, the industry. We’ve adopted the World Bank model for National Risk Assessment, so there’s some work we’ll be doing with the World Bank over the next 12 to 24 months around the effective implementation of their self-assessment model. We’re then looking at outputs from that and if there are changes we need to make from a policy/legislative standpoint, we’ll put those into our work programme and make sure those measures are effective well ahead of the MONEYVAL assessment.”
With Jersey’s digital sector offering a great deal of potential, Richard is keen to show the Island provides an ideal environment for innovators and entrepreneurs to make their mark as the sector develops: “Digital is an important sector for us. We’ve got a digital industry that spans telecoms, IT and startup businesses producing content – the digital content providers. There’s diversity there. We want strong foundations to build the sector and that’s about government creating the right policy environment for the sector to flourish.
“We, like everyone else, look at research on the impact of digitisation on the jobs market. So artificial intelligence in robotics is very much badged as the fourth industrial revolution. It would be foolish of government to think that Jersey can escape that fourth industrial revolution.
“The idea of creating a digital economy is in part defensive, because digital is impacting the delivery of financial services, our biggest economic sector. Some of that is helping to provide choice of channel to clients that use a service provider.
“With changes that we’ve seen for example in banking – that has impacted jobs in banking on a global basis over recent years – forecasts say that will continue. As banks become more digitalised they will need less people and there’ll be a higher degree of automation in some banking services. We need to be mindful of that and think in terms of impact on a labour market here and pleased that the nature of business we do in Jersey is quite high touch business and therefore it’s more difficult to commoditise, automate and digitise.
“Clients will still value dealing with a trusted advisor that has real expert knowledge but also importantly, empathy. Artificial intelligence will create and distribute intelligent solutions, what it lacks at the moment is emotional intelligence. And the quality of talent we have here and their ability to interact with clients in very complex situations, means emotional intelligence is something we need to be focused on in how we deal with combating threats posed by digital developments, whilst making sure we embrace opportunities that digital can provide and offering the right environment for new entrant to come into the market.”
The traditional strengths of Jersey as a leading finance centre and its highly skilled and flexible workforce, has led to the Island creating an attractive environment for the development of fintech, ideal for incubating innovative ideas. Richard said: “Fintech and regtech are important areas, so we are making sure we look at the right policies towards those areas. For government it’s more about creating the policy environment in which people can come, execute their business model and I think we have to recognise particularly the area of fintech and that many startups don’t get to a point of long-term viability. There will be casualties but by embracing new entrants to the market and allowing them to operate in a sandbox-type environment up to a particular level, gives them the chance to prove their business model without undue risk on the financial services economy or the consumer.
“The regulator may choose not to fully supervise a firm to create that kind of sandbox environment. The ability of the regulator to either hold back from full supervision or create a conditioned supervisory licence, allows businesses to come in and test the market to that point, rather than being subject to full regulation from day one, which may choke off the appetite to come here and try something out. So it’s making sure we manage risks but create the environment in which innovation can flourish.”
As well as creating an environment conducive to attracting investment in the digital sector, Jersey is delivering support that innovative businesses and entrepreneurs involved in developing digital technologies, require: “What we’ve often looked to do is get the seeds of an idea from an entrepreneur and be able appropriately signpost to them ways the idea can gain support. Whether that support is in terms of constructive challenge, finding providers that may be aligned to it or have an interest in that idea or technology, finding investors that may be interested in providing seed capital to get things moving and obviously providing later-stage investing. We work with Digital Jersey in that sector and also Jersey Business, as both are able to provide advice to both startups and established businesses around how they move to the next level.
“On the Digital Jersey side we’ve created an environment called The Hub, a drop-in point for tech startups where they can hot desk at a nominal cost. It gives them a base, a network of people they can bounce things off, rather than having to commit early on to dedicated IT and office space.
“Obviously as a business grows it needs people and something we’ve recognised is Jersey has a shortage of skills in this area. We see a shortage of these skills in the UK and that’s why the traditional free movement of people within Europe has meant that tech entrepreneurs from all over Europe have chosen London as a startup hub. Indeed tech investors much further afield have chosen London. So we want to position Jersey in the right way. We do not have the talent pool available to us that the UK, Singapore, Silicon Valley or Tel Aviv have but we can create the right enabling environment to grow our own tech sector in a meaningful way that’s probably modest in international terms. And that’s about allowing the inward migration of talent and skills from other markets. So we’ve worked with Digital Jersey to make sure the right support exists around licensing those that want to move to the Island to develop ideas in this sector.”
“We’re working to make sure Digital Jersey is appropriately supported and funded to enable it to grow the digital sector in a sustainable fashion.
“We have to recognise that in a relatively new sector such as digital, there may be one or two false dawns. You might find you’re driven into a cul-de-sac, so what we want to do is identify if that’s what we’ve done soon and be able to change direction or even reverse our course. So this isn’t about having a very fixed strategy that we’re executing, it’s really about having a range of options that, depending how things develop, we’re able to offer opportunity.
“We’re looking closely at the whole idea about the Internet of Things (IoT). Whilst we rely heavily on our mobile devices for a range of tasks today, IoT is a new chapter where devices, sensors, home appliances etc will talk to each other and exchange data. Opportunities for practical application are diverse and Jersey needs to embrace the technology and seek out a share of the spoils.
“Flexibility is key, remaining adaptable and then seeing how these different applications may or may not develop and supporting Digital Jersey within an enabling environment, towards introducing these applications. We don’t have to be at the leading edge of everything, adopting a position of fast follower is perfectly viable for us. That offers some great opportunities in terms of using Jersey as a testbed for new technology.
“We’re open to ideas, open to people coming in to explore and execute those ideas and we’re creating the right supporting infrastructure for them. Through the likes of Digital Jersey and Jersey Business, through Jersey Finance if it’s fintech, through the regulator if it’s regtech. We’re making sure the different moving parts of Jersey PLC, are tuned into the opportunities and the challenges that digitisation presents.”
As the Jersey Government plans new strategies for telecoms and cyber security, Richard emphasised the importance of Jersey’s digital policy framework remaining compliant with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for maintaining access to the European economic area: “From my perspective the digital policy framework is best described as a skeletal structure. The digital policy framework is really broad in terms of ambition and policy direction, with the intention that we would hang more definition onto that through individual strategies over time. For example our cyber security strategy. If you can create the best possible environment by way of cyber security, you become an attractive place to do business. Coupled with that is your ability to collect data, hold data, process data and that’s where you get into the EU GDPR regulation and how Jersey responds to that. So that sits within my team as a very important policy commitment from us to be able to deliver an equivalent – rather than necessarily an identical – regime for GDPR.
Aside from the Paradise Papers illustrating some of the consequences of a breach in security for client confidentiality, the need to ensure systems hold data securely is a prerequisite for financial services providers. In terms of resilience and cybersecurity, Jersey has a good track record in defending against potential risks and is developing its infrastructure to maintain the robust integrity of its systems in the face of increasingly sophisticated cybercrime. Richard said: “I think there is a strong awareness of cyber risk, as Jersey holds a lot of data on people that do business here. We’re on the verge of being a very well-regulated environment by virtue of having a central register of beneficial ownership, yet we are ourselves open to cyber risk. So it’s about awareness, it’s about building the right defences, not just the right defences in terms of systems’ capability but also people capability as well.
“So it’s awareness, it’s defence and behaviour. It’s making sure there’s adequate investment in that area, so you would think about financial regulators, with your FSC looking at how a business conducts itself, how it looks after its clients. An important element there is how it looks after its client’s interests more widely, so how do they collect, hold and manage client data? Are they doing that securely, are they giving sufficient priority to cyber security? So it’s all of those elements and then more widely it’s looking at our critical infrastructure here.
“In 2016 we lost some of the connectivity on telecoms but that was restored almost immediately because we have strong resilience. That’s why a lot of businesses have head offices here and also use Jersey as their recovery or business continuity site for other locations. They’re confident that they have the right infrastructure here to be able to keep the business moving.
“Then the final element for us on cyber is about building the right relationships with counterparts. So we work closely with the National Cyber Security Centre in the UK and we have a growing relationship with the French Cyber Security Centre based in Rennes.”
Following the results of the consultation on Jersey’s Cyber Security Strategy, Richard is confident that the results will serve to further strengthen cyber resilience in the Island, increasing skills and capability, whilst encouraging greater involvement from the cyber security industry: “Cybercrime has become more and more sophisticated, so the challenge isn’t reducing. Therefore it has to mean stronger resilience and a greater focus in this area over time. The focus of the regulator is to ensure that firms are preparing themselves appropriately to manage cyber risk. So from our perspective, Jersey’s Cyber Security Strategy has and will deliver in those areas.”
Richard’s responsibilities with regard to ensuring effective competition in Jersey, has been striking the right balance towards maintaining open markets and its overall competitiveness as a centre. Progress in this area has recently been enhanced following publication of the draft Jersey Regulatory and Competition Framework Review: Action Plan: “It’s important in any developed jurisdiction to have effective competition to basically make markets work effectively. To achieve that you need to consider what’s the policy aim? How best is that delivered? Is it through regulation or other means, for example conditioning the licences of companies that operate in that sector?
“Do we need to regulate competition in banking locally? No, because we’re satisfied the way that the banking market operates on the whole, there’s effective competition across different areas of service provision. There’s other sectors where you may find there’s a narrow concentration of providers or indeed a monopoly provider. You can’t create competition and therefore you have to effectively regulate the service provision in some way, so that monopoly position isn’t being abused and doesn’t turn towards anti-competitive behaviour in terms of deliberately trying to keep new entrants out of the market.
“An example is our ferry services. I think it’s a reality that an island of this size that has typically one or two crossings a day to France and two to three crossings a day to the UK for passengers and freight, is actually very well-served by the ferry operator. So what is there to be gained by incentivising a second operator on that route? One might argue it brings prices down but it depends on the demand on the route. So you have to think very carefully what you want to do and how best to achieve it. The situation we have at the moment is making sure that while we have a single provider on the route that there’s no barrier to somebody new coming in. That would apply across other sectors, the energy markets, the retail sector and so on.
“Our Regulatory and Competition Framework Review was a means of informing government about its policies towards effective competition in the Island and helping us work with the competition regulator who’s done a very effective job. Ultimately that helps keep an appropriate lid on the cost of doing business in the Island, cost of living, the cost of structuring your business here. All important considerations about your overall competitiveness as a centre.
“We want to have open markets. At the airport, we’ve had an open skies policy there and that’s allowed for a flourishing route network to build in comparison to other small islands of our kind.
“Also, it isn’t always necessarily about the government’s view of competition, because consumers won’t be slow in letting us know if somebody’s charging excessively or has a position of market dominance. Those that follow consumer interests closely, like the Jersey Consumer Council, will advocate on behalf of citizens and businesses to say we think this part of the market isn’t quite working as it should, we would like it looked at. So as part of our relationship with the competition regulator here, we will look at their proposed work priorities for 2017/2018 and offer input to that process based on what we’re seeing and hearing from politicians, from the public and businesses, to ensure an appropriate programme to keep effective competition in our markets.”
Although Richard and his team have hit the ground running, he does not see the tempo of activity slowing down: “I think that the pace at the moment is breakneck speed across all areas. But that’s good, it’s vibrant, it creates a great environment for people to work within, to learn new skills, to adapt to a rapidly changing world around us. In some ways you’d like to be able to draw a breath but there’s an enjoyment about the pace, the breadth of work that we’re involved in.
“With financial services, I want to see us continue to protect the great reputation the Island has for financial services. The trust that international investors and businesses place in the Island as a location to do business in, we want to maintain that. We want to ensure we continue to offer growth, both economic growth and advancement opportunities for people here.
“On digital, what I want us to do is to make sure that we’re embracing new technologies, new ideas. And then across enterprise more widely, which is partly competition, partly innovation, it’s making sure that markets continue to work effectively and therefore ensure that Jersey remains a competitive place to do business.
“If they’re unsuccessful because the idea’s not quite got there, we don’t want a stigma attaching to that. We want people to try and fail in a reasonably safe fashion so it doesn’t cause market disruption more widely but equally we want them to be able to get up and create something new. We’re not looking to back the next unicorn specifically in the tech sector but can get the genesis of some ideas there. Indeed there are some of those ideas where technology’s accretive to what we currently do, because technology would be embraced by existing business here. If we need to change we can maybe change from within and create ideas that can be deployed elsewhere as well.”
Richard concluded by outlining fundamental factors that he feels will unpin Jersey’s development in the foreseeable future: “Historically we’ve been seen as well-regulated and internationally cooperative as a financial centre. I think you can apply that in other areas too. It’s appropriate levels of regulation that ensures we’re protecting the interest of those that want to use our jurisdiction, that confers the safety, stability and security of the centre, which are the bedrocks we’ve been built on. But I would like, in say 10 to 20 years’ time, people adding comments like innovative, good place to do business and great talent pool. We’ve got great talent deployed in our financial services sector at the moment and through our education system we’re building and developing some great talent in the digital sector, with coding programmes and so on. There’s a great focus on education. In fact we’ve just released £1.4 million of additional funding to invest in skill in our education system, at all levels, so we help create the right skills for tomorrow.
“So for me it will be about reputation, because reputation really is the acid test for all those other things, quality of talent pool and being forward-looking. I think that will differentiate the winners and losers.”