The Island has been expanding and evolving its international proposition for many years, informed by a strategic vision that was first set out more than a decade ago. That vision was appreciative of shifting global wealth patterns, the rise of growth markets in the East and uptake in financial and digital solutions around the world.
As a result, today, in this milestone year for the industry, our footprint and our reach as an international finance centre (IFC) is truly global. It is estimated that more than 50% of business in Jersey is now attracted from outside Europe, which reinforces our previous decision to enhance our presence in selected key markets and reflects on Jersey’s evolution as a centre for facilitating global financial flows.
Research that has been undertaken on our industry revealed that Jersey firms manage or administer more than £1.3 trillion of assets, originating from and being put to work in markets all over the globe. To support this cross-border investment expertise that Jersey has consistently demonstrated, Jersey Finance has gradually expanded its overseas operation and now has offices in the DIFC in the Gulf region, London, Hong Kong and New York; representation in Africa; and fly-in models to India and China. Jersey’s global representation in the world’s leading finance centres is truly unique among competitors and has been a further catalyst in attracting business from the key international markets.
Our business development teams remain active connecting with the international investment community, collaborating ever more closely, working across time zones and showcasing Jersey’s global expertise, whilst outlining the positive role we can play both in driving inward investment and supporting investment ambitions abroad.
Despite our widening international footprint, the UK remains our most significant partner where the strong, long-standing relationships between senior finance and legal professionals in the City of London and Jersey service providers should not be underestimated. We work together with City firms and advisers, supporting their growth ambitions, while at the same time facilitating inward and outward investment flows.
The UK outlook has also become far more internationally focused in light of Brexit and – as the UK sets out its stall as a global player outside of the EU – we are seeing increasing workflows across the board, including foundations and other private wealth structures, especially from family offices, through to new fund launches.
It has been two years since we first opened an office in New York and during that time we have raised awareness of Jersey’s capabilities in supporting US fund managers with their European focused capital raising endeavours, acting as a gateway to European markets. We are also seeing our proposition resonate in more diverse areas within the US including corporate structuring, most notably through the rapid growth in special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).
We have been able to demonstrate that Jersey offers a compelling proposition for US managers who are seeking a stable, reliable platform to support their European strategies and we continue to evolve our offering.
For example, the move to amend our limited partnership legislation last year to make it easier to migrate structures from other jurisdictions has been a helpful development enabling US managers to move structures more easily from other jurisdictions. US practitioners, as elsewhere in the world, seek jurisdictions that are known to meet high standards of compliance as required by the global standard setters such as the OECD. Jersey’s route to market is also well established, our substance rules are in place and we are consistently compliant with international standards of transparency and cooperation. It helps give us the edge.
In an exciting move during 2021 we were able to recruit Dr Rufaro Mucheka to bolster our commitment to the African market. A highly experienced wealth management specialist based in Johannesburg, Rufaro is a passionate advocate for the potential development opportunities arising across Africa and I am sure her unique understanding of the African market will help us in further developing relationships across key markets on the African Continent.
Over the coming months – and with the added contribution and insights from Rufaro – we will look to maximise the potential there across Africa’s institutional and private investor market, alongside our well-established private wealth platform.
In the Far East we have also strengthened our presence through the appointment of Maria McDermott, a consultant based in Shanghai. In general terms, Asia has been quick to resurface and show signs of good growth in the wake of the pandemic and building on Maria’s appointment we are focused on tapping into those opportunities, both in the private wealth and especially funds and corporate sectors.
While the links between Asia and Jersey have traditionally been strong through private wealth structuring, there is a trend for more of these families to set up their own alternative funds and with Jersey’s existing strengths, there has been a natural gravitation for Asian fund managers to turn to Jersey as a domicile for alternative investment funds.
The Gulf remains a major market for Jersey firms and our level of personnel in this region has also been boosted. Faizal Bhana, Jersey Finance’s director for the Middle East, Africa and India, has been joined by An Kelles, who relocated from Hong Kong to Dubai to take up the role of Director in the GCC.
As the private client and family office sector becomes increasingly more sophisticated in the region, Jersey’s close commercial ties with key jurisdictions, its robust regulation and the expertise we offer from a wide understanding of client objectives in the Gulf, ensures we continue to drive up recognition for our role in the region. Notably, Jersey’s capabilities and expertise in Islamic finance add a particular appeal by providing the necessary framework to support Shariah compliant structures – and not only in the private wealth sector. With a growing interest in private equity and real estate opportunities across the GCC, Jersey’s ability to support the regulation of Islamic finance products positions it perfectly. This, alongside Jersey’s global distribution capabilities, puts us in a strong position to meet Middle Eastern investors’ strategic and global needs.
One of the features of the work of Jersey Finance has been the commissioning of studies and research reports, which help identify trends and the role of IFCs in various global markets. This year, we are undertaking new research designed to shed further light on Shariah-compliant structuring in the private wealth market. More studies are planned, including one that will examine the value that Jersey adds to global investment chains, which I am sure will provide further insight into the positive value Jersey adds to international markets and also illustrate the increasingly broad reach Jersey has around the world.
Jersey has not developed into a world class IFC without working in partnership with many stakeholders at home. Alongside the Government of Jersey, the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC), Digital Jersey, Locate Jersey and Jersey Finance Member firms, we have worked hard on a joint strategy to ensure that Jersey has a financial services ecosystem that is well placed for a long and prosperous future as one of the world’s leading IFCs.
Collaboration has brought results and Jersey’s finance industry has become an increasingly significant cog in the global economy, helping manage and administer in excess of £1.3 trillion of global assets. In these uncertain times, driven by the impact of COVID-19, we are playing our part in helping the world economy move forward, able to channel capital where it is most needed in the world. More than that, Jersey has a responsibility to leverage its expertise and capital to support the transition to an environmentally friendly and socially sustainable global economy, a goal that is gathering momentum at an accelerated rate, as the industry pivots towards greener investments in response to the shifting ambitions of the international investment community.
The recognition we have earned as an award-winning IFC, as a reputable centre for private wealth and fund servicing, as an innovative digital hub and increasingly as a centre of excellence for sustainable finance, is supporting our drive to win new business for Jersey from all over the world.