For more than a decade, building on the understanding of Jersey’s proposition for financial services beyond its own shores has played a fundamental part in industry growth, as well as creating awareness among international players of the sophisticated offering provided on Island.
Notably, recent geopolitical and economic events have served to reinforce that proposition with one of the cornerstones of Jersey’s reputation – stability – taking on further resonance when set against a backdrop of considerable uncertainty.
Yet, while broadening our reach and expanding our product offering to stay ahead of the rapid developments in both the fintech and ESG spaces, we are aware that we must not be complacent regarding the focus on our traditional markets, especially at a time of increasing complexity in how international finance centres (IFCs) operate.
Our symbiotic approach, however, has long been a safeguard against any such complacency and that is why we continue to work closely with the Government of Jersey, the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC), Digital Jersey, Locate Jersey and Jersey Finance Member firms to ensure a joined-up approach that anticipates the headwinds while maximising any opportunities on the horizon.
New Shores, New Opportunities
Extending our global reach has really come to the fore over the last 12 months. Almost a year ago, we appointed our first ever business development director to Singapore and with that appointment established a permanent presence in the region.
This appointment coincided with the 10-year anniversary of Jersey signing a double taxation agreement with what is today the world’s third largest IFC.
Over that decade, the Jersey authorities have worked hard to build closer ties with their counterparts in Singapore and to work alongside a jurisdiction that prides itself on the same commitment to delivering excellent client service.
It is worth noting that Jersey and Singapore are two IFCs that have been successful in creating a specialist proposition for international investors. It is an offering built on demonstrating the highest standards in financial services, supported by a framework of proportionate regulatory standards which have been endorsed internationally and independently.
This was a significant step forward for our Asia strategy and builds on the considerable success we have had in forging stronger connections in Greater China over the years through our Hong Kong and China offices.
Establishing such a presence in the border ASEAN region offers distinct opportunities for Jersey to support investors in the region and offer new international solutions, in particular regarding access to European markets, while also driving growth and job creation at home.
It is worth adding that such opportunities are mutually beneficial, a fact that was borne out in research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research into Global Value Chains, which quantified the full extent of our Island’s global economic footprint through the metrics of GDP, employment and jobs.
For Asia alone – including the Middle East – the capital intermediated through Jersey equates to £46 billion of the region’s GDP each year and supports in excess of 2.4 million jobs.
That same research found that, on average, Jersey intermediates £1.4 trillion of capital each year, supporting £170 billion of global economic output, 5.1 million jobs worldwide and £73 billion in associated wages.
The headline figures show that the UK remains the most significant destination of capital, with Jersey’s financial services sector supporting an annual average of £62 billion of UK GDP, representing approximately 2.9% of total UK output. As far as individual continents are concerned, Europe is the most dominant for impact through capital deployment, followed by Asia (including the Middle East) and North America, then Oceania and South America.
Consequently, we remain committed to those long-standing connections and it is why we continue to draw sizeable crowds at our flagship private wealth conference and funds focus events in London.
However, we also aim to build our visibility in those other key markets through event activity and relationship building. We began focussing on our pan-Atlantic relationships some years ago, for instance and last year embarked on our first US roadshow, taking in new cities such as Miami, San Francisco and Chicago.
That decision proved to be a sound one, as the number of US-originated fund structures has grown 61% since we opened our New York office some four years ago, whilst the value of US fund assets under management serviced in Jersey has risen by 22%, according to Monterey.
Meanwhile, in the Middle East region, we held a number of events including a women in leadership series and a private wealth conference in Dubai, which drew a full crowd.
Our global markets approach also took our team to South Africa with events in Johannesburg and Cape Town, where we met with the prime minister of Rwanda as part of the Commonwealth Business Forum, held in the country and we visited Kenya to host a roundtable event focussed on better understanding of and tackling financial crime.
We are mindful that to keep moving forward we must have an offering fit for the future and so we continually work to ensure it remains just that, from realising our ambition to be the easiest jurisdiction to transact with, to being a leading jurisdiction for sustainability and offering competitive structures to support investors.
It is, however, the stalwarts of our proposition that are currently currying noticeable favour. Jersey’s stability, certainty, impressive experience and expertise and high quality regulatory and legislative framework remain highly attractive, particularly during times of prolonged uncertainty, the like of which we find ourselves in now.
Such traits mean that the doors to our business development directors based on the ground in London, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the US are always open – so much so that last year they met with close to 5,500 professionals between them, all wishing to hear more on what Jersey has to offer.
Such global connectivity is unrivalled by other jurisdictions of a similar size, evidencing Jersey’s impact on the international stage and ability to play a significant part in supporting the world economy to move forward.