A year into my role as Business Development Director for South East Asia at Jersey Finance, the time has come to pause, reflect, and look forward to the horizons ahead. I joined Jersey Finance in September 2022 as part of the expansion of Jersey Finance’s global presence to Singapore and the wider South East Asia region.

Jersey has an established presence in Asia for decades. Jersey firms have worked with counterparts and clients in mainland China, and since 2009 in Hong Kong SAR. Expanding Jersey’s presence to Singapore and the wider South East Asia region this year was a natural next step. The days of one international finance centre being suitable for every client are history, which is why our strategy focusses on how the complementary relationship between Jersey and Singapore can deliver better customer propositions within offshore finance.

Having had extensive business and corporate finance experience in the Asian markets means I am well-equipped to champion Jersey’s international finance centre (IFC) to key professionals in the private wealth, funds and capital markets sectors in Singapore. To me, successful business development must create added value by identifying and fostering business opportunities in the region I work in, as well as with my colleagues in the wider business development team. Together, the knowledge derived from our relationships in the industry, will support how we market Jersey’s IFC effectively with regionally tailored messaging.

Building cross-border bridges

Between engagements with Singapore-based finance professionals, Jersey Finance hosted and co-hosted a number of exclusive events to raise the profile of Jersey’s international finance centre in the South East Asia region.

In the private wealth space, Jersey Finance, in collaboration with law firm Bedell Cristin, hosted three exclusive private wealth roundtable events to provide technical insights into trust structures and wealth management opportunities for HNW and UHNW clients.

The first event in March introduced attendees to Jersey’s Trust Law, offering a deep dive into the advantages and intricacies of utilising Jersey trust structures for wealth preservation and succession planning. In May, the second event allowed participants to discuss the differences between trust law in Jersey, Singapore and the British Virgin Islands. The series concluded in October, with a focus on recent litigation cases involving Jersey and Singapore trusts. These events underscored the increasing interest in Jersey trust structures among Singapore intermediaries, highlighting Jersey’s growing prominence in the private wealth landscape.

In June, Jersey Finance hosted two ‘Spotlight on Funds’ events in Singapore. In my discussions with intermediaries in South East Asia, they tell me that Jersey structures are frequently used by sovereign wealth funds and Singapore-regulated fund managers for the purpose of undertaking investments into UK real estate.

This funds-focussed event series was a great opportunity to delve deeper into how Jersey’s well-established model offers clear advantages to Singapore-based fund managers, introduce Jersey’s fund regime including how to structure a Jersey fund, and the potential tax benefits of using Jersey structures. It was helpful to have Jersey Finance’s Head of Funds, Elliot Refson, join me at the events because he was able to provide a timely update on the newly-amended legislation of Jersey Limited Liability Companies (LLCs).

A final highlight from me first year with Jersey Finance has to be WeChat. I am an avid user of WeChat, being based in Asia, so I was very excited to hear that Jersey Finance launched a WeChat official account in 2022. It has been a particularly useful channel for me when I meet new business contacts in the region because the account is home to all our Asia-focussed content; I believe having this account is instrumental in promoting Jersey in Asia. Despite the primary audience being mainland China, the account has been a pivotal resource for finance intermediaries seeking informative content about Jersey’s proposition for the Asia market.

Looking ahead

Looking at future opportunities in South East Asia for Jersey firms, there is something to be said about Jersey’s role in supporting inbound UK investment for Malaysian investors and capital market transactions. It was a topic that came up in March and September when I was joined by Jersey Finance’s Global Head of Business Development, Allan Wood, in Malaysia to undertake scoping work for Jersey Finance to expand its presence there.

Takeaways from this work highlighted the deep appreciation of the expertise that Jersey’s IFC offers and has built over decades, as well as how valued Jersey’s economic and political stability is for investors in that region. Next year, I look forward to strengthening my connections within Malaysia and facilitating meaningful relationships with Jersey firms who have an interest in the country.

For the rest of 2023, my plan is to further expand my network of key industry contacts across South East Asia through events, webinars and one-to-one meetings. To find out more about our upcoming activity, with us to receive our regional newsletter, or get in touch.