Jersey has long been synonymous with stability and has built its reputation on offering quality regulation and compliance combined with expert know-how.
Against today’s backdrop, that reputation is paying dividends and our finance sector is healthier than ever. By the end of last year, our funds sector had reached new record highs in terms of assets served, bank deposits in Jersey were stable and corporate activity remained strong.
In addition, Jersey has continued to be a sought-after jurisdiction for private wealth with £1.14 trillion of private capital administered by the sector, supporting £126 billion of global GDP.
We have also long understood the importance of global connectivity in differentiating Jersey as an international finance centre (IFC) and so we have prioritised evolving and diversifying our overseas engagement and events programme to grasp opportunities – most recently through our newly established presence in Singapore – to keep us on the front foot.
Of course, we cannot afford to be complacent. We know that to stay on top of our game we need to innovate, we need to extend our global reach and we need to invest in and grow our on-Island expertise.
Innovating for the Future
One thing that is certain is that the world of international financial services continues to evolve, in line with the ambitions and behaviours of private and institutional investors, businesses and governments. The digital space is one area where this is being played out markedly.
Over the past five years, financial services firms in Jersey have made good progress in pushing themselves up the maturity ladder in terms of technology adoption.
Today we have 3,000 professionals employed in the digital sector in Jersey and 100 digital jobs created each year. We have the expertise on the Island to take advantage of innovation and ensure that we continue to integrate fintech into our overall financial services proposition.
Meanwhile, we have made considerable strides progressing our sustainable finance strategy, launched in 2021, to support our ambition to be a leading jurisdiction in the sector. Bringing together the potential of fintech and sustainable finance is something we are particularly keen to do in Jersey – as was evidenced by hosting our Demo Day this year, which focussed on the application of technology to meet sustainability targets.
In addition, key to our forward-thinking approach has also long been our commitment to producing thought-provoking research.
This activity really does set us apart from other IFCs and over the past year we have maintained this approach – in particular, presenting the findings of our Global Value Chains study to UK parliamentarians. We have also supported research on emerging fund managers, ESG trends, the evolution of fund centres, digital assets and family office investment, to name but a few.
Inclusive and Supportive
While our future will be shaped increasingly by digital tools, ultimately our business remains a people business. We are very mindful that prioritising our people now will give us the foundation for our industry for the next 50 years and help cement our position as a future-fit IFC.
Attracting and retaining talent is at the very top of the list of priorities for finance firms in Jersey this year. In our most recent annual Members Survey, recruitment and skills came out strongly as a theme, with nine out of 10 firms highlighting they would like more to be done to address the anticipated skills gap and eight in 10 wanting better facilitation of education and careers in finance initiatives.
As a result, we have established a new Future-Fit Workforce workstream – a multi-agency approach bringing Jersey Finance and the industry together with the Government and Skills Jersey and identifies key reports on skills-related topics, working groups, current schemes and initiatives as well as relevant ongoing or planned project work taking place in Jersey.
This workstream will ensure we are creating environments where talent can thrive, focussing on closing skills gaps, increasing diversity among the financial services workforce and ensuring that government policies continue to be supportive of talent access, both on and off Island.
The workstream also highlighted the importance of engaging with schools and universities so that we can appeal to individuals at a junior level, which is paramount if we are to secure a sustainable skills base. Although we have done well in this area over the years – more than 3,000 young Islanders have set out on a career in finance over the last decade – we intend to build on this to meet growing demand, in particular by addressing the perception of the industry among this demographic.
We are now coming towards the end of Jersey Finance’s four year business plan, which sets out our vision for the Island’s finance sector as the clear leader for future-focussed global finance.
So, while we will be using this year to ensure the commitments we set out are realised to the greatest extent possible, we will also be looking to the next four years to make sure we build on our achievements and fully grasp opportunities.
Furthermore, working through and managing an important MONEYVAL assessment this year will require a significant joined-up focus from industry, regulator and government.
Effective collaboration, however, has long been one of the distinct advantages of Jersey as a jurisdiction and it is this approach that will stand us in good stead in making sure we can meet any challenges head on and maintain our reputation as a centre of excellence.