The people of Jersey delivered a clear message at the general election in June – they wanted to see change. They called for a government that was in touch with the community and one that was responsive to the challenges that we all face. We now have a new Government, with clear priorities and a vision to act and delver on behalf of Islanders.
It is perhaps telling, however, that Deputy Ian Gorst, whoserved as Minister for Financial Services under the previous Government, was one of the few Ministers to be re-elected. I know that Deputy Gorst has the confidence of the industry – and the public – and I am delighted that he is to continue as the Minister with specific responsibility for Jersey’s financial services industry: a portfolio in which he has a long and strong track record of delivery. He has my full support and that of the entire Government.
The ongoing success of financial services in Jersey is key to underpinning our successful Island economy. We often talk of the need to diversify and have a broader economic base and that is indeed a sentiment and priority which I support. That said, it is important for us all to keep in mind both that an economy must have a strong foundation from which to diversify – which in Jersey’s case is financial services – and that the industry will itself be part of that diversification, with new opportunities open to us through digitalisation and sustainable finance, to name just two areas of potential further development.
The Government which I lead will therefore continue to support, defend and promote financial services, both locally, nationally and in our key markets across the world. As Chief Minister, I will play a full part in this respect. Working alongside Deputy Gorst and Deputy Ozouf as External Relations Minister, I will ensure that the Government remains responsive to the changing needs of the industry, that we work with industry representatives and the regulator to encourage a competitive, agile and customer focused environment. We will speak up for financial services wherever and whenever necessary. Indeed, we will be out in the world making the case for Jersey over the next four years, strengthening our existing market links and seeking out new opportunities, working closely with the industry at all times.
Government’s relations with Jersey Finance will be key in this respect. Jersey Finance has for many years done an excellent job in promoting the industry globally and delivering investment into the Island. Equally, the team at Jersey Finance provide important advice to the Government, to ensure we are continuing to play our role as facilitators of a healthy andresponsive business environment. I look forward to working closely with Jersey Finance and industry representatives more broadly, throughout my term of office.
The new Government stands behind the vision set out in the Financial Services Policy Framework published in December 2021. As the Framework sets out, we start from a solid base, with world-class services in private wealth, funds, capital markets and banking. Building on those core pillars, we will support the digital transformation of the industry, our compliance with global standards and our efforts to become a leading centre for sustainable finance.
Jersey is well placed to take advantage of the digital transformation. Our infrastructure and connectivity is strong, as is our regulatory framework and we are already an attractive place for start-ups. The new Government will continue to work closely with all partners – and especially Digital Jersey – to ensure we utilise fintech and digitalisation as a means of enhancing our products and services for our global customers.
I am especially passionate about the efforts to develop our industry into a world leader for sustainable finance. We have signed up to the goals in the Paris Agreement and we have declared a climate emergency. As a leading international finance centre, we are very well placed to play a leading role in the local and global transition to net zero. Whilst continuing to make all reasonable practical changes to how we live our lives in Jersey, it is through green finance that we can best play our part as a community in meeting this global challenge.
While a focus on the long term is important, the immediate, short-term focus for Jersey needs to be the MONEYVAL review which will take place in 2023. This is crucial to the future of the industry and our economy. The work to prepare for this review is a continuous process. We have modernised and updated our legislative base where necessary and will continue to do so as required. All relevant bodies, including the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) and Jersey law enforcement agencies, have been working together with Government and the industry to deliver for Jersey. Over the past two years, we have published National Risk Assessments of Money Laundering; Terrorist Financing; and Non-Profit Organisations – the first time such assessments have been undertaken in our jurisdiction. Continuing to combat financial crime will always be a priority for Jersey. I am grateful for all the hard work and commitment from everyone who is involved in this crucial work.
In the short to medium term, we will also continue to engage in the work to agree and implement new global tax rules. I support the policy of Deputy Gorst that Jersey will continue to apply these global standards on an equal and fair basis across jurisdictions.
As Chief Minister, I know that there are several wider, social challenges that the new Government needs to work to address.
These are not separate to the work and interests of financial services but very much central to them. A balanced economy, with sufficient and affordable housing for all Islanders – and especially first-time buyers and key workers – is as important for financial services companies as it is for everyone else. Jersey must be a vibrant place to live, with an exciting social and cultural offering if we are to keep our local talent and attract skilled people to the Island. Our transport links to the UK and beyond must be broad. We need strong public services which inspire confidence – especially health, education and other key infrastructure, to ensure that people want to live and work in Jersey. We must develop our young people so they are equipped with the relevant skills needed for the jobs of the future. These are all priorities of the new Government and we know the importance of delivering the right policies and outcomes for Jersey, to maintain our success and the standard of living which we all value and enjoy so much.
In a world of change, Jersey’s business environment continues to offer stability. I am pleased that the new Government has a strong mandate for the next four years – both from the public and the States Assembly – and a clear commitment to tackle many of the difficulties that are facing business leaders and the community. We are – and will remain – a good and competitive place in which to do business.
The next four years will inevitably present us all with both expected and unexpected challenges. I am very much aware that we will be judged on how we respond to those and deliver for Jersey. Islanders working in financial services can be assured that the new Government is open, will listen and be responsive to the changing needs of our community and economy, so that we can all face the future together with confidence for our