Jersey had the foresight to introduce effective regulation relating to financial crime early on in its evolution as a major centre for international finance, introducing its Proceeds of Crime legalisation to criminalise the act of ‘money laundering’ in 1999. The UK introduced its Proceeds of Crime Act in 2002, with a number of jurisdictions following shortly thereafter, once again demonstrating that Jersey does indeed lead the way in the regulatory frameworks that are important to the health of the financial services industry.
Additionally, Jersey continues to set best practice in the regulation of corporate service providers, whereas other jurisdictions do not regulate these providers in any meaningful way. A key area of strength for Jersey is the accumulated knowledge and expertise built up by its greatest asset – its people.
The training, education and continuing professional development of these people has been a cornerstone of the Island’s success in providing world class financial services in areas such as estate planning, wealth structuring and investment management. Jersey is now once again trailblazing a path in the international funds sector and provides a range of funds vehicles which are regulated in a common sense manner, again, backed up by well qualified professionals from every discipline. As a leading financial services jurisdiction Jersey takes the development of its people seriously, with many senior roles having a mandatory requirement for Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
Jersey International Business School – or JIBS as it is known locally – has been at the heart of training and education in the financial services industry for nearly 10 years. JIBS provides world class training and education to the international financial services industry, not just in Jersey, but around the globe. Last November JIBS ran its inaugural Financial Crime Prevention Symposium in Zurich, Switzerland, with the support of the Swiss Compliance Officers Association, once again showing that where Jersey leads, others are keen to follow. In 2018, JIBS is working with the Association of Compliance Officers (ACOI) in Ireland to bring the one day symposium to Dublin.
The educational landscape in Jersey has improved substantially over the last 10 years or so. In the aftermath of the worst financial crisis for 70 years, JIBS was born to provide effective training and thought leadership development to those individuals working in the Island’s most economically important activity.
As well as being the exclusive provider of important qualifications such as the Society of Trust and Estates Practitioners (STEP) Certificate Diploma, together with the broad range of International Compliance Association (ICA) qualifications, JIBS launched its hugely successful two year degree programme in 2012. The BSc (Hons) International Financial Services degree, awarded by the University of Buckingham, provides students with an internationally recognised qualification awarded by a top UK university. Alongside studying full time over two years for the degree, students gain paid work experience through an internship scheme called the Undergraduate Employment Programme (UGEP), which sees students work two days a week for some of the world’s leading international financial services businesses such as UBS, Barclays and a host of other leading names.
Following the success of the undergraduate programme, the MSc (by research) International Financial Services Master’s programme was launched in October 2016. Studied over two years, on a part time basis, this programme provides students the opportunity to become ‘masters’ in their particular area of expertise using the exceptional academic and practitioner network that the School has built since it launched. These programmes are yet another example of Jersey ‘leading the way’ as an international financial centre. Many centres simply do not have the critical mass to provide such development opportunities and JIBS is consistently asked if it can support other jurisdictions in the provision of their education and development of their people.
One way of doing this has been to invest in digital delivery and JIBS has a dedicated e-Learning proposition with anti-money laundering training solutions tailored to markets as diverse as the Isle of Man, Guernsey, the British Virgin Islands, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Luxembourg, through our educational partnership with PwC Academy. Offering e-Learning is one mechanism that can assist smaller jurisdictions in meeting their financial crime prevention learning needs, however, people often want face-to-face training and JIBS has a specialist faculty of some of the world’s leading trainers who provide executive education ‘in-company’ to financial services around the globe.
Led by Director of Education, Jo French, JIBS lecturers provide specialised bespoke training for clients to meet their needs in respect of areas such as sanctions risk management, cyber security concerns and bribery and corruption risk. Recently JIBS has been providing training and education related to the financial crime and anti-money laundering risk associated with cryptocurrencies and digital asset flows, such as bitcoin, demonstrating that Jersey is once again leading the way in the provision of financial services training and education.
Global competition is real and substantial as technology lowers the barriers of entry for many jurisdictions. How international financial centres differentiate themselves will be increasingly vital to the longevity of a jurisdiction’s business model and the economic well-being of the population as a result.
Ten years from now it will be interesting to see the correlation between investment in education and the success or otherwise of international financial centres around the world. Jersey International Business School will play its part in ensuring that Jersey remains at the forefront in the training, development and education of financial services professionals in Jersey. We expect that JIBS will also be exporting its knowledge and expertise to other centres, acting as an ambassador for the Island which we all love and cherish but this can only be achieved with the ongoing support of industry and other stakeholders across the Island.
Chris Usher, Chief Executive Officer, Jersey International Business School (JIBS).
Chris has over 20 years’ experience in international financial services, working both in the UK and offshore, for major financial institutions such as Barclays Wealth and Santander.
Formerly an International Investment Manager he advised both individuals and corporate entities on complex investment scenarios. He now specialises in delivering training in investment management, taxation and regulatory matters in international finance centres around the world.
Chris is a specialist chairman of a number of high-profile events, including conferences such as the Annual Compliance & Economic Crime Symposium and the International Taxation Conference.