Jersey Finance Fund Conference 2017

There are risks for Jersey, but we are not risk averse
 
This was the message from Geoff Cook at this year’s Jersey Finance Funds Conference in London. The risks are self-evident – the impact of Brexit, the unpredictability of the Trump presidency, changes in China and other emerging markets.
 
But Cook also highlighted reasons for optimism to temper the risk. He was confident that the UK would ‘weather’ Brexit, subject to a successful exit process. He also highlighted falling energy costs, and the increase in worldwide cross-border wealth as positive factors in Jersey’s growth.
 
Reputational risks also exist. What the Panama Papers showed was a conflict between what was in the public interest and what was interesting to the public. In this situation, despite the thousands of leaked papers there was very little in the way of scandal. What was the critical takeaway was that clients value privacy, and they value those jurisdictions that can provide them with that privacy.
 
In that respect Jersey is well placed. We are respected for our transparency on appropriate matters, our efforts to counter money-laundering and for our robust legislation protecting our clients from unwarranted intrusion.
 
In terms of Brexit, Jersey has been in the unusual position of advising the UK on its relationship with the EU. We have never been part of the EU so have been able to relate that experience, of dealing with EU countries and organisations from outside the Union, and advise the UK on their own preparations for their impending status as an ‘outsider’.
 
Jersey’s reputation is strong in 2017
 
The political world may be unstable at the moment, suffering from a bout of what Geoff Cook called ‘megaphone politics’ but Jersey is currently offering a safe space, with stability a key watchword for the international finance industry.
 
Speaking at the 2017 Jersey Finance Funds Conference in London, Cook outlined advancements in Jersey’s global reputation including a Moneyval score of 48 out of 49 principles for compliance which is the highest equal score ever recorded. In some ways Jersey’s reputation is affected more by international trends than by our own actions. He said ‘we may not be able to direct the wind, but we can set our sails differently’. In this way Jersey can benefit from international instability by adjusting our approach. We have already moved to a position where we have the respect of international regulators and now are offering what industry needs in quick turnarounds on fund launches through Jersey’s different fund regimes and a wealth of licensed and professional practitioners available.
 
There are still international risks, with Donald Trump finding running a country harder than campaigning and several European countries finding their own way through tricky elections, but, with
political stability, fiscal stability, and cross border finance expertise, plus the fact that £1 in every £20 investment in the UK is via Jersey, we are well placed to continue our growth as an international finance centre.