Staying the course important for Jersey in ‘interesting times’

If the world is a more uncertain place, even than this time last year, then Jersey must be prepared to stand up for itself in the international market place. This was the view of experts at the Jersey Finance Private Wealth Conference, held in May in London.

After a networking lunch sponsored by Moore Stephens, Geoff Cook opened the conference for Jersey Finance, giving Jersey’s view of the world in positive terms for wealth managers. The consumer classes are growing and retiring baby boomers are creating cross border growth and trade thanks to their strong economic position.

It is not all so straightforwardly positive though, and there are challenges for Jersey and for financial services in general. At a political level, as evidenced by the success of Trump and the resurgence of the Tory party under Theresa May, there is a trend to the ‘popular’ – a direct appeal to the man in the street.

Nick Robinson, the BBC’s political editor echoed that view, and added that populism was not good for international finance. Chasing the vote of the ‘working man’ meant promising taxes and charges for the wealthy.

But on the other hand, governments led by the Republicans in the USA and the Conservatives in the UK would mean lower corporation taxes which would stimulate growth.

Whatever the eventual outcome of this political manoeuvring, one trend is clear – international finance businesses are expected to be more transparent and more demonstrably ‘clean’ than before.

Jersey has been an early adopter in this sense, with the Common Reporting Standard, Beneficial Ownership information recording and BEPS all well established in the island, giving Jersey a competitive edge over other jurisdictions.
In some ways this new trend, while increasing the administrative burden on financial services, has enabled Jersey to stand out from its competitors so should be viewed positively.