Guernsey: Guernsey Opens Office in China
Last Updated: 7 March 2008

Guernsey has officially opened its office in Shanghai that will provide a base for the Island to promote its professionalism and expertise in financial services.

Guernsey established a permanent presence in China last December when Chinese national Wendy Weng was appointed to head up an office in Shanghai.

It was opened today – marking the launch of the Guernsey brand in China – by Guernsey’s most senior politician, Chief Minister Mike Torode, who is in Shanghai this week as part of a delegation including other senior government officials and business leaders from the Island.

The Chief Minister gave the 55 invited guests of senior Shanghai professionals an overview of the Island, including its geographical location, unique history, relationships with the UK and EU and reputation for excellence in providing financial services.

"We are committed over time to forging stronger links between our two countries so that we can understand each other better and what each other of us has to offer," he said.

"We see our launch this week and, in particular, our appointment of Wendy Weng as our full time representative in Shanghai as the first but most vital part of this process. Our aim is to introduce ourselves and to start to build long term relationships through understanding and trust.

"Let me stress now that we are here for the long term. Guernsey is here, in person, through Wendy Weng showing that commitment to Shanghai will ensure that our message comes across regularly and consistently and, more importantly, that there is a link here that the financial services industry in Shanghai can talk with to ensure easy and speedy access to our Guernsey business base.

"We are looking to ensure that the deeper roots we put down today will ensure a strong and viable future not only for our relationship and friendship but also for business flows between our two countries."

Guernsey’s delegation party includes, as well as the Chief Minister, also: a dozen leading members from across the Island’s finance industry; Mike Brown, Chief Executive of the States of Guernsey – the Island’s top civil servant; two representatives of the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) – Peter Moffatt, Director of Investment Business and Michael Graham, Deputy Director of Insurance; and members of GuernseyFinance – the promotional agency for the Island’s finance industry – including Peter Niven, Chief Executive.

At the opening, Mr Niven explained to the audience about Guernsey’s 50-year heritage in providing sophisticated financial products and services and how this experience had helped build on the Island’s hallmarks of professionalism and innovation to grow a first class infrastructure and depth of expertise that are the foundation of the Island’s continued success in servicing – to international standards – clients from around the world.

He added: "Wendy is Guernsey’s permanent representative in Shanghai and particularly to the financial services industry here in Shanghai and more broadly in China. We look forward to working through her and with her to increase our contacts here in Shanghai and forge strong and permanent relationships with the financial community here and achieve a recognition for Guernsey and particularly for the financial community in Guernsey.

"The strength of that relationship will be our first priority and we look forward to working with you all over the coming months and years."

The launch was attended by Ma Hong, Vice-Chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Government Financial Services Office, who also held talks with members of the delegation party.

Mr Niven said: "Our discussions with the Vice Chairman centred on the regulatory framework of the Island’s finance sector through the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC). The Chief Minister led the talks and was joined by Peter Moffatt, Director of Investment Business at the GFSC and his colleague Michael Graham, Deputy Director of Insurance at the GFSC.

"The Island’s strong corporate governance ethos and pragmatic but flexible regulation impressed the Vice Chairman who commented that Shanghai has much to learn from the depth of knowledge of the GFSC and that he looked forward to an ongoing dialogue for the future in this important area where Shanghai had a lot of catching up to do."

The Vice-Chairman spoke of his respect for Guernsey’s achievements in financial services.

"Guernsey has a long history of success and achievement in its economic development and especially in the finance sector," he said.

"One of Shanghai’s key goals over the next 5 years is to encourage more international finance businesses into the city and Guernsey has an opportunity within that to be successful in the local marketplace. In speeding up financial innovation particularly in products and regulation Shanghai can look to Guernsey as a world leader in these areas and use the strong links that are being forged between our two international financial centres now to look for opportunities for both of us to benefit from that new relationship"

The delegation team has already met with representatives from the British Consulate, the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC), the Bank of China and the Shanghai Stock Exchange. During the rest of the week the delegation will also meet with the Vice Mayor of Shanghai and specific financial services firms already based in the city.

Guernsey has already launched a Chinese version of its website to help communicate its messages within China.

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