Today, the European Securities and Markets Authority ("ESMA") delivered their advice to the Commission, Parliament and Council of the EU on the extension of Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive ("AIFMD") passports to non-EU jurisdictions. ESMA's initial assessments encompassed only six jurisdictions - Guernsey, Hong Kong, Jersey, Singapore, Switzerland and the USA - selected on the basis of factors including the efforts by stakeholders from these countries to engage with ESMA's process and the depth of activity and relationships between the countries and the EU in this area.

ESMA's advice ultimately established that of the six, Guernsey and Jersey were the only two jurisdictions with no current barriers to the extension of the passport, whereas the other jurisdictions either required legislation to be implemented or further evidence to be obtained in order to make a complete assessment.

Collas Crill Head of Commercial, Paul Wilkes commented: "This is great news for both Guernsey and Jersey. The advice is a tremendous vote of confidence in the islands and reinforces the global recognition that we are the best of the best when it comes to proper regulation of financial services offshore. Both islands have recognised the huge importance the passporting regime may have for the funds industry and have made significant efforts to ensure their already well-regulated funds industries are positioned to meet EU requirements."

Mark Rawlins, Collas Crill's head of funds in Jersey said:- "The ESMA advice published today is a clear recognition of the immense efforts undertaken by the Channel Islands to deliver regimes that are fit for purpose in the new era of AIFMD and provides an immediate competitive advantage for Jersey and Guernsey in the decisions now facing investment managers and their advisors as to where to domicile their management and investment funds."

Although further work is required before the EU extends the passport to Guernsey and Jersey, which may not be taken until ESMA produces final assessments on other non-EU jurisdictions, this is undeniably a huge boost for the funds industries of both islands.

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