A delegation from Guernsey's funds industry has been in Switzerland this week investigating potential new business opportunities.

Peter Niven, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance – the promotional agency for the Island's finance industry, led the delegation to Geneva and Zurich between Monday 11 October and Wednesday 13 October.

He was joined by members of the Guernsey Investment Funds Association (GIFA): Joe Truelove from Kleinwort Benson, Richard Hughes from BNP Paribas Securities Services, KPMG's Neale Jehan and Sean Cheong of law firm Collas Day.

A series of meetings were held with key business introducers, both those who already use Guernsey extensively and those that don't currently but where there is potential for them to do so in the future.

"We had very positive feedback from all those attending," said Mr Niven.

"The group learnt a great deal about what these introducers think about doing business in Guernsey. The existing users were complimentary about the Island but also provided some food for thought about our funds regime.

"In addition, we found there was some strong interest from other promoters about the opportunities offered by using structures from Guernsey. We are now looking to make this a regular feature of our activity calendar so that we can try and capitalise on this interest from Swiss promoters in Guernsey's funds offering."

The discussions also looked at commonalities between the two jurisdictions, including both not being members of the EU but impacted by the Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFM) Directive and the EU Savings Tax Directive (EUSTD).

"It was very interesting to compare notes on how each other view AIFM and EUSTD," added Mr Niven.

"Overall it was a very productive visit that gave us a valuable insight into how their industry sees Guernsey and also the wider issues that are currently on the radar."

Mr Niven added that he sees potential in being able to springboard off the connections that already exist between the two jurisdictions.

"Of course, there is already a strong relationship between Guernsey and Switzerland. During the last 20 years several well-known Swiss institutions have chosen to locate operations in Guernsey. More recently, a number of firms from our fiduciary sector have opened trust and company administration businesses in Geneva or Zurich to service their international clients who prefer to take advantage of the different products and services on offer from Switzerland. We already have a strong working relationship with the Swiss and I see no reason why we cannot build on that to take advantage of these opportunities that exist for our investment funds sector," he said.

For more information about Guernsey's finance industry please visit www.guernseyfinance.com.

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