Guernsey's finance industry has significant opportunities to win business in India, according to Peter Niven, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance – the promotional agency for the Island's finance industry.
Mr Niven was speaking at the culmination of a week-long delegation to Delhi and Mumbai organised by Guernsey Finance and led by Deputy Carla McNulty Bauer, Minister for the Commerce and Employment Department within the Guernsey Government.
Guernsey opened an office in China nearly three years ago but this is the Island's first official delegation to India.
"It has been a very fruitful trip," said Mr Niven.
"We have had a lot of meetings across both Delhi and Mumbai with some very senior government, regulatory and business officials as well as very many industry practitioners such as leading lawyers and accountants. In addition, we also hosted our own specific Guernsey event in Mumbai which proved to be an extremely popular networking opportunity attended by more than 50 officials and business introducers.
"Our objective has been both to inform our hosts about Guernsey and the very good story we have to tell but also to listen and learn from them about how we can move forward and do business together in the future. The delegation was very well received, we have had very positive feedback and there has been a lot of interest in what Guernsey can offer but this is where the hard work really starts.
"There are plenty of opportunities and not just in the investment funds sector but also the wealth management arena and possibly also for our captive insurance industry. However, if we are to fully reap the benefits of the contacts we have made and the relationships we have built, then it is important we progress a number of initiatives in the coming weeks and months."
The Guernsey group included Paul Christopher from Mourant Ozannes, Stuart Platt-Ransom of the Legis Group, State Street's Gerald Hough, Robin Fuller from Dominion Fund Management and Joe Truelove from Kleinwort Benson.
The delegation began in Delhi on Monday 18th October where there were meetings with the India Venture Capital Association and Bharti Enterprises (the parent group of Airtel-Vodafone in Guernsey) as well as the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The party then spent three days from Wednesday 20th October in Mumbai visiting the Reserve Bank of India, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the British Deputy High Commission. There were also meetings with key financial services practitioners and business introducers including the top legal and accounting firms in the two cities.
"We had a very intensive week of activity," said Deputy McNulty Bauer.
"I was delighted with the amount of interest in Guernsey and its product and service offering – indeed, my expectations were exceeded. What contributed to the success of this visit was the in depth forward planning by the team at Guernsey Finance to arrange a schedule of appropriate and high calibre meetings. Additionally, there was also the commitment and involvement of senior practitioners from Guernsey firms who contributed very positively to the meetings with their technical knowledge. The fact that Guernsey also sent senior political representation and the Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance added value and weight in ensuring that we met senior executives at the highest level in the organisations and companies we visited.
"It is now important that we build on those relationships and grow and develop our presence in India which will contribute towards taking advantage of the opportunities that are and will grow in India in order to maximise the benefit to Guernsey of diversifying the financial services sector into this emerging continent."
Mr Niven is also leading a delegation of Guernsey investment funds industry practitioners to the Asia Venture Capital Journal (AVCJ) Private Equity and Venture Forum in Mumbai at the start of December. This will come in the wake of a delegation to Beijing and Shanghai from Monday 1 November to Monday 8 November headed by Guernsey's Chief Minister, Deputy Lyndon Trott, and which will be immediately followed by Mr Niven leading another trade delegation to wealth management and investment fund conferences in Hong Kong.
For more information about Guernsey's finance industry please visit www.guernseyfinance.com.
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