Leaders from Guernsey's funds industry have revealed that the Island is aiming to achieve equivalence with the EU in light of the proposed Directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFM).

Guernsey's determination to maintain access to EU markets in the face of the Directive was highlighted by speakers from the Island at a debate in London on Tuesday evening assessing the future of the funds industry following the credit crunch and subsequent global economic downturn.

Horace Camp, a member of the Guernsey Investment Funds Association (GIFA), said: "While it is unclear at the moment exactly what form the Directive will ultimately take, it is certain to be enacted. Our intention is that if anybody gains equivalence so that they continue marketing into the EU then Guernsey will be included on the list. We have a united effort in place led by our government and industry so that we take the steps necessary to ensure that this happens. We are not a lone voice and we are certain sense will prevail."

Guernsey hosted 'The Big Debate: Investment Funds in the post G20 world – threats and opportunities for the Island's funds industry' at the Grange St Pauls Hotel.

Keynote speaker and chair of the debate was BBC Radio 4's Financial Reporter and Presenter Adam Shaw.

He was joined by John Roche, Partner, PwC; Christopher Anderson, Partner, Bedell Cristin; Mark Russon, Business Development Manager, London Stock Exchange; Scott Cochrane, Partner, Herbert Smith; and Daniel Godfrey, Former Director General, the Association of Investment Companies (AIC).

More than 80 delegates from leading fund management, law and accountancy firms attended the debate.

Mr Camp added: "It went extremely well. Adam Shaw added the independence and balance needed for such a debate and still a very clear message came out that Guernsey is going to do everything it possibly can to achieve equivalence. The UK panellists showed that they understand and support our position and were quick to emphasise that they are advising clients not to make any rash decisions on the basis of what could happen because there is uncertainty about what is coming round the corner."

The debate tackled key issues such as the credit crunch and new fund industry trends; beyond G20 'white listing'; the changing face of Guernsey as a home for administration and management; an update on Guernsey's legal framework; the EU's AIFM Directive; and the future of the 50 year relationship between Guernsey and London.

Christopher Anderson added: "I think the debate picked up on a lot of the genuine issues. I think it showed that there's concern but in a positive way that's being addressed and will be addressed."

Stephen Newby from Herbert Smith, who was a delegate at the event, said: "We set up funds domiciled in Guernsey and then listed on the London market or Euronext. It has been an interesting evening, with a wide variety of people here and quite a consistent message in terms of the focus that people have on appropriate regulation and developing a consensus to meet the political demands that have come out of the credit crisis."

The main debate was followed by a Q&A session and then a drinks and canapés networking reception sponsored by HSBC Securities Services in Guernsey (HSSG).

Figures from the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) show that the net asset value of funds under management and administration in the Island reached £170bn at the end of June 2009.

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

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