Panellists at a Guernsey funds technical masterclass in London have praised the jurisdiction for its progressive nature in tackling international regulatory developments.

Delegates were told that Guernsey's response to initiatives such as the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD), Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) II, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and Common Reporting Standard (CRS) had set it apart from many of its competitor jurisdictions.

Dominic Wheatley, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance - the promotional agency for the Island's finance industry internationally, said: "It was great to hear that Guernsey's approach to FATCA and CRS has struck a chord with international practitioners. Our approach to these issues follows our established pattern of clarity and transparency of purpose allied with excellence and pragmatism in execution. This helps everyone know exactly where we stand and makes implementation as smooth as possible for the industry.

"Similarly, it was encouraging to hear from the panellists how efficiently our dual regulatory regime in response to AIFMD is working. The Guernsey model maintains access to the EU, but also offers a non-AIFMD product for non-EU investors who don't like the cost and compliance burden associated with AIFMD. Our early and pro-active engagement with Brussels on AIFMD and MiFID II demonstrates the responsiveness of our funds sector and has garnered a great deal of respect with authorities such as the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). We continue to liaise with ESMA regarding third country provisions and the expected introduction of full passporting for non-EU managers in respect of AIFMD. Emma Bailey and her team at the GFSC deserve particular recognition for their ongoing work in this area."

The event, titled 'Why Guernsey funds will continue to prosper: a technical analysis', took place at the British Museum on Wednesday 28 January, and attracted nearly 250 delegates. The debate panel consisted of leading figures from Guernsey's funds community and the UK marketplace.

The UK experts were Steve Darrington, Partner and Chief Financial Officer at Phoenix Equity; Debbie Anthony, Tax Partner at Deloitte and Kate Downey, Partner at Kirkland& Ellis. The Guernsey-based panellists were Grant Cameron, Managing Director at Investec and Emma Bailey, Director of the Investment Supervision and Policy Division at the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC). Barney Lee, Partner at Mourant Ozannes, moderated the debate.

Cathy Pitt, Partner at CMS, was one of those in the audience that appreciated hearing a range of views on how people were tackling initiatives like AIFMD and FATCA.

"Hearing what everyone is doing was useful and it's no surprise that the jurisdictions that have made private placement relatively easy are still getting access to a lot of funds. Hearing 'war stories' on FATCA is always really helpful. That sharing of experience as we all feel our way through the new world of developing regulation is very helpful," she said.

Iain Katimbo, Financial Controller at Valiance, said the panel achieved a good balance with the speakers which made the discussion very relevant. 

"We, from a manager point of view, have a number of different aspects touching us. It was good to get a diversity as to what to expect as well as experience of what's happening at the moment. This forum was useful and I'd like to see more regular access to these kinds of comments," he said.

Nick Benson, Partner at Latham & Watkins, was similarly impressed with the make-up of the panel.

"A very succinct and useful summary of where we are in the regulatory world. I liked the perspectives from a lawyer, accountant, sponsor and regulator; to get that mix of views is very useful," he said.

Mr Wheatley added: "This was an extremely successful event. The content was very popular and the panellists kept the audience fully engaged throughout by reaching the heart of the matter on so many of the key issues facing the global investment fund community."

The event was hosted by Guernsey Finance in conjunction with the Guernsey Investment Fund Association (GIFA). Sponsors were BNP Paribas Securities Services and Carey Group. The event was supported by HFM Week.

Guernsey Finance is also hosting the free to attend thought leadership event 'ILS Insight London' at the British Museum in London on Wednesday 18 March and its annual Funds Forum at etc.venues, 155 Bishopsgate, London on Thursday 14 May. 

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