More than 500 people attended the Guernsey Funds Forum 2015 in London last week.

Held at the new etc. venues, 155 Bishopsgate, the Forum was hosted by ITV news anchor, Alastair Stewart, OBE, and the keynote speech was delivered by Guernsey resident and private equity specialist Guy Hands, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Terra Firma Capital Partners Limited.

Dominic Wheatley, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance, said he was delighted with the number and quality of attendees, as well as the content of the sessions.

"The event allows us to reinforce and build upon our key relationship with the City of London so to have attracted such an impressive number of delegates is hugely encouraging for the funds industry in Guernsey," said Mr Wheatley.

"It was fascinating to listen to Guy – a highly respected individual in the investment community and a long-time supporter of Guernsey's fund industry – give the audience a real insight into his view of the future for private equity. His call for a return to the traditional values of private equity resonated with many in the hall. The panel sessions that followed Guy were equally compelling and allowed for a really informative debate between the speakers and delegates."

The event included two panel sessions. The first panel looked at meeting the needs of European private equity and included a focus on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), manager experiences of private placement under the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) and the latest on AIFMD passporting. Panellists comprised Emma Bailey from the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC), James Gee from Weil, Tim Hames from the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA), Robert Mellor from PwC and Karen Sands from Hermes GPE.

The second panel session looked at the future of investment entities and comprised Ravi Anand of Dexion Capital, Tom Attenborough from the London Stock Exchange, Peter Denton from Starwood Capital Europe Advisers, Erik Jamieson from Hogan Lovells and Ian Sayers from the Association of Investment Companies (AIC).

Among the delegates was Jim Miller from Somerset Capital, who said the event had been very constructive.

"I was really impressed with Guy Hands and it was good to get a refresher on what the private equity industry is up to and what the main issues are facing GPs," said Mr Miller.

Daniel Venn, Head of Fund Administration at BC Partners, and Lauren Dunford, Senior Associate at Clifford Chance, were similarly impressed.

"The speakers were fantastic, very insightful. The panels were very good, well executed and very well put together. The emphasis on regulation and the way investors are focussing on due diligence is a key thing for the industry at the moment," said Mr Venn.

Ms Dunford said: "It was good to see a cross-section of people speaking on the panels. One of the things I found most encouraging was the general mood of the panels and audience which seemed more upbeat than conferences of recent years since the sea change in European regulation. They were much more positive about the future of the industry and Guernsey's position within it."

As well as the conference, there was also an exhibition of Guernsey service providers, including the Island's leading fund administrators, custodians, multi-jurisdictional legal practices and global accountancy firms. The event, hosted by Guernsey Finance in conjunction with the Guernsey Investment Fund Association (GIFA), was supported by the Alternative Investment Management Association, the BVCA, Global Custodian, HFM Week, PERE and unquote".

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