Guernsey's new Manager Led Product (MLP) was warmly received by a London funds audience when it was launched at the Guernsey Funds Forum last week [12 May].

Nearly 500 delegates attended the annual funds conference, which this year saw Luke Johnson, Chairman of private equity house Risk Capital Partners and former Chairman of Channel 4 Television, appear as keynote speaker. The event, entitled 'The new scope - investor perspectives, innovation and success', was moderated by ITV News anchor Alastair Stewart OBE, and took place at etc. venues, 155 Bishopsgate, London.

Guernsey Finance Chief Executive Dominic Wheatley said the annual showcase was the perfect setting to announce the immediate launch of the MLP, which aims to ensure a proportionate risk-based level of product regulation for any Alternative Investment Fund Manager (AIFM) that establishes itself in Guernsey and seeks to market into Europe under the National Private Placement Regime arrangements.

In his introduction, Mr Wheatley told the audience that the MLP would place the regulations on the AIFM only.

"We see the MLP as offering a very attractive vehicle for managers needing substance in the Island, an area in which we expect to grow. Once an AIFMD has been licensed by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, they will then be able to launch new partnership structures and corporate funds by simple notification," said Mr Wheatley.

"Capital will be concentrated at the AIFM level. This will facilitate the quick and efficient launch of new funds with a minimum requirement for red tape but with no diminution of the quality of regulatory oversight."

In addition to Mr Johnson's keynote speech, the event included two panel sessions. The first looked at innovation in the funds arena and the second focussed on investor perspectives including a focus on environment, social and governance investment and whether the depositary should be seen as a 'value-add' or a burden.

Speakers were Kate Simpson from Proskauer, Tim Hughes from PwC, Robin Klein from Localglobe, Blaise Duault from PAI Partners, Bernard Vogel from Endeavour Vision, Phillip Hyett from Funding Circle, Adam Black from Coller Capital, Aaron Stocks from Travers Smith and Duncan MacPherson from Starwood Capital Europe.

Mr Wheatley said the calibre of the speakers and the content of the panel sessions, in addition to Mr Johnson's keynote speech, had all contributed to a successful event.

"As a whole, the event demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the Guernsey funds sector which in turn reflects the Island's continued relevance in the international funds industry. It was very encouraging to hear from a number of panellists about how Guernsey continues to evolve its offering and is therefore able to ensure it meets industry needs. It was also pleasing to hear Luke's detailed explanation on the economic benefits of private equity, which reaffirms our belief that private equity is a force for good in the economies into which Guernsey funds invest."

Among the delegates was Jim James, Chief Executive of Insolvency Ventures, who said he appreciated the content of the panel sessions.

"I found it very interesting because it looked at the bigger picture issues, such as technology disintermediation and transparency, rather than the minutiae. I spend a lot of time in Guernsey because I think there's a lot of potential there and I came to the Funds Forum to meet more Guernsey people," said Mr James.

John Munro of Trident Capital Asset Management was similarly impressed by the event.

"The nature and construction of the offerings to the funds industry was extremely well represented and very informative. We are looking at the structuring and origination of a debt fund and all the players were here," said Mr Munro.

Guernsey Finance Chairman Lyndon Trott added: "I can't recall seeing such a high number of quality delegates at an event of this nature. The Guernsey Funds Forum is an exceptional networking opportunity for all involved in the funds space and grows in status every year."

The Guernsey Funds Forum was hosted by Guernsey Finance in conjunction with the Guernsey Investment Fund Association (GIFA). The event was supported by the Alternative Investment Management Association, the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association, Alpha Journal, Funds Europe, HFM Week and PERE.

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