Guernsey is a great place to do business according to Jon Moulton, the Founder and Managing Partner of Alchemy Partners.
Mr Moulton, who now lives in the Island, was the keynote speaker at the Guernsey Private Equity Funds Masterclass in London.
More than 100 funds industry practitioners attended the event last Thursday which was held in The Gallery at Old Billingsgate.
"I recommend any of you to use Guernsey for private equity it works," he said.
Mr Moulton said that Guernsey has a solid infrastructure including not just fund administrators but accounting, tax and legal advisers who offered a personal service.
A major attraction is that Guernsey is "not flaky" but has sensible laws and regulations which are always updated quickly so that the Island is at the forefront of developments such as the introduction of new products and services. Mr Moulton also praised the speed of doing business in Guernsey by saying that "things happen at a pace which is inconceivable in the UK."
He added that Guernsey's taxation structure was straight forward and easy to understand and was noticeably more stable than the regime in the UK.
"Overall it [Guernsey] is a nice place to operate," said Mr Moulton.
Mr Moulton said that the immediate prospects looked gloomy for the private equity industry as a whole. Guernsey's ability to continue to attract private equity and the business of other asset classes would ensure its sustained strength in the investment funds industry.
Speaking after the event Jim Gilligan, Chairman of GuernseyFinance the promotional agency for the Island's finance industry, said: "I would like to thank Jon for what was a topical and thought-provoking talk. Obviously we are especially appreciative for the feedback from his experience of using Guernsey. The fact that such a respected figure within the industry should be so positive about the Island is a significant endorsement of Guernsey as a centre of excellence for private equity."
The masterclass, entitled Guernsey leading the way in private equity', was opened with a short welcome speech from Mr Gilligan. Mr Moulton then gave his keynote speech before taking part in an interactive panel session chaired by Connie Helyar, Executive Chairman, IPES and also including: Mark Huntley, Managing Director, Heritage International Fund Managers; Ben Morgan, Partner, Carey Olsen; Tony Mancini, Tax Director, KPMG Channel Islands; and Rob Hutchinson, Executive Director, KPMG Channel Islands.
"I have in the past established private equity/real estate funds in Guernsey but never pure private equity funds however more recently my experience has been to act as an adviser to clients investing into Guernsey funds," said Dale Gabbert, Partner, Nabarro in London.
"This session has been very useful. Quite often these sorts of events are just about marketing but this was a helpful overview of what Guernsey can offer from a private equity perspective. It was very interesting and off the back of this I can see potential developments."
The latest figures from the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) show that overall funds business in Guernsey grew another £13.7bn (8.3%) in the final three months of 2007, taking the total value of funds under management and administration in the Island to another record high of £178.2bn at the end of December up £48bn (37%) during the year. The most eye-catching results came in the private equity asset class where values increased by £5.5bn (19%) during the quarter and £13.6bn (66%) year on year to reach £34bn at the end of 2007.
"Guernsey is a very important jurisdiction for private equity," said Mrs Helyar.
"Guernsey administers some of the largest and well known private equity funds in the industry. A number of these groups have relocated their entire back-office operations to the Island in the last two years. It is therefore important that as changes to the regulations come through we keep business introducers informed of the potential benefits.
"This event has undoubtedly been a tremendous success in promoting the Island to both existing contacts and those introducers who don't yet have any experience of using Guernsey for private equity business."
Plans are already in place for a similar event on Wednesday 18 June at the Signet Library in Edinburgh.
For more information about Guernsey's finance industry please visit www.guernseyfinance.com.
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