Caroline Chan, Partner at law firmOgierin Guernsey, was
heavily involved in the groundwork which led to Guernsey being
given the green light for its companies to list on theHong Kong Stock Exchange
(HKEx). Here, she explains in more detail
about what it means for Guernsey's finance industry and the
Island's standing as a leading international finance
Why is receiving this approval such an important
development for Guernsey's finance industry?
This is an important development for the Guernsey finance
industry in a number of ways.
It will assist professionals doing business in the Asia region
to promote the Island as a jurisdiction of choice. The HKEx is
one of the largest and most successful stock markets in the world.
Hong Kong's close trading and business links to other Asian
economies, coupled with the HKEx's ability to access capital in
the Asia region, offer attractive opportunities to businesses
already operating in Asia or considering establishing or developing
a presence in the region.
A listing on the HKEx also provides significant investor reach
for those wishing to target Asian investors. For those
companies not already listed, structuring their HKEx listing using
a Guernsey company offers investors a well-respected and
well-regulated jurisdiction in which to do business.
Guernsey has a proven track record. It is a jurisdiction of
choice for listings on the London Stock Exchange (when compared
with its close competitor jurisdictions of Jersey, Isle of Man and
Cayman). For promoters of those Guernsey companies which are
already listed on another international stock exchange, they can
now consider whether a dual or secondary listing on the HKEx will
be of benefit to their investors.
How does being able to list on the HKEx benefit companies
incorporated in the Island?
There are a number of indirect benefits arising from the ability
to list Guernsey companies.
A key benefit is an opportunity to enhance the Island's
profile in Hong Kong and the wider Asian region as a jurisdiction
of choice. We have a positive message to send. The presence of
highly experienced professionals in the Island, within a
well-established finance industry, has earned Guernsey its global
reputation as a first class international finance centre with a
proven track record for attracting investment from around the
This particular approval also demonstrates Guernsey's
willingness and desire to proactively look outside the Island for
new business. From the clients' perspective, entrepreneurs
and their families who benefit financially from a successful
listing may also look to the Island as a place to arrange their
personal affairs, using private wealth business solutions.
Was Guernsey being left behind by other jurisdictions
already having received approval for their companies to list on
We are always conscious of our competitor jurisdictions'
positions and we have been aware that this approval would be of
interest to professionals, if only to place us on a level playing
field with our competitors.
Over the last two years there has been an increase in the number
of jurisdictions applying for approval as an acceptable
jurisdiction to list on the HKEx. For example, Jersey and the
BVI obtained approval in late 2009. Cayman companies have been able
to list on the HKEx for a number of years, reflecting the fact that
Cayman structures have been used in Hong Kong for some
The benefit of Guernsey's recently obtained approval is that
a Guernsey company can now follow a streamlined listing process
with the HKEx.
How much business is there for Guernsey in the Far East?
The amount of business which the HKEx approval may bring to
Guernsey is difficult to measure at this stage but the ability to
list is a plus point for the finance industry. It is another
factor which will help to raise Guernsey's profile in the
region and it gives professionals an opportunity to explain the
benefits of using Guernsey.
The work of Guernsey Finance and Guernsey representatives on the
ground in Hong Kong suggests that there are opportunities to
develop and expand the Guernsey offering in the region. The
ability to list Guernsey companies is one of a number of factors
which can be used to promote Guernsey.
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