While the UK, US and Europe remain important to the Island, it
must seek out opportunities in frontier markets as well, says Fiona
Le Poidevin of Guernsey Finance.
Protecting Guernsey business streams coming from the traditional
introducer centres of the UK, wider Europe and the US is important
this year. Indeed, we were given a major boost in December when our
government signed a model I intergovernmental agreement with the US
government in relation to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act
This builds on the fact that Guernsey adopted automatic exchange
of information from 2011 under measures equivalent to the EU
Savings Tax Directive; early last year, we signed a package of tax
measures with the UK government. It was these developments that led
UK prime minister David Cameron to say that it would be unfair to
label Guernsey a 'tax haven'.
These comments were very much welcomed and should assist in
helping Guernsey to protect existing business streams from our
traditional introducer centres.
However, it is also important for us to search out new
opportunities in frontier markets. We have been active in promoting
Guernsey among several key emerging markets such as China, India,
Russia and the Middle East, but now we have to step up our work in
these territories as well as researching and developing the
potential of other regions, for example Latin America.
With that in mind, the keynote speaker for this year's
Guernsey Funds Forum in London on 1 May is Jim O'Neill, former
chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management attributed with coining
the acronym BRICs for the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia,
India and China. At the start of 2014, he also made headlines by
referring to Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey - the next
generation of rapidly developing countries - as MINTs set to be
among the ten biggest economies in the next 30 years.
The forum's focus is on the pursuit of capital and how it
should be deployed, including alternative asset classes and regions
for investment such as the BRICs and MINTs. These are the countries
where there are growing amounts of both corporate and private
wealth being created and as such, we are seeing more and more
family offices (FOs) from those countries seeking not only to
reinvest within their countries but also to take advantage of
outbound investment opportunities. And FOs from outside these
regions are seeking returns through investment into these
countries, for example through infrastructure projects.
Guernsey is ideally placed to service these FOs because we have
a very strong private wealth sector and investment funds industry,
where there is a specialisation in domiciling and servicing private
equity, real estate and infrastructure funds and especially those
seeking a listing on the capital markets. Indeed, figures from the
London Stock Exchange (LSE) to the end of December 2013 show that
Guernsey is home to more entities that are listed on its markets
than any jurisdiction globally, with the exception of the UK. And
Guernsey added more new entities during 2013 than anywhere else
(excluding the UK), which shows the continued recognition from
clients and their advisers in the sophistication we have in
providing London listings.
That news was an extremely positive start to the year for
Guernsey and we will be seeking to build on this further during
2014 both at home and further afield, including in the BRICs and
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