A launch event to mark the opening of Guernsey's representative office in Hong Kong attracted nearly 200 attendees.
Hosted on Wednesday 2 March at the China Club in Central, the event outlined the services offered by Guernsey's international finance centre and featured a panel discussion on the current economic climate and keynote speeches from the Lord Flight, a member of the House of Lords, and Deputy Lyndon Trott, Chairman of Guernsey Finance and former Chief Minister of Guernsey.
Kate Clouston, Guernsey Finance's Director of International Business Development, welcomed the audience by sharing some anecdotes from the week's activities surrounding the office launch, including a welcome in Mandarin for guests from China and referencing British Consul General to Hong Kong Caroline Wilson's remarks that 'now was exactly the right time to open an office in Hong Kong'.
Guernsey Finance Chief Executive Dominic Wheatley, who concluded the event by thanking speakers, panellists and guests for supporting the event, said the office launch had gone fantastically well.
"The response we've had to the opening of our Hong Kong office has been fantastic. The presentation and reception in the fabulous surrounds of the China Club in Hong Kong was an unequivocal success with all the feedback from the near 200 attendees confirming this," said Mr Wheatley.
"I was thrilled by the quality of the speakers and panellists and the very positive response that they received from the audience. I am also very grateful to the Lord Flight and Deputy Lyndon Trott, our keynote speakers, and to our very own Kate Clouston whose Mandarin introduction got the event off to a great start and elicited spontaneous applause.
"The event saw discussion on a wide range of topics with our panel especially noting that Guernsey has a unique mix of expertise and service providers that is sure to prove particularly appealing to globally-active high-net-worth clients. It became clear that safety, stability and good business practices are all synonymous with Guernsey. Our successful navigation of the 2008 financial crisis was noted with interest and provided reason to look to Guernsey in the future as a safe harbour."
The Guernsey representative office, which is located at Three Pacific Place in Admiralty, will be run by Guernsey Finance and is the promotional agency's second overseas outpost, following its Shanghai office, which opened in 2008. Guernsey Finance Asia Representative, Wendy Weng, who is based in Shanghai, and Miss Clouston, will use the office as a base from which to carry out further promotional activities concentrated on the wider South East Asian market.
It will also be utilised by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) to provide regulatory advice to those in the region who might be considering Guernsey-specific ventures. The GFSC's John Dunford has relocated to Hong Kong to act as the regulator's representative.
GFSC Director General William Mason, a panellist at the launch event, said: "John Dunford will be able to explain the Guernsey regulatory regimes operation with regard to trust and company service providers, investment funds, insurance vehicles and banks - helping those in Asia appreciate the nature of the high quality, regulated structures available within Guernsey's international financial centre."
In addition to Mr Mason, the other panellists were Marcus Leese, Partner at offshore law firm Ogier; Andrew Chan, Head of Trust and Fiduciary at Standard Chartered in Hong Kong; Antoine Kuo, Senior Managing Director of Griffin Plutus Family Office, and Mark Huntley, Managing Director of Heritage International Fund Managers. The session was moderated by current affairs commentator Michael Chugani, host of TVB's Straight Talk - the most-watched English language programme in Hong Kong.
The Lord Flight said: "I was delighted to be asked to speak at the event to launch the Guernsey Finance Hong Kong office. Having worked in Hong Kong and done a great deal of business in Guernsey over many decades, I'm happy to support an initiative designed to develop closer commercial ties which will benefit both jurisdictions."
The seminar took place the day after a VIP drinks reception at Opus Hong Kong to mark the office launch. The reception was hosted at the Opus Hong Kong residence by the British Consul General to Hong Kong and Guernsey's Commerce and Employment Minister Kevin Stewart. In addition, the Guernsey delegation, which comprised representatives from the States of Guernsey, the GFSC and Guernsey financial services providers, have also held meetings with industry associations, trade bodies, private businesses and the trade media from Hong Kong.
Deputy Stewart said: "The launch of the office, through the promotional events and meetings Guernsey Finance set up, went very well. From these events, and from the meetings I have had with businesses and business bodies in Hong Kong in the past few days, it is clear that there is significant interest in South East Asia in doing business with Guernsey. That is why the establishment of the office at this time is so important. I am sure that the office will be a great success."
Miss Clouston added: "We've had an enormously productive week in Hong Kong, cementing relationships with contacts we already had in the region and creating new ones. The involvement of politicians, representatives from the GFSC and Guernsey's finance industry itself was extremely useful in explaining the Guernsey offering and demonstrating the commitment we are marking to this market and the wider Asian region."
For more information about Guernsey's finance industry please visit www.guernseyfinance.com.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.