Guernsey: Guernsey – A Brighter Future For Financial Services

Last Updated: 18 March 2016
Article by Dominic Wheatley

Most Read Contributor in Guernsey, September 2016

The recent announcement of plans to open a representative office in Hong Kong during the first quarter of 2016 rounded off a particularly active 2015 for Guernsey's financial services sector, explains Guernsey Finance's chief executive Dominic Wheatley.

The Hong Kong office to be located at Three Pacific Place in Admiralty is Guernsey Finance's second overseas outpost, in addition to our Shanghai office which opened in 2008. It is ideally situated at the heart of Hong Kong's finance district and will further enhance our developing relationship with Hong Kong and its business community.

Our China representative, Wendy Weng, who is based in Shanghai, will use the office as a base from which to carry out further promotional activities concentrated on the wider South East Asia market, while 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 Hong Kong initiative follows the appointment in the autumn of Zoë Cousens as our first Middle East representative. Ms Cousens, who is based in Dubai, is now helping to promote Guernsey's financial services industry in the Middle East as an on-the-ground contact for Guernsey. She is now a key conduit for Middle Eastern firms and clients interested in Guernsey and will assist in hosting and arranging meetings, seminars or events for Guernsey businesses visiting the region.

Another exciting appointment for Guernsey sees Richard Le Tocq, who is also chairman of the Guernsey branch of the Institute of Directors, lead Locate Guernsey – the newly formed agency mandated to encourage and facilitate businesses and high net worth individuals (HNWIs) to move to the island.

Ahead of Mr Le Tocq taking charge it was reported at the end of October that Guernsey's Commerce and Employment Department had received more than 50 relocation enquiries from off-island businesses and individuals. Of these, five translated into actual relocations, with an additional 25 remaining live and investigating locating to Guernsey. In these instances, Locate Guernsey will assist by providing advice requested by enquirers and, if required, facilitate meetings and introductions to governmental and other contacts.


Across all the key pillars of our industry there have been positive stories to tell and examples of our standing within the mainstream of international finance.

One of the most demonstrable instances came in May when KPMG published its report, International Capital Flows. The report reinforced Guernsey's reputation as a leading funds domicile after revealing the extent to which the island facilitated the flow of capital globally, including £105 billion of investment in Europe – 49 percent of which originates from investors located outside Europe itself.

The report highlighted Guernsey as an integral conduit facilitating the raising of capital from investors in different countries, subsequently allowing for the redeployment of this capital into global assets. The report emphasised the fact that global investors are comfortable utilising Guernsey structures, in large part due to the island's reputation, regulatory track record and high standards of transparency. Similarly, it reaffirmed Guernsey's particular expertise in alternative investment assets – a key asset class for many investors.

ESMA recommendation

This was followed in July by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) announcing its recommendation to grant Guernsey a 'third country' passport under the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD). Guernsey is one of only three jurisdictions to receive the recommendation, which, if approved by the European Commission, Parliament and Council in 2016, would further enhance Guernsey's position to distribute funds into Europe.

Guernsey has had its own opt-in equivalent AIFMD regime fully operational since 1 January 2014 in order to demonstrate the high standards that its funds industry works to, but the ESMA recommendation would further solidify this position and enable Guernsey to operate on a level playing field with its European counterparts once approved by the relevant European authorities – expected sometime in 2016.

Marketing leader

Within the ESMA advice the strong relationship between Guernsey's fund industry and the European marketplace was evidenced in data that showed Guernsey was the third largest non- EU fund domicile, behind the US and Cayman Islands, for the number of non-EU Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) and non-EU Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFMs) marketing into the EU Member States of the UK, Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Finland, Denmark and Belgium for the ninemonth period up to March 2015.

OECD Convention extension

In August, a clarification from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) clarification, agreed by the UK's HM Treasury and Ministry of Justice, about Guernsey's position within the OECD further reinforced our standing within the funds arena.

The statement, agreed to inform EU and EEA authorities of Guernsey's position, states that: "The OECD Convention was extended to Guernsey on 20 July 1990. This means that the OECD Convention applies to Guernsey and it is part of UK's membership of the OECD. OECD decisions and recommendations apply to the same extent to Guernsey as they do to the UK."

The clarification over whether or not a fund's domicile is in the OECD has become increasingly important in order to meet requirements of certain market regulators. For example, in some jurisdictions there are prohibitions on the marketing of funds which do not originate from an OECD country.

Fund migration

More positive news for the funds sector came in Q4 with confirmation that two funds were re-locating to Guernsey. VinaCapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund migrated its domicile from the Cayman Islands, while SafeCharge International Group Limited relocated its fund domicile from the British Virgin Islands. In explaining their decisions, both funds said Guernsey's well-established infrastructure for the administration of funds listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) was a key factor, as was the fact that having a Guernsey domicile would enable the company to enjoy greater exposure to potential investors.

Banking moves

Our banking sector has also been boosted in recent months. Firstly, when the island's newest bank, FNB Channel Islands (FNBCI), officially opened for business in July. FNBCI, the Guernsey branch of FirstRand Bank Limited – South Africa's largest banks by market capitalisation – enhances FirstRand's presence in Guernsey as it already provided a wide range of fiduciary services through FNB International Trustees Limited.

This was then followed by ABN AMRO's announcement at the end of September that it was to transfer its Jersey private banking business to the Guernsey subsidiary.

A fit for fintech

In addition, last year saw Guernsey positioning itself to take advantage of opportunities in the digital age. A strategy document to guide the future of Guernsey's fintech sector was published by PwC and our Commerce and Employment Department in July. The paper included analysis of the Guernsey and international environment within the fintech sector to identify key market attributes and the future direction and involvement of local and off-island industry experts and stakeholders.

In Guernsey's favour is the fact that it is so well connected to the rest of the world, sitting at the centre of a hub of subsea fibre cables linking the UK with the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This ensures Guernsey possesses the highly secure data connectivity, resilience and cyber security that the global finance sector and e-gaming industries require. The GFSC's open door policy with fintech entrepreneurs also enables the Commission to work with practitioners to develop new regulatory responses where they are required to meet the needs of innovative products and emerging markets.

Company Law updates

In a move that impacts all sectors, updates to Guernsey's Company Law came into force at the beginning of September. Changes in legislation and associated regulations had made amendments to the Law necessary in order to address practical issues and to ensure that Guernsey remains a highly regarded and competitive jurisdiction.

Amendments were designed around feedback from industry users and now include companies being able to register an alternative name in a non-roman script i.e. using foreign characters. Feedback from industry and practitioners is that the amendments have made a number of administrative processes more straightforward and corporate actions such as amalgamations, migrations and takeovers more efficient.


What is clear from this small snapshot of just some of the developments in the recent past is that Guernsey's finance industry continues to thrive and develop. This is most definitely an exciting and challenging time. Modern finance requires a combination of effective regulation, a robust AML regime, global standards of transparency, and an industry that delivers real substance, excellent advice and high quality service, within a stable political, financial and legal environment. Our continuing success is testimony to our ability to deliver consistently on all of these.

An original version of this article was published in the eprivateclient Special Review – Guernsey 2016 report, January 2016.

For more information about Guernsey's finance industry please visit

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.