Guernsey's offer of stability for international business
during a period of uncertainty around the relationship between the
UK and the European Union has been well received in Asia.
Guernsey Finance Chief Executive Dominic Wheatley said that a
regular question to emerge from meetings held to coincide with the
recent launch of the promotional agency's new representative
office in Hong Kong was how Guernsey would be impacted by a
'Brexit' should the UK vote to leave the European Union in
a referendum on Thursday 23 June.
Mr Wheatley said that while there is uncertainty about the
UK's relationship with the EU, Guernsey's stable
relationships with both is an increasingly important part of the
island's offer as an international finance centre, along with
its continued meeting of the highest international standards in
transparency and regulation.
"The people we spoke to in Hong Kong appreciated the fact
that Guernsey's position with respect to the EU is very clear -
we're a 'third country' now and we'd still be a
'third country' in the event of a 'Brexit'. They
understood that there would be no change in our relationship with
the EU, regardless of how the UK referendum goes," said Mr
Guernsey's Commerce and Employment Minister, Deputy Kevin
Stewart, who was also in Hong Kong for the office launch, echoed
"Guernsey should be seen as an island of stability during
this period of uncertainty. We're already a 'third
country' for financial services and have had an established
'third country' relationship with the EU for a considerable
time," said Deputy Stewart.
"From the meetings I had with businesses in Hong Kong, it
was clear that there was significant interest in South East Asia in
doing business with Guernsey. Therefore, they were pleased to hear
that whatever the referendum result, there would be no change in
Guernsey's relationship with the UK, the City of London or the
EU. At this stage we can offer certainty, something that is
absolutely vital for business."
The Guernsey Hong Kong office, which is located at Three Pacific
Place in Admiralty, was officially launched at the beginning of
March. The office 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's Asia Representative, Wendy Weng, and
International Business Development Director, Kate 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 is also being utilised by the Guernsey Financial
Services Commission (GFSC) to provide regulatory advice to those in
the region who might be considering Guernsey-specific ventures.
Probably the most significant change from previous practice in Guernsey law under the Companies (Guernsey) Law 2008, which came into effect on the 1 July 2008, was the consignment to history of the concept of capital maintenance, which was discarded in favour of a solvency model as the basis of a company’s ability to pay distributions and dividends.
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