Originally published in Investor Services Journal,
Let me wish you all a very happy New Year. Annually at this
time we tend to look back over the previous year and forward at
what might lie ahead for us during the next twelve months.
Well, if 2007 is anything to go by then the phrase expect the
unexpected should cover us for 2008.
This time last year I was looking back over the tremendous
achievements of Guernseys funds industry in 2006. Given those
successes and the positive start to 2007, it appeared that the
same growth might not be sustained throughout the year. This
became even more likely with the sub-prime crisis and the
unprecedented issues regarding Northern Rock.
However, while activity is not quite as frenetic as
pre-credit crunch, business flows have remained more than
robust. The value of funds under management and administration
in Guernsey reached £164bn at the end of September an
increase of 6% over the quarter and 36% on the same time in
The sector has been boosted by Februarys introduction of the
innovative registered closed-ended funds regime, which was
heralded at a specific Masterclass session in London. This
event was followed by Septembers Guernsey Funds Roadshow to
Manchester, Leeds and Edinburgh and there are now plans to
promote the sector again in London but also in New York as
further changes emanating from the Harwood Report come
on-stream during 2008.
What I hear is that, at least for the first half of 2008,
there is a strong pipeline of business coming into the Island
and there is also other substantial business out there to be
won. That is why we are still very much active in promoting the
Island and particularly our growing reputation as a centre of
excellence for alternative investments like funds of hedge
funds, private equity and property, as well as more esoteric
asset classes such as fine wine, fine art and timber.
I wonder whether looking back later at 2007 we might believe
it was a pivotal year a watershed but of course for that we
will have to wait well into 2008.
In a world of ever-increasing competition, Guernsey remains
at the forefront of international finance centres through its
on-going development of attractive products and pragmatic
regulation. In fact, all the ingredients are in place for
Guernsey to maintain its position as a jurisdiction where
clients want to conduct business (and keep coming back for
more) long may that continue.
Many people are baffled by trusts, the purpose of which they don't fully comprehend. Some even regard them with suspicion, as tools of of opaque tax evasion strategies of a type favoured by wealthy individuals.
We were recently instructed by a Bank in relation to a regulatory matter. The Bank had made a suspicious activity report to the Financial Investigation Unit ("FIU") due to their concerns about the potential source of funds in an account.
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