Guernsey's position on the OECD 'white list' is
giving it an edge over competitors in the race for financial
services business in China.
A delegation from Guernsey spent last week (20th
April – 24th April) meeting senior government
and regulatory officials as well as fiduciary and funds business
introducers such as lawyers and accountants in both Beijing and
This was the Island's third major delegation to Shanghai
– where it has a permanent office – but the
first time that it has had such a large presence in Beijing.
"A recurring theme of the meetings was Guernsey's
position on the OECD 'white list' that was published at the
conclusion of the G20 summit in London at the start of April. Our
hosts were particularly interested in how this compared with the
'grey listing' of the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin
Islands – two jurisdictions which are widely used in
China for company formation," said Peter Niven, Chief
Executive of Guernsey Finance.
"In fact several senior officials specifically brought up
the issue and were keen to learn about the work we had undertaken
to achieve the 'white list' status. This position gives our
offering an extra edge and is something we will be looking to
maximise going forward so that we can attract business that might
have otherwise gone to competitors such as these traditional
favourites from the Caribbean."
Guernsey's 'white listing' comes after the Island
was ranked 12th in the latest Global Financial Centres
Index (GFCI) published in March this year. This placed Guernsey
ahead of Jersey (13th), Luxembourg (14th),
the Isle of Man (18th), the Cayman Islands
(22nd) and the British Virgin Islands
Mr Niven added: "There was also tremendous interest in the
potential for listing on the Channel Islands Stock Exchange (CISX)
as a way to access European markets. The Shanghai Stock Exchange
and the London Stock Exchange already have very strong links. We
have very good links with both and will be looking to build on
these, particularly those between the Channel Islands Stock
Exchange and the Shanghai Stock Exchange so that we can develop
future business flows."
Last week's delegation comprised Mr Niven and
representatives from Trident Trust, Goethe Management, Richmond
Fiduciary Group and Deloitte. The itinerary comprised four distinct
programmes running concurrently so that in both cities the team
could meet with leading fiduciary and funds business introducers
such as lawyers, accountants and consultants as well as government
and regulatory officials.
These latter meetings included the China Securities Regulatory
Commission (CSRC), the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC),
the People's Bank of China, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM)
and the British Embassy while in Beijing and the Shanghai Municipal
Financial Services Office and the British Consulate General in
It had been announced just prior to the delegation's arrival
that Shanghai has been designated as China's major financial
centre with the aim of developing it to a stature similar to that
of the City of London by 2020.
Mr Niven said: "We had some indication that this would be
the case because of comments made by Shanghai's Vice-Mayor Tu
during his visit to Guernsey at the end of last year. It was at
this time that he highlighted how Guernsey's experience and
expertise as a leading international finance means that we can play
an important part in the expansion of the financial services sector
in Shanghai over the coming decade.
"Indeed I met with Dr Fang Xinghai, Director General at the
Shanghai Municipal Financial Services Office, who is spearheading
the city towards its 2020 goal. We have an extremely good
relationship and I think it is very likely Guernsey will be
involved in the work that he is doing.
"In Beijing we met a number of the regulatory bodies as
well as visiting Xie Duo, the Minister for International Affairs at
the People's Bank of China – what is in effect the
central bank. He was part of the delegation that visited Guernsey
last year and has since moved from Shanghai to Beijing. We also
have a very good relationship and this should assist us greatly as
we continue to develop our presence in the city."
Guernsey is planning to continue its promotional push in the Far
East region during October and November this year through a range
of activities in China off the back of participation at SuperReturn
Asia in Hong Kong and as headline sponsor at STEP Asia in
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