JERSEY'S GROWING LINKS WITH CHINA
By Geoff Cook
Jersey's financial services industry is ideally placed to support the needs of corporate and institutional business and private clients in Greater China.
Through our ongoing engagement with intermediaries, lawyers and financial advisers, this message is now being conveyed more effectively than ever. The opening of a Jersey office in Hong Kong, the sizeable delegations visiting the region on a regular basis and the increasing banking deposits from the Far East now lodged with Jersey banks all demonstrate our growing links with Greater China.
Banking deposits in Jersey are currently at £167 billion. Almost 60% of the total value of deposits in Jersey banks is held in non sterling currencies and 20% is from emerging market economies. Most pertinent to current trends is that the Far East now accounts for over 6% of total banking deposits, which is nearly double last year's figure.
In 2009 significant strides were taken in developing business when Jersey companies were approved for listings on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. As part of the approval process, the Hong Kong Exchange had to satisfy itself that under Jersey law shareholder protection was at least equal to that in Hong Kong. United Company RUSAL Plc, the world's largest aluminium producer, was the first example of a Jersey incorporated company listed on the Exchange. More recently, West China Cement Limited became the first Chinese business held through a Jersey company to be listed. Others are anticipated. Head of Greater China Business Development in Jersey Finance's Hong Kong office in the Central Tower, Queen's Road Central, is Zhaoan Li, an investment and sales specialist with extensive knowledge of the region. Not only has Jersey's presence in the region been enhanced by the opening of an office and by more frequent visits by Government and regulatory officials and Jersey based professionals, but the contact has encouraged greater interest amongst the Chinese to visit Jersey.
Last year, the Chinese Ambassador to London paid an official visit to meet Government officials, the regulator and senior representatives of the finance industry. This year Jersey has welcomed a delegation of leading business people from Tianjin, who visited to learn more about the services available from the jurisdiction.
Jersey Finance plans to host another delegation to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong in November. In the meantime Jersey's Treasury Minister, accompanied by the chief regulator, have been in Shanghai attending the Lujiazui Forum, a global platform for influential government representatives and world financial leaders to discuss international financial cooperation. In addition, a Tax Information Exchange Agreement has recently been negotiated and is due to be signed shortly. Such are the growing official and business ties that a scheme has been established enabling lawyers from a Shanghai based law firm to work in Jersey on secondment, while local lawyers are doing the same in Shanghai. Also, a microsite in Mandarin linked to the Jersey Finance website is under construction so that Chinese intermediaries and investors can learn about the services available from Jersey in their language and with a focus on their bespoke needs.
Here at Jersey Finance we recognise that it is crucial to visit our key markets regularly and to consistently explain our services and highlight the appeal of our jurisdiction. If not present talking about legislative developments and the modernisation of the products and services, a jurisdiction can quickly fall away in terms of awareness. We will draw attention to recent improvements to our legal framework including company law changes, the success of the new Jersey Foundation vehicle and the introduction of new limited partnerships, and also to Jersey's record in achieving top marks when its regulatory regime has been reviewed.
Chinese investors are rightly concerned that their money is managed in a well regulated jurisdiction, where corporate governance is strong. As ties with China are strengthened, Jersey will promote its reputation, governance and expertise, while responding to the specific requirements of investors based in the key markets in the region.
OPPORTUNITY IN GREATER CHINA
By Zhaoan LiHead of Greater China Business Development, Jersey Finance
Jersey Finance has been highlighting its long term appeal in the Greater China region by arranging an increasing number of visits by delegations from Jersey, by participating in top level conferences and through a greater presence in the location.
We cemented this objective last year with the opening of a Jersey Finance office in Hong Kong. This move has been well received and has proved a valuable base from which to network and build business contacts.
When we embarked on our most recent marketing drive in the region we did so confidently in Hong Kong where the trust concept is familiar to many finance professionals. However we also understood that the situation is different in mainland China. So one of our priorities has been to familiarise the finance community in some of the leading finance centres in China with the benefits and uses of a typical trust vehicle.
Raising awareness of Jersey, not simply through promotion of products, but more importantly through educating the intermediaries about the jurisdiction itself, is still key to our growth throughout the region.
This year Jersey Finance will again be a sponsor and exhibitor at STEP Asia in November, the premier event for trust and estate practitioners in Hong Kong, where we will be showcasing Jersey's range of services and taking the opportunity to educate those delegates not so familiar with the variety of wealth management products available. Alongside conferences, Jersey Finance and Jersey trust practitioners have been holding seminars with the Hong Kong Trust Association and meetings with local professionals, tax advisers and other intermediaries to update them on the latest offerings from Jersey, such as the Jersey Foundation vehicle.
Wealth Management – wider options for investors
Since the abolition of estate duty in Hong Kong in 2006, trusts as wealth management tools are increasingly used for succession planning and asset protection rather than for tax purposes. However, we were delighted when the Foundation vehicle also joined Jersey's legislative statute last year, since this widens the options for investors. Key features of the Jersey Foundation vehicle include its separate legal personality, its shareless corporate status, its recognition by civil law jurisdictions, its infinite duration and its adaptable level of founder and guardian control depending on the private or commercial objectives of the founder.
In mainland China we believe there are many opportunities for wealth management professionals. China's most recent statistics show that economic growth has accelerated to the highest rate in nearly three years to 11.9% during the first quarter of 2010, benefiting from a low base comparison last year and the momentum from massive stimulus packages. With wealth accumulating at record speed in China and with waves of emigration from China to the UK for both education and business purposes, there is a steady growth in Private Discretionary Trusts.
Jersey's proximity to the UK and its well established track record as a trust jurisdiction makes it an extremely favourable regime for the establishment of Private Trust Companies (PTC).
Typically a PTC will be a limited liability company in Jersey with the shares owned by the family concerned or more commonly by a purpose trust. Either way the family can control the composition of the board of directors and in this way can obtain a degree of certainty that the assets of the underlying trusts will be managed in a manner that meets their approval. In Jersey a PTC can be established on a fast track basis within 24 hours.
PTCs have become increasingly popular with high net worth individuals looking to establish a form of family office structure involving the administration of trusts of which the PTC will be trustee.
Our decision to invest increasing time in developing a presence in the region arose at an auspicious time since it coincided with Jersey obtaining greater recognition internationally for the quality of its regulatory regime and its commitment to transparency and high standards of corporate governance. For the powerful new emerging economies in Asia, these issues are naturally important and advisers in these countries, particularly those who may not have worked with Jersey before, will have been reassured by recent independent endorsements from organisations such as the International Monetary Fund - where Jersey has obtained the best review of any jurisdiction to date of its regulatory and supervisory capabilities.
The world economy is recovering. If you look at the emerging markets and Asia in particular, it is apparent that they have come out of the slowdown faster than the US and other European economies. From Jersey's point of view, we think it is important that we capitalise on this resurgence and capture the renewal in business activity, for we are ideally placed to support the needs of corporate and private clients in the region.
BUILDING ON CHINESE SUCCESS SO FAR
By Marc Yates Partner, Ogier
Jersey's continued recognition as the highest rated offshore international finance centre in the latest Global Financial Centres Index remains vitally important in the drive by Jersey's finance industry to diversify its client base around the world.
This is particularly the case in the Asian region as China develops and is likely to become the world's biggest economy in only a matter of years.
Equally important is recognition by foreign financial regulators and governments. The approval in 2009 of Jersey as an 'approved jurisdiction' for the purposes of listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and the listing there of the first Jersey incorporated company, United Company RUSAL Plc¹, certainly created considerable awareness, publicity and many column inches in the Chinese press! Subsequent to that listing, Jersey incorporated West China Cement became the second to list in the Hong Kong, having delisted from London's AIM. With many Jersey companies already in use around the world, these listings represent the first wave to access Asian capital on the region's exchanges.
The time and effort invested by Jersey's finance industry in building relationships between Jersey, Hong Kong and China has certainly been beneficial so far, but it is not the end of the work required. Jersey has more to do in developing relationships with the Chinese.
As far as Jersey companies are concerned, the robust but reasonably flexible Jersey regulatory regime, together with laws and corporate governance principles internationally acceptable to business, are very attractive to issuers and investors alike when raising money. For similar reasons, there should be no reason why Jersey companies and other entities should not be attractive in the investment funds sector in the region. Perhaps most importantly of all, the stature and reputation of Jersey's trusts laws, coupled with the vast experience of the professionals working in the area and the widely recognised and effective judicial system to uphold and protect rights, makes private client work the most attractive target. Indeed, China is a country with one of the fastest growing number of millionaires in the world.
But that's only half of the picture - there are many Jersey businesses which have good relationships with Chinese clients and taking into account the size of Chinese economy, that business represents a very small proportion of the total that is potentially available. Jersey has some huge benefits to offer; it has an impressive track record and the ability to provide some real advantages to clients in comparison to other international financial centres.
However, there is a growing need to have professionals, particularly law firms, on the ground, able to serve their clients' needs personally and in the clients' time zone. That physical presence is very important as those who deal with Chinese and Asian clients will know, the personal trust and relationship which needs to be built is one which is developed over a period of time and many contacts.
Jersey lawyers in Hong Kong
Until recently there had not been any Jersey lawyers in Asia, but that changed this year with the transfer of Jersey based lawyers to Ogier's existing Hong Kong office. There are other global offshore law firms with both Jersey and Hong Kong offices and they, as well as other Jersey financial services businesses, are now looking at building more physical presence in Asia to take advantage of the opportunities there. In doing so, Jersey as a jurisdiction will increase its exposure there and more business will be generated back in Jersey, where the infrastructure of the jurisdiction in the form of expertise, registries and regulation exist.
There are two important facts to note. The first is that the signing of a double tax treaty with mainland China is vital. Negotiations regarding a Tax Information Exchange Agreement between Jersey and China have recently been completed, so a positive business and political relationship is already being established.
The second is that some of the Chinese mainland stock exchanges have grown even quicker and bigger than Hong Kong and, when they open up to non-Chinese companies being able to list there, that will create all sorts of new opportunities for Jersey in assisting businesses with Chinese connections to take advantage of that. Whilst growth in Jersey business can only be achieved by the private sector undertaking that business, the negotiation of information exchange agreements and double tax treaties at the government and regulator level will, in the long term, produce more benefits and, generally, will be essential in ensuring that as many opportunities as possible are open to Jersey.
HONG KONG STOCK EXCHANGE LISTINGS AND IPO UPDATE
By Guy Coltman Partner, Carey Olsen
Following the decision of the Hong Stock Exchange to approve Jersey as a jurisdiction of incorporation for admission to the Exchange, the first Chinese business held through a Jersey company has been listed successfully.
West China Cement Limited (WCC), a leading cement producer in the Shaanxi province of China and recognised in 2009 by Forbes magazine as one of 'Asia's 200 Best Companies with a Market Capitalization Under US$1billion', completed its global offering and listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx) on 23 August 2010.
The global offering, which comprised of a Hong Kong public offering and an international placing, was substantially oversubscribed and raised approximately HK$1,280 million. WCC de-listed from AIM in conjunction with its admission to the HKEx. Carey Olsen advised WCC on the Jersey legal aspects of the transaction, which went smoothly from a Jersey perspective, with no material Jersey issues.
While Jersey and Hong Kong company law are largely based on English company law, where there are differences between the two, the HKEx will expect any issues to be bridged by way of amendments to a Jersey company's articles of association (its key constitutional document). To all intents and purposes, the protections and control afforded to shareholders and the company's internal management will therefore largely reflect the norm under Hong Kong law and will be in line with market expectations.
The WCC listing is a landmark transaction for Jersey. Typically, Jersey companies are mainly used for listing on the London market (both Main Market and AIM), as has been seen by the recent successful listing on AIM of Asia Ceramics Holdings plc. However, listings of Jersey companies have also been made on Euronext, NASDAQ, the Australian Stock Exchange and other exchanges both in Europe and North America. The ability to list in Hong Kong, together with the advantages of using Jersey companies to list on the London market (Takeover Code application, CREST settlement, no stamp duty, tax neutrality and a flexible yet recognised company law regime), now opens the possibility of dual listings on those markets on a basis that is not open to many other competitor jurisdictions.
The WCC listing follows on from an increase in activity in the Initial Public Offering (IPO) market, which has directly affected business levels in Jersey. Carey Olsen, along with other law firms, is experiencing an increase in transactions in this sector across a variety of markets. The pick-up in global equity markets has led to increased appetite, from a low base, for IPOs from which Jersey has benefitted. Jersey therefore continues to be a popular jurisdiction in which to incorporate listing vehicles - a trend which it is hoped will continue in the Greater China market going forward.
JERSEY FOUNDATIONS: A NEW STRING TO JERSEY'S BOW
By Oliver Donagher Associate Director, Horizon Group
Like the foundations of a house, Jersey has in recent years been working on a law to strengthen its foundations as a world-class leader in the field of Offshore Financial Services.
The new Foundations (Jersey) Law came into force in July 2009. This new legal entity of a Foundation is a combination of a Trust and a Company and its characteristics can be summarised as follows:
- It can hold assets in its own name
- It can enter into a contract, it can sue and be sued in its own name
- It has a Council of Members to administer the business of the Foundation
- There are no shareholders, hence some refer to it as an Orphan Entity
- It can have one or more objects, which can be either charitable or non-charitable and/or be for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries
A Foundation is established in a similar way to a Company. Instead of Subscribers, a Founder is the person who calls for the Foundation to be incorporated. However, only a Qualified Person, someone who is registered with the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) to carry on Trust Company Business, can apply for the incorporation of a Foundation, but a Founder can instruct a Qualified Person to apply on the Founder's behalf.
The Qualified Person will be required to file a Charter with the Registrar at the JFSC. The Charter will have to specify the objects of the Foundation and unlike other jurisdictions, Jersey will not require a Foundation's objective to be non-profit making.
Many see the advantages of a Foundation as follows:
- It can be used for general commercial transactions provided that they are incidental to the attainment of its objects
- It can be seen as an alternative to Trusts, particularly in parts of the world where the concept of Trusts are unknown or alien
- Charities and Philanthropic organisations can use
Jersey Foundations as a vehicle for distribution In relation to taxation, Foundations are treated like Jersey Companies, i.e. liable for 0% tax under the new 0/10 system. However, the service provider is required to notify the Income Tax Department if there are any Jersey resident beneficiaries. The UK has no provisions for Foundations for any of its taxes.
As Jersey thrives in areas such as Wealth Management, clients seeking a viable alternative to a Trust or Company are finding that a Jersey Foundation just suits their needs.
JERSEY FOUNDATIONS IN ACTION
By Giles Corbin Partner, Mourant Ozannes
Since the Foundations (Jersey) Law 2009 came into force, we have seen a diverse range of practical applications to satisfy philanthropic, private and purpose objectives.
Foundations have been most popular amongst individuals owning assets in Continental Europe, though Jersey is now seeing increased interest from clients in Hong Kong, Russia and the UK. Most Jersey Foundations are brand new incorporations, with one exception to date being a continuance of an existing Liechtenstein Stiftung. The continuance process worked well, so this should help pave the way for future migrations of Foundations to Jersey.
Why a Jersey Foundation?
Founders select the Jersey structure for a compelling combination of reasons:
- The Jersey Foundation has civil law recognition as a separate legal personality.
- The Foundations Law is drafted in a very permissive way which gives great flexibility to the way in which a Foundation is internally administered and externally as to how it provides benefit.
- There can be a high degree of Founder involvement where desired and appropriate for tax or legal reasons.
- The Founder has a high degree of freedom to restrict or positively prescribe the flow of information to beneficiaries.
- The integral safeguards of the structure are the omnipresent Guardian (supervisor of the Council Members) and the accountability of Members to the Foundation and regulatory oversight over the cornerstone Qualified Member by the Jersey Financial Services Commission (one of the Council Members must be a license holder with the Commission).
- A Jersey Foundation can have non-Jersey non-licence holding resident individuals or corporations acting as Council Members (to sit alongside the Qualified Member).
- It can have non-Jersey non-licence holding resident individuals or corporations, or committee of two or more thereof, acting as Guardian if desired.
- Jersey is a highly respected, well regulated and stable jurisdiction, with a quality kitemark of administration, legal and accountancy services.
- Jersey boasts a skill set groomed over the past 50 years in company and trust administration that transfers perfectly to the practical operational aspects of administering Jersey Foundations.
- Jersey Foundations are safeguarded by robust, internationally respected Royal Court judgments and by the Privy Council being the ultimate court of appeal.
What are Jersey Foundations being used for?
The diversity of uses to which this flexible new structure has been employed is impressive. The three main streams of Foundations instructions being received are as follows:
1. Jersey Philanthropic Foundations
Sophisticated Ultra High Net Worth philanthropists are using Jersey Foundations and, in part, the attraction lies in the name itself. 'Foundation' is such a popular moniker for philanthropic structures that a number of charitable organisations bear that name, even though they are trusts (for example 'The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation'). The word 'foundation' suggests solidity and permanence, a body firmly anchored to the ground by virtue of publicly transparent registration. The Jersey Foundation has all these attributes making it suitable for those wishing to leave a legacy for long term philanthropic objectives.
2. Very Private Jersey Family Foundations
The Foundation structure offers greater privacy to a Founder than is achievable presently with Trusts. Beneficiaries of discretionary Jersey Foundations do not have any interest in the assets of the Foundation, nor any statutory right to see the accounts or non-public papers relating to the Foundation. The quid pro quo for the severance of direct accountability to the beneficiaries is the accountability of Council Members to the Foundation itself and the fact the Guardian is specifically charged with taking such steps as are reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the council of the foundation carries out its functions.
Founders who own assets located in civil law countries, including China, Russia, most of continental Europe, Asia and Latin America, naturally favour structures with the DNA of a Civil Law vehicle. This is where the corporate (distinct legal entity) quality of the Jersey Foundation really makes the difference. It is not only important for recognition but also makes for simpler structures because it negates the necessity for a company to underlie a Trust, potentially saving separate company administration fees.
3. Jersey Orphan Foundations
The Jersey Foundation is proving popular as an advantageous alternative to the Purpose Trust. Having no shares in issuance makes the Foundation the perfect natural orphan vehicle. As a corporate vehicle in its own right and therefore recognised in its own name, there are no private beneficiaries who might feel vulnerable in the event of legal action. There is often also a cost and complexity saving in using a Purpose Foundation as it provides a more comprehensive solution in one vehicle. Thanks to the flexibility of the Jersey Foundation, its use is only really limited by the imagination of the Founders and their professional advisers. In its first year the Jersey Foundation has enjoyed great success. The structure has already been put to a myriad of uses and this trend looks set to continue.
BANKING IN JERSEY
By Joe Moynihan President of the Jersey Bankers Association Managing Director, AIB Bank (CI) Limited
Jersey has an excellent reputation in the banking industry with 45 banking license holders, including branches and subsidiaries of some of the world's leading banks.
These banks come from the United Kingdom, Europe, the United States, Canada, South Africa and the Gulf. Banks are attracted to Jersey thanks to its political and economic stability and its legal and regulatory environment. With a history of providing banking services to clients all over the world for almost 50 years, Jersey is truly one of the world's top international finance centres.
As banks and their clients expand their businesses internationally, there is a requirement to provide services from jurisdictions that can facilitate efficient international financial services in a tax neutral environment, which simplifies investments for non residents. Jersey is such a location.
Jersey banking services have been catering for the needs of 'internationally mobile' individuals for many years. Products and services have been specifically designed for this client base. As private wealth has increased generally over the years and individuals have relocated and/or sought to invest in other jurisdictions, the banking industry has adapted to meet those needs. The use of offshore investment vehicles such as hedge funds and private equity have placed further demands on Jersey banks, who have responded with increasingly sophisticated products and services.
For Chinese banks seeking to expand their businesses globally to assist their clients, the opportunities provided by Jersey should not be ignored. As clients relocate, or businesses invest into new jurisdictions, there are many ways in which a Jersey presence can assist in terms of retaining clients and in identifying further growth opportunities.
Setting up in Jersey
Under Jersey regulations only banks in the world's top 500 or banks of systemic importance in their country of origin are allowed to operate from the island. Should a bank wish to consider setting up an operation in Jersey, there are a number of options available;
- It is possible to set up a wholly owned subsidiary in Jersey. This option has been used by many banks and involves setting up a Jersey company, requiring capital. This would normally involve acquisition of premises, staff etc.
- Another option is to set up a Jersey branch of the parent bank. The branch does not have the same level of corporate governance overhead and does not require capital. This would usually entail a physical presence with staff, premises etc.
- Jersey based businesses are used for joint ventures, collaborations and partnerships. It would be possible for a Chinese bank to enter into an arrangement whereby clients are introduced and become clients of another Jersey bank, in order to 'test' the market. Should the Chinese bank then decide to set up an operation, clients would be invited to transfer accounts to the bank.
- Jersey regulations also provide facilities for banks to operate as 'managed banks'. This means that an existing Jersey bank acts as 'manager' of the Jersey bank/branch, taking responsibility for the operation. This arrangement is often suitable for 'start up' situations and may result in conversion to full bank arrangements in the future if required.
Chinese banks considering opportunities in Jersey should contact Jersey Finance to arrange introductions to the Jersey regulator and meetings with other professionals in the industry. The Jersey Bankers Association, which supports the strong and diverse banking industry, would also be happy to assist.
LEARNING FIRST HAND ABOUT JERSEY'S FINANCE INDUSTRY
By Jackie Maratier Events Manager, Jersey Finance
Many steps have been taken in recent years to strengthen Jersey's standing in Greater China. A permanent physical presence in the region was established in 2009 with the opening of a Hong Kong office.
This has been complemented by regular visits to China by delegations from Jersey, frequent participation in top level conferences and many seminars and meetings with local professionals and associations. These trips by Government and regulatory officials and Jersey based professionals to the region have also encouraged greater interest amongst the Chinese to visit Jersey.
Delegation from Tianjin visit Jersey
Jersey recently welcomed a group of leading business people from Tianjin, who visited to learn more about the services available from the jurisdiction. Tianjin is one of the fastest growing finance centres in China and in recent years the private equity fund sector has been developing at an extremely high rate.
Led by Mr Wu Dong, Deputy Director of Dongjiang Free Trade Port Zone of Tianjin, the group met with representatives from the States of Jersey, the Jersey Financial Services Commission and the Finance Industry to find out how Jersey operates as a major international finance centre in terms of policy, regulation, tax, foreign exchange, trade and finance. The delegates were keen to learn how they can work with Jersey to foster strong business relationships, especially in the ship and aircraft leasing and financing area, which has seen significant development since 2009.
The trip was extremely successful. The delegates were impressed with everything Jersey has to offer as a diverse and sophisticated finance centre and Jersey hopes to build on this momentum and establish a strong relationship with this important city in China in the long term.
Jersey officials attend the Lujiazui Forum
Jersey's Treasury Minister, accompanied by the Director General of the Jersey Financial Services Commission and Jersey Finance's Head of Greater China Business Development, attended the Lujiazui Forum in Shanghai recently. The Forum is a global platform for influential government representatives and world financial leaders to discuss international financial cooperation.
Before the Forum, the Treasury Minister attended meetings in Hong Kong with government officials including the British Consulate-General and the Head of Listings at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Next Jersey Finance visit to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong
Representatives of Jersey's Finance Industry will visit China and Hong Kong in November, the second official trip of 2010. Led by Jersey Finance Chairman Jonathon White and Hong Kong based, Zhaoan Li, the team will continue to build relationships with intermediaries in the financial services sector through meetings and single firm presentations.
The delegation will also have a strong presence at the STEP Asia Conference, the premier event for trust and estate practitioners, which is taking place this year in Shanghai from 3rd to 5th November. They will showcase the range of services available from Jersey and take the opportunity to enlighten delegates not yet familiar with the variety of wealth management products available.
NEW SECONDMENT EXCHANGE PROGRAMME
By Zhaoan Li Head of Greater China Business Development, Jersey Finance
Legal professionals in Jersey and China are benefitting from a newly established Secondment Exchange Programme that has been designed to further strengthen Jersey's growing business links with Greater China.
Jersey firms are partnering with King & Wood, one of the largest law firms in the region. The Secondment Programme has received a very positive response from both Chinese and Jersey lawyers and it is hoped that the scheme will become a long term arrangement. Lianghua Wang (Mike), Partner at King & Wood, has been instrumental in helping to establish this programme. The first Jersey participants, Lauren Fletcher and Claire O'Boyle, headed to Shanghai recently for a period of three months. King & Wood will send a number of their lawyers to work on a secondment basis in Jersey firms in the near future.
Geoff Cook, Chief Executive, Jersey Finance, said 'Jersey has made great strides in building a strong relationship with China in recent years, through regular visits to the Far East, the appointment of Zhaoan and the opening of a representative office in Hong Kong last year. Initiatives like this Secondment Programme really help to reinforce that relationship. Not only will it give Jersey lawyers the opportunity to gain experience in a key market, it will also enable Chinese lawyers to come and see for themselves the kind of high quality work that is done here.'
First Jersey participants
Lauren Fletcher, Associate in the Business and Trust Law Group at Ogier, Jersey, recently began her secondment at King & Wood. Lauren specialises in investment funds (both listed and non-listed), corporate, finance and debt listings. As a Legal Secondee in the Foreign Direct Investments team at King & Wood, Lauren has been assisting with a wide range of matters including legal due diligence on potential domestic acquisitions, silver and aluminium purchases, intellectual property rights, breach of contract, shareholder activism, import and export laws, structuring foreign direct investment in China and private wealth structuring issues. She commented 'The experience of working for a top tier firm in the rapidly growing city of Shanghai has been invaluable. The type of work in which I have been involved, although different from my usual practice, has been interesting and challenging. It has been useful to gain an understanding of the legal framework, in particular issues affecting foreign vehicles investing into China and outbound investment together with the appropriate method of structuring such investment. I have enjoyed meeting with contacts both internally and externally (including representatives of local companies and city firms with offices in Shanghai) to highlight the benefits of Jersey in respect of both inbound and outbound investment, IPOs and private wealth, and to gain a greater understanding of the approach to business in the region.'
Claire O'Boyle also joined King & Wood on secondment recently. As an Associate in the Corporate Department at Carey Olsen, Jersey, Claire's area of expertise is in corporate finance, particularly AIM and Main Market LSE listings, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate transactions. Before leaving Jersey for Shanghai, she was working as part of the Carey Olsen team advising West China Cement Limited on its successful global offering and listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx). At King & Wood Claire is working in the Securities Department and is finding the chance to assist on HKEx IPOs a great opportunity to become more familiar with how the Exchange works. Claire has also been assisting on a NASDAQ IPO from the underwriter's side and has attended various marketing and networking events. She commented 'Being able to see at first hand the rapidly expanding and advancing nature of China's - and particularly Shanghai's - economy and development and to gain a better understanding of how business is conducted in this region has been hugely beneficial. King & Wood is one of the biggest law firms in China so the quality of the transactions in terms of value, complexity and clients is very high.'
The new Secondment Programme is an exciting development for Jersey. The ongoing transfer of knowledge and skills between the jurisdiction and China will undoubtedly serve to strengthen links and develop business in the region.
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