Jersey's commercial ties with countries in the Gulf region are strong. Jersey Finance's office in Abu Dhabi, established in response to increasing requirements from both corporate and private clients for international and cross border financial services, is clear evidence of Jersey's commitment. Recently two banking professionals from Qatar completed an Internship Programme in Jersey developing relationships between jurisdictions in the Gulf further still.
Ahmed Al-Anqar, based at the Qatar National Bank, and Fahad Hiiji, who works at the Commercial Bank of Qatar, visited Jersey for six months to observe first-hand how businesses operate here and to discuss where there might be synergies between the two jurisdictions. The pilot programme was the result of discussions between Jersey Finance, the Qatar Financial Centre and the Qatar Financial Business Academy. Three firms hosted the interns - Hawksford, HSBC and JTC Group.
The interns spent a significant time at wealth structuring business Hawksford, where they worked within three client services teams – Hawksford Funds, Hawksford Fidicuary and Hawksford Private Office – and in other departments including Risk, Governance and Compliance and Marketing. They were given an insight into Hawksford's marketing and business development strategy, the standards and procedures adopted for reviewing potential opportunities and the service levels that the firm's client teams provide.
HSBC hosted the interns for a period of seven weeks. Their time was divided between the Business Development and Wealth teams in London and the HSBC Expat head office in Jersey. The interns gained an insight into the workings of various departments and teams, including the 'Relationship Managers Customer Experience' department and the HSBC Middle East team, and they also visited local branches and the commercial centre.
The interns time at JTC Group was spent predominately in two departments - Private Client Services and Corporate Services. Work shadowing sessions with senior managers provided overviews of the business areas, client portfolios and processes, whilst meetings with the Managing Director and Director of Human Resources and Operations served to give a greater insight into JTC group's vision, culture and strategy.
Both the interns and the teams at the participating firms gained a great deal from the programme. Not only did it provide the opportunity to exchange knowledge at jurisdictional and business levels, it also enabled the participants to gain greater understanding of cultures in which both parties operate.
The interns thoroughly enjoyed the time they spent in Jersey, learning a great deal about business practices and building an excellent network of contacts. They were especially impressed with the number of companies and financial institutions based in Jersey and their diverse client bases, particularly in terms of Middle East portfolios.
Sean Costello, Jersey Finance's Chief Representative Officer for the Gulf Cooperation Council and India, based in Abu Dhabi, commented, 'Qatar and Jersey have strong links already, across the spectrum of regulatory, financial services and private investment management. This knowledge exchange programme is serving to reinforce those connections even further, for the future prosperity of both jurisdictions.'
It is hoped that this pilot internship programme will be the first of many between Jersey and countries in the Gulf region.
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