Jersey's 50 year pedigree as an international finance centre is proving to be an attractive feature to those seeking a jurisdiction of substance when choosing a location. A number of other factors are also playing a part in developing Jersey's international appeal further, such as Jersey's commitment to fighting fiscal crime; confirmation that Jersey's revised zero-ten corporate tax regime has a long term future; increasing evidence that Jersey investment structures are ideal for listing purposes and a growing interest among Asian investors in the investment structures used in wealth planning strategies.
In the most recent Global Financial Centres Index, Jersey continues to feature as the number one offshore jurisdiction, thanks to the expertise of its workforce and its long term reputation. It has also entered the top ten of jurisdictions for wealth management and private banking and is now ranked fifth among European locations behind London, Zurich, Geneva and Frankfurt.
Regulation and tax information exchange
One of the factors that is helping Jersey to retain this leading international position is its stance in the fight against fiscal crime. It is committed to the global drive for greater transparency whilst not compromising the rights to confidentiality of legitimate clients.
In a comprehensive report published recently by the World Bank and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Jersey's effective procedure for identifying beneficial owners of companies was positively singled out. The report stated that "of the 40 jurisdictions reviewed only one – Jersey – required the beneficial owner to be identified and recorded by a government body, the Companies Registry within the Jersey Financial Services Commission". Jersey's procedures were then used in a case study within the report.
Jersey continues to sign Tax Information Exchange Agreements, the most recent being important agreements with India and Japan, the 13th and 14th signed with G20 nations. There are more in the pipeline.
In a report from the Financial Stability Board to the G20, Jersey is a jurisdiction in the top tier for demonstrating strong adherence to international standards of regulation and information exchange. The Financial Action Task Force also has Jersey in the top tier.
Serving both corporate and private clients
Jersey continues to provide the regulatory conditions and legislative armoury required to support the needs of financial institutions and other corporate clients, as well as high net worth individuals and their families.
Continuous innovation and development means international investors have more choice when working with practitioners in Jersey. New Limited Partnership legislation, for example, has broadened the choice of options for fund promoters.
During the debate on the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive, Jersey has used the opportunity to streamline and innovate its fund offering. The provision of a new private placement fund is being worked on, which will improve speed to market and ease of formation.
In the wealth management sector, new trust law amendments are imminent, whilst Jersey foundations, which now number more than 100, mean that Jersey now has even broader appeal in the major economies in the Far East and India. Jersey is also ideally placed to meet the increasing demand for investments with philanthropic objectives.
Jersey companies continue to be a preferred choice for institutional clients, particularly those seeking to invest in the West. Chinese investment in Jersey is growing rapidly for example. Nearly £9 billion of banking deposits held in Jersey are from Greater China and the Far East. Three influential deals have been listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange since approval was given for Jersey holding companies to list on it. Worldwide there are more than 90 Jersey companies listed on leading stock exchanges, with a combined market capitalisation of more than £135 billion.
An attractive domicile
For business owners Jersey offers quality of location too, thanks to numerous factors including a stable business tax system, revisions to which have recently obtained approval from the EU's Code of Conduct Group; premium but affordable office space; an excellent education system; health and housing opportunities and a beautiful natural environment. In particular Jersey is an attractive domicile for fund managers and boutique providers of international financial services.
Jersey has just celebrated the 50th anniversary of its modern financial services industry. Its international appeal is now stronger than ever. During the year ahead Jersey Finance and its Members will continue a programme of visits to London, Continental Europe, Russia, the Gulf, India, China and other parts of the Far East. Should any of the Jersey Finance hosted events be of interest to you, please let us know. Full details of our events programme can be found at www.jerseyfinance.je/events.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.