Ben Hill, Managing Director of Ocorian in Guernsey, recaps the key discussion points from the second day of We Are Guernsey's Guernsey Funds Forum Webinar.
For those looking for signs of optimism in what has been a troubling 2020 for many, the past week has been one to forget – surging coronavirus cases have prompted fresh lockdowns across the world; there were fatal terror attacks in Vienna; and somewhat more predictably, there has been chaos and confusion in the form of the US election.
In a world where the only certainty is uncertainty, core values are a welcome constant for fund managers and their investors.
It was fitting then, that the panel on day two of this week's Guernsey Funds Forum Webinar praised Guernsey's strong set of guiding principles. It is a jurisdiction underpinned by a strong legal system, a robust regulatory framework and a body of experience and expertise accumulated across many professional sectors and numerous decades.
These core values of integrity and experience are the reasons why the jurisdiction is so well regarded by global investment managers, investors, and regulatory bodies such as the OECD, Moneyval and the Financial Action Task Force.
The panel also highlighted the benefits of Guernsey being a jurisdiction of substance, which has alignment with both the UK and the EU, but importantly remaining independent of both and is therefore largely unimpacted by the repercussions of Brexit.
In such volatile times, a suite of globally recognised products and the proven ability to deploy these to market quickly and efficiently is key. Not content with this, the jurisdiction continues to engage with global partners to understand how it can further support the global investment community. This can be evidenced by the introduction of limited partnerships regulations in July, which have made it easier for foreign limited partnerships to be migrated to Guernsey, as they no longer have to terminate the existing entity and establish a new one.
Guernsey's dynamism could also be seen when it first entered lockdown and its financial services industry seamlessly swapped the office for the home office, which validated statements made over time about just how robust the jurisdiction is.
From the foundations of the local infrastructure to the access granted to government decision makers, from increased communication across the industry to a practical regulator eager to engage in regular dialogue, it showed the forethought, measured professionalism and most importantly, the trust shared across the sector, to continue to deliver the levels of service excellence that the global investment community has enjoyed for decades.
While portfolios were crashing, investment managers were concerning themselves with how an upcoming transaction or fundraising would be supported. Lawyers, accountants, fund administrators and local NEDs stood up, and underpinned by years of trust, created the constant that ensured those in a world of chaos had a sanctuary on which to rely.
While a second wave of lockdowns now sweeps the globe and the unknown ramifications of Brexit loom, Guernsey remains agile and the bedrock of its core values presents a safe harbour to investment managers and their investors. Those with differing experiences in other jurisdictions are beginning to contemplate Guernsey as an attractive jurisdiction that provides shelter from the next meteor shower of volatility.
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.