The Isle of Man firmly consolidated its position as the 'Best International Finance Centre' at this year's prestigious 10th Anniversary International Investment Fund & Product Awards in London.

It was the ninth year the Isle of Man had won the premier award - only missing out once since the event was launched in 1999. This formidable track record was duly recognised by the judges who congratulated the Island on 'retaining its crown'. The Judges felt that the Island deserved the award over its competitors as it 'clearly identified the challenges it faces and had developed clear strategies to deal with them.'

Isle of Man 'risen to challenges of financial crisis' say judges

Despite a difficult year for the financial sector globally, the number and standard of entries in this year's awards showed no signs of abating, commented Deborah Benn, Chair of the judging panel. 'The overall message was one of continued opportunity for financial companies which have good international reach,' she said.

Exceptional quality

The judges were particularly impressed with the quality of entries this year in response to the introduction of awards for the Best International provider Middle East & Africa and Best International Provider Far East. 'The introduction of these two awards aims to recognise efforts by groups who provide many bespoke products and services to different parts of the world. The level of detail and quality of entries in this category was exceptional,' said Ms Benn. Royal Skandia and Zurich International Life were successful Isle of Man based groups in these categories.

Isle of Man companies again won the major tranche of individual awards – Royal Skandia (Best International Life Group, Best International Provider Far East and Best Commitment to Service); Zurich International Life (Best International Provider Middle East & Africa, Best International Sales Team); AXA Isle of Man's flagship offshore bond Evolution (Best International Life Product); Standard Bank Offshore Group (Best International Bank Group); Fairbairn Private Bank (Best International Wealth Manager). Commenting on the Best International Wealth Manager Award, Managing Director Greg Horton of Fairbairn Private Bank said: 'We are delighted to accept this award as we have significantly developed our wealth management offering over recent years. We have excelled in different markets and feature extremely highly not just against our peer group, but also in comparison against a relevant funds universe.

'The consistency of our performance in these awards serves to highlight our growing reputation as one of the leading wealth management brands across the British offshore islands. This latest recognition positions us extremely well as we now expand into the UK market with the recent launch of our London branch.'

David Wilkinson, Standard Bank's Director of Intermediary Distribution, said he was thrilled to accept the award for the Best International Bank Group on behalf of the Standard Bank team: 'The award is a very credible endorsement of the high standards we strive for within our business.

Understood difficulties

A clearly thrilled Treasury Minister Allan Bell said: 'We were delighted to receive the Best International Finance Centre Award again – especially as the judges understood the difficulties that all economies have been going through during 2008, the survey period for the award. They clearly saw that the Isle of Man had risen to the challenges in a professional and intelligent way.

'It is clear that the Isle of Man's submission was recognised for how it articulated the way forward and was judged on the strengths of the Isle of Man economy, our finance industry and our management of the various challenges arising from the global financial crisis.

'I am particularly pleased that the awards reflect the success of our Isle of Man institutions and recognise their commitment to providing clients with expert products and services. The awards are an endorsement of the quality of the Isle of Man's financial services industry and further enhance our reputation as a centre of excellence,' added Mr Bell.

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