Jonny Gamble joined the Guernsey Finance Business Development team in May as its dedicated US Representative, to give the American market a more consistent Guernsey presence. In our latest BD blog, Jonny talks about his first few weeks in the role.
The US market represents many opportunities for Guernsey, which is well known as a conduit for global capital flows. I am really excited to have joined Guernsey Finance at such an interesting time in the organisation's growth, and being involved in Guernsey's continued development in the region.
I have spent much of my early time in the role preparing the way for my trip to New York in September for SuperReturn North America. I hope to catch up with contacts I have established over the years and connect them with Guernsey for their financial services needs. This will be the first of many regular trips I will be making to the US, mostly to New York but also occasionally Miami or Los Angeles.
So far, the focus has been on private wealth, but we expect other service lines to develop over the coming weeks.
The main challenge I see in taking up this role is changing existing business habits in the US and leading more intermediaries to use Guernsey. The US culture of doing business differs from the UK and Europe. Their big issues are historically time and cost. US clients have traditionally used geographically convenient jurisdictions, citing ease of timing and doing business.
Despite this historic preference for convenience, the tide is turning in the US' focus on reputation and regulation, 'blacklisting' being a concern, for example. They care about reputation more than ever – not just looking for the easy, cheaper option anymore, but the right option.
The direction of travel suggests that clients want to associate themselves with reputable centres. There are positives to Guernsey far beyond its place on the EU's and OECD's 'whitelist' of tax compliant jurisdictions, and it is my job to share those positives. Guernsey is also very cost effective for what it offers.
It was useful to get a briefing from Rupert [Pleasant, Guernsey Finance Chief Executive] on his visit to Miami earlier this year for the FPA of Miami International Symposium.
From the connections he made there, the standout points about Guernsey were its regulatory robustness, the provision of substance and international expertise in financial services.
Two areas of particular interest were philanthropy and sustainability. Many were surprised at how far ahead Guernsey is in these spaces, and commented that their local finance centres were not promoting these important issues. These areas are of great importance when wealth is being passed between generations.
Another important point was that with more families becoming multi-jurisdictional, there is a need for expertise in this area. Practitioners need to be mindful of regulation and legislation not only in their home jurisdiction, but also in jurisdictions where family members and family wealth are located. As a great deal of wealth is held within certain states in the US, it was felt that local providers cannot offer this degree of multi-jurisdictional expertise – Guernsey can.
There is an appetite in the US for deals, and Guernsey has long been regarded as a valuable market to the US for its expertise in private wealth and fund administration. The island is seen as a jurisdiction of safety, security and stability, and I look forward to passing on this knowledge to potential US clients.
For more information about Guernsey's finance industry please visit www.weareguernsey.com.
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.