Discussions at Guernsey Finance’s annual Industry Update highlighted the island’s value to the UK economy, industry progress in 2023, and business development opportunities for 2024.
Speakers provided insight into ‘Guernsey’s Place in the World’, explored through agency representatives, the launch of a new research report, and an international business development panel.
The event took place on the morning of Wednesday 24 January at St James Hall, Guernsey.
Guernsey Finance Chief Executive Rupert Pleasant kicked off the event with an opening speech on how Guernsey Finance promoted and worked with the industry in 2023.
He said: “To uphold our well-earned reputation as a respected international finance centre, we must continue to promote and connect Guernsey in our chosen key markets.
“That remains of the utmost importance as the international marketplace becomes more and more saturated. We must ensure that Guernsey’s voice is heard over the noise of the crowd.”
He cited healthy growth for Guernsey Finance in 2023 – including an increase of 182% potential new business introductions to Guernsey's financial services industry, which totaled 1,840 as well as maintaining the agency’s digital reach at 8.7 million impressions.
Deputy Chief Executive Barnaby Molloy then took to the stage to reveal the agency’s refreshed digital offering. The agency will now promote Guernsey’s finance sector under the brand ‘Guernsey Finance’ at www.guernseyfinance.com.
“Branding is generally the first thing people see and engage with when they get introduced to your business and so it needs to be done correctly,” said Barnaby.
“Today we are not just launching a new website but also signaling a return to Guernsey Finance as the brand. Whether you are promoting and connecting in person or digitally, we are here to help and support you.”
A new research report exploring Guernsey’s value to the UK economy, produced by independent research house Frontier Economics, was also launched at the event.
The report highlights the ways in which the sectors of Guernsey’s specialist financial services industry generate significant value to the UK.
The key findings of the report include:
· Guernsey-based funds channel significant investment into the UK economy, and currently hold UK assets worth £57 billion, a figure which has increased 14% year on year since 2020.
· UK FTSE 100 companies may collectively save almost £100 million per year by using Guernsey captive insurance structures.
Stephanie Glover, Strategy and Sustainable Finance Director, spoke to Nick Fitzpatrick, Manager, Frontier Economics, who commented:
“There is enormous commercial and social value which Guernsey funds and investment managers generate for the UK, which just wouldn’t be possible if those funds were based in another jurisdiction.
“Guernsey has a very strong reputation as a major international finance centre, and this offering is not static; it is continually innovating and evolving.”
Business development representatives from the UK, US, South Africa and the Middle East then took to the stage to explain the current trends from their respective jurisdictions, giving insights into possible areas of business development for Guernsey in 2024.
UK Insurance representative William Lewis remained confident that Guernsey is seen as a hub for insurance services. He said: “In my mind, Guernsey is nimble on its feet when it comes to the shifting sands of the insurance market and remains highly competitive.”
Jo Kitcat, UK representative, emphasised the need to ensure Guernsey’s voice is heard above the crowd in an increasingly saturated marketplace. He highlighted the importance of promoting Guernsey as a solution provider, which Guernsey Finance’s business development representatives have achieved through roadshows, thought leadership events, roundtable dinners and networking events.
In the US, Jonny Gamble cited Miami and New York as key strategic geographical priorities within the sectors of private wealth and funds. He highlighted the growing popularity of the Private Investment Fund (PIF) scheme and the use of Asset Protection Trusts.
The audience then heard from Middle East representative Aaron Russell-Davison, who said: “The opportunity presenting itself in the Middle East is large, and it continues to grow.”
He cited three streams of opportunity in the Middle East: Windfall wealth creation, a rapid economic and financial modernisation policy and giga infrastructure development in the region.
He said the United Arab Emirates, particularly Dubai, is more transactional, but this provides its own benefits. It represents an opportunity to secure business quickly, and many Guernsey professionals are already engaged on the ground.
Finally, turning to opportunities in South Africa, Grant McLeod said: “Interestingly the focus will shift to the rest of Africa as well as South Africa in 2024 as we develop these markets in East and West Africa.”
In terms of business development opportunities in South Africa, Grant pointed to growing interest in captive insurance, life branches and ICC structures.
Guernsey Finance Chairman Lyndon Trott wrapped up the conference with a simple message – Guernsey is open for business.
“We can be optimistic about sustained growth across our industry; we have a strong business pipeline for 2024 across a multitude of sectors, reaffirming confidence in Guernsey as a stable, secure and competitive jurisdiction for conducting business,” he said.