Finance jobs landscape in Guernsey set to change over next decade

THE types of jobs available in the Guernsey financial services sector are likely to change radically in the next decade.

Digby, Lord Jones

THE types of jobs available in the Guernsey financial services sector are likely to change radically in the next decade.

There appeared to be general agreement at the Guernsey Financial Services Commission’s industry presentations day that lower-value jobs will be lost to global competition.

Instead, Guernsey will have to focus on added value, said keynote speaker Digby, Lord Jones, pictured.

The former Confederation of British Industry chief is still heavily involved in British manufacturing and highlighted similarities between that industry and financial services.

‘Jobs in financial services have gone and will go and you will be where manufacturing was 10 years ago in Britain [with business being lost to cheaper jurisdictions],’ he said.

Comments for: "Finance jobs landscape in Guernsey set to change over next decade"

PB Falla

TRanslated

If the banks dont get their way then they will leave

Cant wait for that day

Rid the islands of this cancer NOW

Jimbo

This is inevitable, and has been for several years. Those employed in our finance industry will need to add value more so than ever before, through technical skills and very high quality of service.

Outsourcing of day to day administrative functions to lower cost centres like Mauritius are now quite common. Qualified accountants, chartered secretaries, trust officers etc cost about a third or quarter of what they cost here. We have lots of people employed in the local finance industry who have little more than GSCEs or A Levels, as they often haven't needed to bother getting a globally recognised professional qualification in order to get a well paid job. They are quite exposed, because they cannot just relocate and compete in the global market.

This is not a criticism of what we have got here. It is simply recognising that young people from much poorer parts of the world have a far greater hunger to maximise their qualifications and to relocate if necessary in order to access well paid jobs, Their only alternative is to stay poor in areas of considerable poverty. Maybe we've made it too easy, with virtually full employment here for those with a decent local education, for people to drift into well paid jobs and get promoted through length of service and doing a reasonable job, rather than an exceptional job.

In a globally competitive market, doing a "reasonable" job just isn't going to be enough. Many of our jobs are capable, with modern communications, of being done from virtually anywhere in the world as time zones become far less of a challenge.

A couple of simple examples. There are unqualified accountants in local trust companies and fund administration companies churning out trust, company and fund accounts at salaries around £40k a year. Qualified accountants will be more like £55k to £70k locally in similar roles. Qualified accountants in Mauritius, trained with Big 4 firms in Mauritius or India cost around US$15k a year and are perfectly qualified for the same role, using the same international accounting principles, and the same software systems. They are on a 1 or 2 hour time difference with Guernsey depending on the time of year. So it's very simple - a local business here, instead of employing 5 or 6 such accountants can employ 4 or 5 of them in Mauritius and retain just one person out of that team here to review what is received by email from Mauritius. Huge cost savings, very manageable, and no loss of quality.

That's what Guernsey is competing with.

Karen

Wow Jimbo,

I wish I knew where those unqualified accountants worked 'cos certainly I was diddled!

I was one such 'unqualified accountant'(ie CAT qualified but not ACCA qualified) that 'churned' out Trust and Company accounts for a large, international company and within the department of 12 similar staff, none of us were remotely close to the £40k you are talking about.

I genuinely believe that the local industry insists upon their staff undertaking professional development to gain recognised qualifications. Whilst they may give jobs to people with little more than GCSE's or A levels to their name, my experience is that they are very quickly enrolled into STEP/CAT or similar if they want to progress.

It can only be a good thing (as the industry shrinks) that those who have survived through the boom years by floating from job to job (with an ever increasing salary)without a sufficient level of competency get found out.

This then leaves a more expert pool of staff behind with an expertise that clients out there will be willing to pay for.

Granted that there are much cheaper back office staff available in other jursdictions but(from having been in the position of picking up the pieces), cheaper isn't necessarily always better....

Jimbo

Karen

I totally agree with you that cheaper doesn't necessarily mean better!

Sorry - I should have worded my post better. £40k would be more like the total cost to the employer (ie including pensions and other benefits plus social insurance costs), but the overall net comparative with Mauritius is valid.

CAT does not compare with ACA or ACCA,and STEP does not compare with ICSA, qualified lawyers or the old ACIB trustee diploma. That isn't intended to belittle CAT ir STEP in any way - it's intended merely to demonstrate that the likes of Mauritius and Singapore and Hong Kong churn out the latter -but we seem to have cut back on the latter in Guernsey in recent years and focused more on the former. Why is that? Lower academic entry levels, cheaper tuition costs etc no doubt, but unfortunately less transportable on a global basis. If the worldwide offshore trust industry contracts as seems inevitable, where will somebody with a STEP diploma move to, compared with ACCA or ICSA?

Benedict

And 2 + 2 = 4.

I wonder how much Lord Digby Jones charged for that consultation?

Cher Eugene

Whatever it was, it seems to have provoked a yawn; probably mirrored by his audience.

John

The lecture by Digby, Lord Jones was excellent. Thought provoking and right on subject.

he made a point of how much he admired Guernsey and the way it adapts to fluid situations.

I can assure you there was not one yawn in the audience. This gentelman is a seasoned presenter who knows how to keep his audience interested.