C&E minister says finance is faltering as he unveils high-tech vision

GUERNSEY’S finance sector is running out of steam, the Commerce and Employment minister has said.

GUERNSEY’S finance sector is running out of steam, the Commerce and Employment minister has said.

His belief that the island’s main industry is faltering led Deputy Kevin Stewart to produce his own vision for Guernsey, known as Project Proteus.

It outlines a plan to make Guernsey one of the world’s most technologically advanced jurisdictions.

Deputy Stewart said Guernsey could no longer rely on the prosperity generated by the finance sector. He said the focus now needed to be on ensuring the skills of the island’s workforce, and its ICT infrastructure, were relevant and up-to-date.

‘Over the past 18 months I have had a “sleeves rolled up” attitude to really understand the challenges Guernsey faces for the future. Our financial services sector is running out of steam, due to international and regulatory pressures and, of course, the current global financial situation,’ said Deputy Stewart.

‘It is a lot harder to get the financial business here and we cannot rely on it – we will all have to work a lot harder for it.

‘We are investing more in promotion now because until recently where business used to just come in, we now have to work much harder for it and that is why we have invested in Guernsey Finance to go to China and Brazil and maintain our position.’

Comments for: "C&E minister says finance is faltering as he unveils high-tech vision"


Not sure that's a good thing to be saying Kev



Well said Mark

Coming out and saying negative things about our finance industry are a definite no-no in this world of global transparency. Nul points Dep. Stuart, and I am sure the staff at Guernsey Finance are already reaching for the aspirins as they contemplate a career change.

It is all very well taking the initiative but in the political world of 2013 Deputies have to realize that before anything can happen they need to (a) get sufficient backing from other members of the Assembly and (b) get any necessary financial support from Treasury, such support to be in accordance with the allocated budget for C. & E. Maybe this has already happened but I am not aware of any such support, financial or otherwise.

Yes, it seems to be a good idea, yes, the Minister has carried out extensive research that seems to support his ideas but I cannot see it happening any time soon. Why ? Simply because the wheels grind very slowly in our system of government, something a businessman like Deputy Stuart must find totally mind-numbing, and opportunities can be missed through sheer red tape and bureaucracy. I hope his vision becomes a reality and our tottering stool acquires another leg but I am not going to hold my breath.


Yes agree 'the wheels of government grind very slowly' , ever so slowly that the world moves on and Guernsey gets left behind, bogged down in an unworkable, outmoded system of government.




He's right - its a lot harder to win new business and bring it to Guernsey. Hence the additional funding for Guernsey Finance to give that a boost. He's also right that external pressures are making some (banks especially) review their offshore presence. Some fund admin and fiduciary businesses are doing well while others are in decline. Overall, as I've said previously, the total numbers employed in finance is almost certainly going to shrink as lost banking jobs won't all be replaced by new jobs in other sub-sectors.

So he's sort of right....but I'm not sure whether he was right to come out and say it!


yes I agree ...you seem to be the voice of reason GM thanks


Good post GM although I don't think he was wrong in saying it as it's hardly a national secret - although I think some sections of the population have yet to wake up and smell the coffee.

I'm not sure whether his new techno-vision will pay off but at least he's not playing the ostrich with the economy.


PLP and MarkB

The real concern to me is that those sectors of the finance industry which are robust and resilient will be affected by the woefully inadequate Internet speed and capacity.

It is absolutely essential that the investment in infrastructure is made. 5 years ago will be a good time to start.


Agreed, it comes to something when the C & E Minister openly acknowledges the Island is a one-trick pony, and that pony is becoming an 'also ran'.

a voter

This man is beyond belief, God help us all.

"Sleeves rolled up" attitude? Is that to catch as much of a suntan as he can at the taxpayers expense?

Where`s next on the list, India, Middle East (Oh, hang on a minute, that could be a bit dodgy.), Nigeria (they seem to have similar con artists that would fit in with the Finance Industry), or perhaps the Caribbean, to top up the tan and get cheap Xmas presents for next year? After all one has to fill one`s year diary with something that looks impressive.

Does he really believe that the IT providers could ever supply a competitive service to these Islands? Cloud cuckoo land.


Project Proteus - Interesting name, did Kevin choose it?

"He can foretell the future, but, in a mytheme familiar to several cultures, will change his shape to avoid having to; he will answer only to someone who is capable of capturing him."

brown cow

Guernsey your going down hill fast . there will be plenty of work coming up soon in removals . Greed always spoils things . I left Guernsey a few years back and glad I did you all have one big fall coming your way . And you all think DJ kev will save you ahhhh

John Smith

I completely agree with you. To be fair, the economy has done very well to hide itself from the downturn as long as it has. The cloud of recession is looming and about to kick us very hard.

When an airline bases their staff outside an island they do business in that speaks volumes. There's talk of another large employer looking to relocate many of its positions off island because without doing so they fear for holding onto their competitive edge.

The future doesn't look bright for Guernsey. Greed has finally got the better of us. I'm hoping Kevin Stewart has the answers with "Project Proteus."

I'm glad he has engaged with the electorate. This could turn out to be educational.


Me thinks that Kev should look with new glasses at specsavers before looking at the future.

Kevin Stewart

It always amazes me the comments from anonymous contributors who do not have the guts or gumption to put their real name to a post.

I won't respond to the individual childish comments, other than to say if you cant make a constructive contribution to what is a serious debate on the future of Guernsey's economy then please leave the forum to people who will.

Cheap jibes at me are what they are and I could not care less, however if any of you have the courage to discuss your comments with me directly my numbers in the book.

I thought not!


Cheap jibes ? Its cost us a fortune so far Kev.

If you do not believe in anonymity , then I suggest you look at your own Departments whistle-blowers legislation. Data protection is a right of the individual without having to be unnecessarily pressured by certain committees within this small community to be silent or threatened.

Being "Anonymous" is sometimes a good thing. Nothing to do with Gumption.


Anonymity or not its a serious point being raised.

I am one for not putting all our eggs in the same basket but it does seem rather odd that straight off the back of a finance industry trip and requests for more funding to promote that sector you are now dismissing it as 'faltering'.


A far more constructive thing Kevin is to run an open Douzaine forum on this so you can hear your Constituency's views, you may be very surprised . Transparency is an amazing asset , when you master it.

Have a good day .



Thanks for the response to other posters, it's good to see you will engage on this forum. After a while the dross tends to get tuned out!

All nonsense aside though, I think what some are trying to say echoes my concerns.

Like you it seems, I worry that our finance industry is nearing the decline stage of its life cycle. Key to this has been enhancements in technology elsewhere, the gradual erosion of our competetive advantage by jealous governments acting under a guise of "ensuring fairness and transparency" and, crucially to my question to you, cheaper labour rates.

In my opinion finance businesses suffered our high staff costs as they were more than offset by the fiscal advantages of being based in Guernsey. Now that the latter is being whittled away, like LVCR, I can see our mobile finance houses finding their legs and leaving.

So quite rightly you are looking elsewhere. And while I see some advantages in your proposal, to me the biggest stumbling block will remain and that is high salaries.

I have done no research (that's what you and your civil servants do on our behalf) but anecdotally I would have thought that creative types and techy types in developing economies would still be able to trump us on staff costs - in short, what do you see as our true competetive advantage/USP in the industries to be explored under Proteus?

Sorry for the waffle, look forward to your thoughts

BTF (yes, not my real name, sorry!)

Devil's Advocate

Good post Billy!


Oh, sorry, I had thought my contribution was constructive and worthy of comment. Perhaps I should just shut up and let you get on with it, whatever "it" is. Yes, there is a lot of rubbish posted by ignorant people but there are also some contributions that merit more than a passing glance, your shotgun approach to those you see as critics could cost you in the end.

Terry Martin


You are reported in the press as using the difficulties experienced with the SAP system as evidencing your point regarding IT capabilities.

If you were quoted correctly then I would ask why you are so misinformed about the subject?

SAP's issues were and are still suffering due to an extremely poorly managed project, pressure to go live way before it was configured correctly, and shifting staff resources before new staff even knew what they were meant to be doing.

If there was one example of what not to do on a major project then this must be it!

If politicians actually spoke to the staff on the front line and not the managers who are trying desparately to hide the scale of the mistakes, then they would be far better informed!



Seeing as you're reading this and responding. I agree with you that the Island should try to diversify from FS, mainly as I think it's unhealthy to be so reliant on one sector rather than any underlying 'issues' with finance – although I do believe we will see a shift in the focus of the finance industry over the next few years.

I am concerned however that whilst you want to promote the growth of the IT sector and invest in infrastructure has there been serious consideration of exactly what sort of business will locate here? The local business sector is already supplied (although of course cheaper IP feeds would be nice) so will not be a large customer. Are you expecting large companies to relocate their infrastructure offshore? Whilst this will create some jobs for the initial creation of data centres the on-going maintenance doesn’t actually require that many staff so will be of limited benefit to the Island economy vs. the investment required. If you think that investing in infrastructure will cause more companies to locate physical staff and premises on the Island then I think you need to have a word with Mr Jones about where these workers are going to live…

I believe the Sure data centre is responsible for something crazy like 10% of the Island’s electricity usage as it is so if we have a few more data centres popping up can our electricity supply cope? Will we need to ‘invest’ another large chunk of cash into a second generator to shake some more houses down at the Bridge?

Before any real money gets spent there are lots of questions to answer and whilst I think it’s great to want to be a world leader at something, it’s only worthwhile if that investment will actually attract new, employment creating business and at the moment I, and I’m sure a few others, am rather sceptical.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


Island Wide Voting


I always suspected that the new 14M troublesome generator was ordered / purchased to feed the needs of the data centres ... one of which at Route Militaire ( like Leale's Yard)is still awaiting its first sod to be turned over

John Smith

Hello Kevin,

Actually, I would be interested in this vision you have for the economy of Guernsey. Project Proteus is something I'm intrigued to know all about, please.

What makes you believe the island could be a world leader in anything when everything is so expensive here?

I shopped around for some ICT work for my business recently. The cost to have what I required worked out, shockingly, numerous times more expensive compared to outsourcing to Philippines. The world of ICT has progressed massively in recent years.

One can have what they want implemented in days for a fraction of what a local company could ever dream about competing with. The company I spoke with were adamant it would take weeks, possibly a month or more, to get my requirements up and running. It took two days and dropped in price from over £23,400 to just $1146.

A good while ago a friend was looking into having an App developed. The cost to have it produced locally was again shocking. He is the person who put me onto the company I am currently working closely with. The cost for his App development fell from over £58000 to $4380. The eight to twelve week delay for implementing it, using local skills, was performed in just four days by people who need the work more and charge accordingly to ensure they are competitive in acquiring it.

Using LogMeIn there is absolutely no benefit to being based in an expensive economy. Everybody knows that. It's setting out on a road to a dead end with the inevitable financial disaster along the way.

The simple facts of the matter are we have reached a point where very few people in their right mind would choose Guernsey as a location for anything significant. It has precious little to offer. Start up and running costs are exceptionally prohibitive. Especially in comparison to most other places who are hungrier for every bit of investment and will always to go the extra mile.

Greed and inflation has all but done it for Guernsey. People are much wiser than they once were. The days of paying astronomical prices because there is little other choice in the matter are long gone. The opportunities for outsourcing are so simple and straight forward everybody can do it with little effort on their part.

Please enlighten me on your vision. I will engage on a sensible level. Please don't insult my intelligence with any 3D printing technology guff though. I know more than most already.

Thank you in advance.


Hang on a minute, Kev, aren't you the one who wants 900k more of our money to promote this failing industry you talk of...?

IS there any point pouring all that extra money into it, if, as YOU say, it's nearing the end of it's shelf life...?

What sort of bang can we realistically expect for our additional bucks if it's all as futu as you say it is...?

Bit of a contradiction and lack of joined up thinking, imo.


I predict Kevin's phone has been ringing off the hook since writing this post. I have tried to get through a good few times and it has been permanently engaged. No doubt his answerphone will collect hundreds of messages from interested islanders. I hope a reporter will see this as an opportunity too good to pass up on and get back to us.

It will have to be a courageous reporter to speak to DJ Kevin over the telephone though.


Project Pants

I very much doubt even Captain America would be brave enough to speak with DJ Kevin over the telephone. I'm tempted to bang on his door dressed as Superman with a film crew to have a face to face discussion about Project Proteus.

I'm confident my attire would save me. If there isn't a timely response I may just have to force myself.



are you going to respond to those who have asked genuine questions?

Sometimes people will have genuine reasons for wanting to remain anonymous so please do not dismiss this.


Kevin is correct about the regulatory pressures but doesn't mention how the GFSC added to the problems by their deliberate persecution of all of the smaller trust companies who applied for fiduciary licences when they were first issued. The loss of all of these companies because of the GFSC's deliberate campaign against them and their directors lost valuable jobs for their employees and valuable tax for the economy.


GFSC needs scrutinizing . I have heard an awful lot about conflict of interests within the Finance Sector. Obviously something is afoot.

Simon V

Over regulation,we strangled the life out of it !

What about trying to grow Tourism before we reach for Project Prozac ?

Sorry meant Proteus


That was worthy of 5 stars Simon V, I am using that one ;) HAHAHA


Agreed Simon V.

Tourism always seems to have been regarded as second rate industry. Perhaps because few deputies ever herald from this industry.


Aeschylus, maybe Kev's brainchild should be renamed as the Prometheus Project, after your Trilogy?


The islands IT providers can't give us a decent domestic broadband service so I very much doubt if they could make this work............


Back to the good old days.


Guern thank god some of us never forgot to Grow toms and spuds cor dammy la eh ! :)


'Can I have another million of taxpayers cash to promote the finance industry?'

'Guernsey's finance sector is running out of steam'

Which one is it Kev?

Might as well save some cash I think.


Yea he knows what he can do. This is sounding like Iceland's junction, every day that passes.

Didn't end too well for the Bankers and Govt over there did it.


Finance is faltering... Really kev ? tell us something we don't know.

Probably it is because there is a Petro monitory war going on with China and USA perhaps ?

And guess which Island relies heavily on US dollar trade ?

Ask a compliance officer in any FIN CO

Is Geo Politics really this guys strong point ?



I am not so sure why everyone wants to stick a knife into KS so eagerly.

The Guernsey Finance initiative is a good idea purely and simply because the finance industry is on the wane and the Island needs the income from taxes that come from Finance so spending money on promoting the Island's finance industry NOW is a good idea. That said, I am not convinced that China is the best place to spend it.

There is also no conflict between spending money on Guernsey finance and, at the same time, developing new areas of business. To all the nay sayers I guess they rank with ludites who also were not in favour of progress and new ideas and look how that turned out. Give it a go, Kevin, and let's see how it pans out after all, you can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket.


..maybe to let some of the hot air out....?

One minute he wants better part of a mill to promote finance, then he tells us finance is futu (so what's the point of chucking even more money at it?) and now we have Project Prozac that is based on an infrastructure that Kev's predecessors sold off for 50p to A.N. other and is now owned by some geezer who gives not one monkey whether it's up to date / overly expensive or whatev as there's no competition and he can do what he likes.

How does Kev plan to influence the Sheik of Arabi or whoever he is to spend our money as flagrantly as Kev himself likes to, in order to make the infrastructure world class so the island can profit from it....?



...oh, and may I just add, the enormous cost of employing staff over here is going to put most industries off completely, in particular technology, which already can and does locate itself in far cheaper jurisdictions where they not only have the benefit of less tax but a lower wage bill.

I'd also like to know what on island training is going to be provided for all these potential IT workers.....

or will we just bring them mostly in on licence as it's quicker and easier for the employers...?


I'm behind him. We need to have a high tech infrastructure to support the type of work we want here. It supports so many industries these days it would be at our detriment not to have it in place. I honestly think it's one of our top priorities to guarantee a decent future for this island. We need to be responsive to the global climate and business needs. If I was in charge of the cash this is where the money would be going.

As for finance - we all know we need more than one egg in the basket. A better tech infrastructure gives us more of a chance of that happening. We are tying are own hands behind our backs if we don't update quick.


'I’m behind him...'

in the panto sense of the word (behind you!!) or in the Oscar Puffin presenter sense of the word..?

My monies on the latter....;)


I'm just glad someone in government smells the coffee and is trying to do something positive despite the inevitable sneering and skepticism.

Clearly finance is not going to disappear and be replaced overnight and perhaps needs a bit of life support in the short term to smooth things over, and clearly our telecoms and digital infrastructure is starting from a low point, but at least he's trying to do something about these endemic issues despite the headwinds. I get the impression a lot of people would rather just keep their heads down and hope it all blows over, with things either magically returning to the 90s again. Or maybe snipe from the sidelines until everything explodes in a fireball just AFTER they get out and can watch from a distance and tell everyone they told them so. Hardly very useful.

Every industry in future will have need a good tech infrastructure, whether that's connections or skills, including finance as well as whatever else we come up with, so giving the status quo a kick in the backside is long overdue. Tut and criticise if you like, and I'm sure there will be ruffled feathers, mistakes and disappointments ahead regardless of efforts and good intentions, but I'll take someone who genuinely tries to do something, even if they ultimately fail, over those who just snipe from the sidelines any day of the week.

Ted Drillot Legend

It can only be a good thing for the island, the rock was a far nicer place without the banks.


Sorry Kevin, but whilst we have a third world broadband system provide by Cable And Wireless we will never compete with other countries.

Even countries like Latvia , Estonia, etc etc have a far greater speed than we do and even my son in Bristol gets up to 60, whereas I struggle to get over 8.

He has been with me for the past week and was appalled as to the price we pay for such a poor service.

But no one in authority cares, I just keep on paying my £ 26 per month hoping that things will get better.

So until we move on and get a provider who can give the island the quality of communication we require to compete with the rest of the world, we will suffer and companies will move elsewhere.

Communication is now the deciding factor and we are just not up to it.


I think one key issue is the wholesale price of the product from C&W, since that means that other providers can't reduce their prices as far as they would no doubt wish to. Presumably that means that C&W make lots of money regardless of which broadband provider we actually use...


Just had a thought, what is our regulator doing about this problem, I really would like to know.


It's refreshing to see DJ Kevin has laid his cards on the table. Albeit face down. He can't leave them there for long.

I predict an entertaining few weeks ahead. Let'e see your winning hand then, Kev. I just know there will be all the Jokers present.

brown cow

is it a bird no . is it a plane no. its DJ KEV . rolled up his sleaves he will be wearing his under pants on the out side next

Project Proteus

Come on DJ Kevin. Many people are wanting to be enlightened on Project Proteus already. I'm having to brace myself in readiness for this. I just know it will be wishful thinking and pipe dreams in cloud cuckoo land.

I think we can all guess he'll stall for as much time as everybody allows with this. If I were a reporter I would corner him and keep doing so until I have all the answers I need for my scoop of 2013 award. This will almost definitely be legendary.

DJ Kevin

Here you all go:


Now please just leave me to get on with planning the next round of off island trips. I have lots of thinking to do so it will implement the highest level of luxury and comfort at your expense.

None of you will ever know how much is being spent until long into the future when absolutely nothing can be done about it.

Thank you very much.

Project Pants

We all know DJ Kev will read every single one of these posts for creative ideas and will quickly implement the best into his vision Project Proteus. I would be banging his door down the second after he made the above post number 5 if I were a reporter. We all know he's a funny little man full of bright ideas. I'd want to be the first to report of it.

If this hasn't happened already then I'm disappointed with a potentially hilarious story being missed. There is still time to track the man down and keep on him until all is revealed. He really doesn't think before opening his mouth most of the time.

I hope the reporter has the sense to touch on the costs involved with his away trips and reports on how realistically some of our elected are leading by example with all the cutbacks. We all know these measures are just for the taxpayers. Those in power will desire a completely opposite lifestyle whilst we're stupid enough to keep funding it without question.

The questions have to be asked. We are all waiting on Kevin to show his hand now. Please, any GP reporter, see this as the gift horse that it is.


Every time DJ Kev comes out with one of his classics, i'm reminded of a story I heard, an urban myth perhaps, relating the story how many years ago, a Douzenier, whilst trying to state his case at a Douzaine meeting, got sick and tired of the audience interrupting him.

In frustration he shouted, 'every time I open my mouth, a fool speaks...'

How exactly ARE we going to pay for this super duper infrastructure Kev?

How long will it take to implement whilst the rest of the world moves on?

How are we going to get the Sheik who owns the infrastructure on board....?

You yourself admit that the golden goose's eggs are increasingly less frequent, so what - sorry, WHO - is going to be providing all the additional funds your vision requires....?

OHHHH, I SEE, WE will....!

Is that on top of the 900k for the failing finance industry you require?

Presuming so.

Enjoy your next first class business trip to warmer climes where you can investigate your visions for our future more fully Kev, the rest of us will be saving up for our annual summer holiday next year, which, when we've finished being fleeced to supply your demands, will probably be a day trip to Herm.



Let me put this into perspective for you.

As an ex employee of telecoms once said.

Cable and Wireless will fail a every turn, they are expensive have bad report with the public and you cant shove a football through a hosepipe.

Basically meaning you cant ram a 50-60 meg service through old world war 2 copper !.

Infrastructure itself needs replacing with fibre optics. It is a no win situation, why doesnt KJev just stop the BS and come out with it. We are being robbed by the Telco. !


DJ Kevin talks about the party of the century. He promises it will be a night to remember and something that will go down in history. After all the tickets are sold he delivers a Parish Hall with a record player and a cap full of alcohol to squabble over.

He's such a funny man. Project Proteus has about as much substance to it as he has as a Minister. Incredible.

Royston Gauno

What happened to the Cruise Ship Bonanza, E Gaming, Images Rights, Pay Parking and The Potato Heads Film ?



DJ Kev has all you mention as definite maybes incorporated into Project Proteus. Obviously, he's being quiet about the finer details so the competition doesn't steal a march.

I have a funny feeling the introduction is everything he's managed to come up with so far.

I'll never know why he's a Minister?


I understand that the proceeds from all the other projects are going to be used to replace the current old copper pair style cabling we have to a brand new island wide fibre optic infrastructure to facilitate Project Pants.

Should be completed within the next 5-10 years at a cost of approximately one billion pounds.

Kev will be coordinating this all from his new multi million pound office in Monarco, which he will establish to maintain essential business connections for the island which he insists we need.

He will fly back intermittently on his private jet to ensure that all is proceeding as planned, and that the total and utter expensive balls up to eclipse all total and utter expensive balls up that is Project Pants won't be realised as such by the masses until he is safely retired.

Sounds like a plan to me...! ;)


We have had an introduction into "Project Proteus" but heard nothing since.

Kevin Stewart is eager to get his face behind anything and everything which looks like it could lead to something. He's desperate to be seen to be doing something but all I can see from the man is him taking credit for other peoples work that had absolutely no input from him whatsoever. Oh, and enjoying exceptionally expensive, top-end, trips away at our expense too.

We could all save ourselves a salary, massive secretive expenses budget, and pension here. It all adds up. To what though? We will find out the exact amounts in years to come.

He achieves precious little other than informing us with areas which are common knowledge. I say we get rid and make a sizable saving for the pot. See how his "Project Proteus" and introductions to nothing new go down in the real world.

Phil Lockett

Kevin ,

I think you are doing a great job in very difficult times , the Island has many issues to deal with and lost opportunities [ such as Guernsey Telecom ,which would have been difficult to foresee when the original decision to sell was made ] .

The world is changing very rapidly and to this end Kevin I commend you for the effort your team and yourself are putting in to direct Guernsey in the right direction in a very foggy sea .


Island Wide Voting

Surely that should be 'on' a very foggy sea,unless Kev is in a submarine?


Great news! Guernsey has come out top!

Our government's excellent use of IT and social media has already been recognised.


With Project Proteus to look forward to there's every chance we could win this prestigious award again next year.


Ironically, Kevin Stewart was responsible for that blunder too.

He has to go before we win more embarrassing awards of a similar nature and value.


Haha the idiots sold out our banking to the UK puppet masters now its back to farming.


Boom. There it is. ^