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'Cooperate on AML'

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ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING regulations in Guernsey and Jersey should become more aligned as part of greater cooperation between the islands, according to the chief minister.

ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING regulations in Guernsey and Jersey should become more aligned as part of greater cooperation between the islands, according to the chief minister.

But Peter Harwood, who was chairman of the Guernsey Financial Services Commission before he gave it up to go into politics, said he did not see a realistic prospect of a pan-island Financial Services Commission.

'Both islands have different rule books for anti-money laundering and there shouldn't be scope for competitive arbitrage in AML,' he said. 'It is something we should explore. It is driven internationally, broadly speaking, and the islands could get together and agree standards, guidance and regulation on AML, and that would help industry operating in both islands.'

He also believed more consideration should be given to legislation common to both islands on certain issues.

Deputy Harwood said creating one regulator for financial services across the islands could be explored – 'it would take some time to merge, if ever' – but he did believe that there could be scope for further integration between the GFSC and the JFSC, particularly in back office functions, or specialist roles such as actuarial analysis.

'There is always going to be competition in financial services and that's healthy,' he said. 'The islands will tend to have their own style of finance industry. We like to think there is greater diversity in Guernsey and we hope to build on that with developments like intellectual property rights. Jersey perhaps has other avenues and different markets they are looking to develop.'

Deputy Harwood has also raised the prospect of closer working on economic development.

The islands were often seen as a single entity by those outside, he said.

'The islands are naturally a geographical package. Our geography inherently influences others' perception of us. Neither the new French government nor the UK media stop to ask which of us had Jimmy Carr and which of us had the Sark Lark. It was the Channel Islands,' he said.

'We must recognise that we share that common brand and that we are jointly working to protect that brand.'

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