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GFSC finances healthier after pension changes

News | Published:

THE financial position of the Guernsey Financial Services Commission has improved after changes to its employee pension liabilities.

GFSC director-general William Mason. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 21456350)

It moved from a negative net assets position at the end of 2016 of approximately £2.3m. to a more healthy position. At the end of last year, it had an operating surplus before exception items of £579,000.

‘The most noticeable change from previous years is the elimination of the commission’s liability for employees who were historically members of the States of Guernsey’s public sector pension scheme,’ said GFSC director-general William Mason.

‘During 2017, an agreement was reached which saw the States of Guernsey formally adopting the commission’s liabilities in relation to members of the PSPS on the basis of a realistic valuation of the liabilities. This has resulted in a large, albeit technical, surplus on the commission’s statement of comprehensive income.’

The commission will be taking into consideration its improved financial position when deciding later this year whether or not to seek any increase in the current level of fees which it charges licensees.

Meanwhile, work on a range of new initiatives – including new protection for consumers and green investment – continues to be taken forward by the commission.

The GFSC is working with the States and industry in developing proposals to update existing regulation – and introduce new legislation around consumer finance protection and FinTech.

Depending on the States’ timelines, the proposals to update the island’s regulatory framework – the so-called ‘Revision of Laws’ project – could go before deputies before the end of the year.

It comes after the GFSC commissioned an assessment of the Bailiwick’s regulatory regime against current international standards. It was undertaken by Ian Tower, a former International Monetary Fund assessor, who found the main areas for improvement are already being progressed through the Revision of Laws project.

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Meanwhile, the proposed Lending, Credit and Finance law that could provide new consumer protection is now with the States. The proposals could also better equip the Bailiwick to manage some types of fintech.

The commission will also continue to work with the States and industry to consider how the Bailiwick can best position itself when it comes to a growing demand for green finance.

A regulatory initiative is expected to be launched by the GFSC in June, to be known as the Guernsey Green Fund. It will be open to all types of funds and compliance with green criteria will be required.

The commission will also be working with the global insurance industry to make it easier for insurance companies to invest in long-term green assets. By widening the pool of purchasers for green investments, this will in turn make it easier for insurers to offer sustainable long-term returns to policyholders.

Will Green

By Will Green
Business Editor

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