Work of Guernsey Finance ‘more relevant than ever’
GUERNSEY FINANCE’S work is more important than ever in the face of ‘aggressive’ competition and concerns that consolidation could leave Guernsey firms as ‘bolt-ons’ to groups headquartered elsewhere.
The message was delivered by the promotional agency’s chairman, Deputy Lyndon Trott, at its annual update to industry, held at St James.
Deputy Trott, who took over as chairman in 2016, said that the island continued to trade and thrive on the virtues of security, stability and substance.
But in an environment which showed a growing trend for consolidation across the industry, particularly with a ‘buy and build’ strategy in the fiduciary sector, there were concerns that Guernsey firms may become ‘bolt-ons’, as part of a group headquartered in a competitor jurisdiction.
‘We need to promote Guernsey and stay competitive – the competition is aggressive,’ Deputy Trott said.
‘Clients want Guernsey security, stability and substance, but businesses may be less biased towards Guernsey. So Guernsey Finance’s work is even more relevant today than at any other time in its history.’
Deputy Trott, in his keynote speech at the event, said that Guernsey ‘must continue to be outward-looking, to meet international standards that provide passports into existing and emerging markets’.
Growing complexity of investment products would drive demand for advice, he said.
‘Under-served but fast-growing developing nations will see higher demand for basic financial services, and mature western markets will find growth focused on higher-end products.
‘Global trends are likely to favour us – strong digital connectivity and security, a track record in being in the mainstream of meeting international standards, and world class professional services sector.’
He repeated the island’s key strengths of security, stability and substance, and in terms of more recent activities, highlighted the development of green and sustainable finance, which the States agreed to back with an extra £300,000 of public funding last year.
‘The development of our green finance offer is only the latest chapter in the story of how all of us adapt to changing demands, develop new products and promote them in new markets. In that space Guernsey Finance is as relevant and important now as it was when we established it.
‘And I can promise you that we will not stand still. We will innovate and adapt as needed to promote Guernsey, its products and its practitioners.’
Deputy Trott also paid tribute to departing chief executive Dominic Wheatley, who leaves Guernsey Finance in the summer after five years at the helm.
Mr Wheatley said: ‘Representing the island and this financial community for the past five years has been among the most rewarding and enjoyable periods of my career.’