The Guernsey Financial Services Commission said that it remained optimistic about the industry’s future in an update on its Covid-19 response.
Concerns have been raised about the potential impact of coronavirus on the financial services sector, particularly if lockdown restrictions continue for a longer period.
‘The commission is maintaining its approach to risk based supervision and has been in contact with a considerable number of firms since the outset of the lockdown period,’ said a spokesman.
‘We understand that firms have generally implemented their business recovery plans with most staff working from home and this appears to be operating well.
‘Firms are being receptive to the enquiries being initiated by the commission and we continue to encourage an open dialogue. Firms are expected to contact us at the earliest opportunity should they have concerns.’
The spokesman continued: ‘Although this is a difficult time for the financial services sector, the commission has been pleased to receive applications in the past few weeks for new businesses, particularly from the funds sector and we remain optimistic about the future of the industry.’
The chairman of the Guernsey International Business Association, Tony Mancini, has said that the sector had been able to carry on amid a shift to staff working from home. It had also been more shielded from the pandemic impact than other areas.
He added: ‘We are not seeing a lot of new business, although there is still some, but the impact over the next months will be determined by global economic activity – how long the expected recession is and how deep.
'If lockdown goes on for another month, you will start to see an impact on the bottom line. Another three to four months and some businesses may start to look at their resources.’
The Guernsey Chamber of Commerce has warned that financial services firms are not immune from the effects of the pandemic. It has heard of redundancies, pay cuts and restrictions to working hours.
‘The finance sector is at the heart of Guernsey’s economic activity. If the situation continues much longer, the States may need to consider extending some form of essential support to businesses in need in this sector,’ said Elaine Gray, the Chamber’s vice-president.