Neale Jehan, senior partner at KPMG in the Crown Dependencies, said private equity and asset management were high-growth areas. The digital sector was also proving resilient.
‘Guernsey and Jersey are very good at servicing asset management and private equity. The Isle of Man does a lot with digital. We are in the right spot at least for the next year, maybe the next two,’ said Mr Jehan.
An underlying growth trend in these areas had been accelerated by Covid-19 – with KPMG in the Crown Dependencies, which
covers Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man, seeing growth as a result.
‘There is new business coming in across all areas from audit, tax and advisory. The speed of that new business wouldn’t have been there if Covid had not happened. That may just be a short-term thing and maybe the longer term is that we still need to look at some of the reasons behind why we have not grown as quickly in the past.’
When KPMG undertook a sectoral analysis during the height of the pandemic, it was apparent that the Crown Dependencies would be in a good position – and this had proven to be the case.
Mr Jehan also said there was a safety aspect in that Guernsey, for example, had been able to come through outbreaks with sharp lockdowns and have staff return to the office more quickly than in the UK and elsewhere.
‘There has been the ability for us to have teams together and arguably potentially getting stuff done quicker,’ he said. ‘That aspect is something that Guernsey needs to build on going forward, being that place that can offer that in times of difficulty.’
In a wide-ranging interview, Mr Jehan also talked about the decision to bring KPMG in the Crown Dependencies into a single business with a 425-strong workforce. Guernsey and Jersey have been a single business for many years, with the Isle of Man added into the mix in January this year.
There were commonalities between the businesses and senior staff already knew each other well, and bringing the firms together offered new opportunities, said Mr Jehan.
‘As firms, we are very similar – similar ethos, local ownership, local decision-making. Bringing the two firms, three islands together in a world of increasing regulatory challenge around audit, where we are having clients now that are more cross-border, just made a lot of sense.
‘And that enables us to retain that ethos for which we’re known, the local leadership and quick decision-making, and effectively full service over the tax advisory businesses across the three jurisdictions.
‘We can now put together teams cross-border that are much more compelling for our clients.’