Building blocks are now in place for Brexit, says Gifa head

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GUERNSEY'S funds industry is well placed to capitalise on an ever-changing global environment, according to the chairman of the sector body.

Andrew Whittaker, pictured, told the Guernsey Investment Fund Association's annual dinner that the past 12 months had been a significant time both locally and internationally.

'Last year I predicted we would have major votes that could have huge repercussions on our industry,' he said.

'This year there are more major votes to come in Europe and more instability could follow. But we have the skills and nimbleness to exploit opportunities as they arise. We have put in place building blocks post Brexit and opportunities could be aligning here. We have a huge chance to make our own luck, to drive Guernsey forward as the world continues to unravel itself.'

The funds sector has had a period of more than a year of continued growth despite a number of issues threatening to impact the local industry, not least the delay in securing a third country passport under the EU's AIFMD regime following the Brexit vote, which has concerned some in the local industry.

Mr Whittaker thanked the biggest fund managers using Guernsey, such as Permira, Apax and Cinven, for continuing to choose the island as a domicile. 'Their choice of Guernsey says a lot in a world of change and we should be proud.'

Mr Whittaker also said that he was heartened at the island's approach to pursuing new ideas. He said that the Guernsey Financial Services Commission had been proactive in introducing the manager-led product and the private investment fund and also praised the States for its work with the UK on Brexit. He hoped that might bring opportunities to the island, particularly with more, and more favourable, double taxation agreements with other countries.

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