UK’s post-Brexit trade agreements could open up new markets for Guernsey’s finance sector

NEW markets could open up for Guernsey’s finance sector, says the industry’s regulator.

GFSC director-general William Mason. (29469402)
GFSC director-general William Mason. (29469402)

William Mason, director-general of the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, said positive changes could flow from the UK being able to negotiate its own trade deals in its own name following Brexit.

‘Further to that, the services trade barriers between ourselves and the UK which legally existed because it was part of the European Economic Area, while we were not, declined markedly,’ he told the commission’s latest annual review held at St James.

‘What this means is that, assuming we can jump over the relevant and proper hurdles which the UK sets for our participation, as well as coming under the umbrella of the UK’s World Trade Organisation membership, we can also ask to participate in new UK trade agreements with high-growth countries where wealth and prosperity are actually being generated.’

Asia was already home to more billionaires than any other region, said Mr Mason, with 36% of the global total.

It was expected to see 39% growth in ultra-high-net-worth individuals over the next five years – the fastest growth in this demographic of any continent.

‘What this means is that we are potentially, in partnership with the UK, able to enjoy better access into overseas markets for our services, for example our funds, than we were able to

previously obtain.

‘This access of course depends on us being perceived as good and grown-up international partners.

‘The commission seeks to help ensure that Guernsey is regarded as an acceptable counter-party to important international trade agreements by ensuring that we are not just technically compliant but effectively applying, in a proportionate manner, international rules which govern how financial services firms which want to do cross-border trade must conduct themselves.’

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