GUERNSEY must set a ‘high bar’ to continue to be as successful as it has been, according to the Guernsey Financial
Services Commission’s new chairman.
Julian Winser said that the island’s finance sector faced competition globally, including now from the UK post-Brexit. It required Guernsey PLC collectively to work together to not ‘fall behind’ the rest of the world, said the former boss of Schroders’ offshore private client business based in Guernsey.
‘To stay in it, we’ve had to set a high bar and potentially occasionally a higher bar than the onshore world because we’re always slightly tarnished with that offshore lower tax and the rest of it,’ said Mr Winser.
‘Guernsey PLC, the finance industry and the regulator – and all those bits that service and work with the regulator – have to set a high bar if we’re going to continue to be as successful as we have been.’
Drawing on his experience in business, Mr Winser said: ‘Having run businesses in the offshore world before in Guernsey, Jersey, Gibraltar, Malta, Bermuda and Singapore with a headquarters in London and accountancy
office in Switzerland, you recognise that they’re also
Given the finance industry was the most important market the island had, it meant the GFSC had to be in regular communication with its stakeholders and be ready – like Guernsey PLC – to
adapt because of the pace of change in areas such as cryptocurrencies.
‘I’ve spent in my first four months [he joined as a commissioner in June] spending a lot of time talking to – and it’s easier for me because I’m on an island – to industry influencers, noises and those who are both regulated by and not regulated by the GFSC,’ said Mr Winser.
‘There are positives and negatives, all of which we are listening to. I think that is a hugely important part of my mandate. The only thing that I have over my predecessor is the fact that I live here and I’ve actually worked for a time in Guernsey.’
Stressing there would not be major change with a new chairman, Mr Winser said one of his objectives was to make sure ‘we don’t fall behind in terms of keeping up with what’s happening in the world’.
‘It is important that we constantly look up and out and not down. I think that is so key. Businesses that fail – and I know, having seen businesses fail – it’s because they’ve taken their eye off what’s happening in the marketplace and they’ve narrowed
their vision and hoped rather than done something to change.’
He also said ensuring the GFSC commissioners were listened to, operated as a cohesive body, ensuring the commission was well run and monitoring the ‘mood music’ of influencers outside the jurisdiction were other important parts of being the regulator’s chairman.
There was also praise for his predecessor Drs Cees Schrauwers, from whom he takes over formally at the end of the month. ‘I’ve got a very big pair of shoes to fill,’ said Mr Winser.