As the Brexit debate is heating up, experts have started assessing the potential impact of the EU referendum not just on the mainland, but the channel Islands as well. Considering the Channel Islands’ unique status – neither a part of the UK nor the EU, it is worth discussing whether Jersey and Guernsey would be affected by the outcome.
Here we take a look at what the Brexit would mean for Jersey, a leading offshore financial centre.
So 23 June is looming upon us and the Brexit campaign has commenced. The gentlemen amongst us might be desperately scrabbling through diaries trying to remember the wife’s and/or girlfriend’s birthday, wedding anniversaries or other such days of note, but this is the day when finally the result on Britain’s membership of the EU will take place – a day most of us won’t forget. What possible impact could this have on our little 45 square miles of idyllic paradise? Well, given that 40% of Gross Value Added (GVA) to the Island comes from the Financial Services, one might argue quite a lot.
To not quite directly quote Senator Philip Bailhache, and not just him but a few other financial commentators, “we don’t really know but it might be quite bad” seems to be an answer frequently on the lips of many. It could be argued that a lot depends on what is the real view of the Channel Islands from the outside. If Brexit were to happen, it could be a voyage of discovery finding out what our international status really is – a tax haven or a low tax jurisdiction is the rhetoric from the naysayers, despite (correct) reassurance from Mr Cameron and the other 650 fine ladies and gentlemen packed into that building down SW1 way, of our long established, hard earned reputation as a superbly regulated, legitimate jurisdiction in which one may carry out their financial affairs should they wish.
The former would potentially be problematic one might expect. The glass is half empty brigade would maybe suggest that our special status that we have historically enjoyed with founder EU member states does not wash so well with newer, more cynical members; thus making it potentially more difficult to renegotiate this without help from our political older, bigger brother, the UK. I wouldn’t be so sure – having been present at a JFSC seminar last month, I would suggest that the best interests of the Island’s Financial Services industry are already represented in Europe. The JFSC is one of the most respected Commissions in the Offshore world, and the work of Jersey Finance to represent our industry is done with genuine meaning – it is not a propaganda steam train designed purely to induce investment from unsuspecting UHNW clients. A lot of investment has been made by Financial Service Providers in Jersey to comply with FATCA requirements. And by investment we should comprehend that this means more than just the financial aspect – investment in people, knowledge and learning, investment in IT, investment in relationship management with authorities. With CRS imminent, the infrastructure is already in place for openness and transparency whenever the requirement presents itself.
Jersey should embrace this opportunity to open dialogue with the more reticent, junior members of EU, whether Brexit materialises in June or otherwise. We have the chance to stand up for ourselves and remind those who view Jersey indifferently that, yes, agreed, we do not have the political independence from the UK, but we benefit from considerable autonomy, an independent identity and a highly acclaimed status for our Financial Services Industry. This doesn’t happen by accident, far from it, so we should embrace and develop our standing with those who know and understand us. To those more aloof toward us, we should present ourselves to them and encourage the build up of communications and the break down of barriers.
After all, should the glass not always be half full…?
* This article was originally written by Kieron Lambert, former Executive Consultant.
Securing a job in Jersey can be a difficult and time-consuming exercise. This is where recruitment agencies can help. But choosing the right recruitment firm is crucial for a successful placement.
Here are some insights into the world of recruitment industry and advice for candidates on choosing the right recruitment consultancy.
Speaking as someone who has certain understanding of the recruitment industry in Jersey, and with the memory of being a candidate from my days in financial services still fresh in my mind, I thought I should share with you what things look like from the other side of the fence.
As we all know, Jersey is a small place. There are a finite number of companies advertising a finite number of roles.
The pushing and shoving between agencies to get their candidate out to a potential employer is almost palpable, but don’t be fooled into necessarily thinking that they have your best interests at heart. Far from it – pound signs glaze over their eyes, hoping to land a commission from an uncouth piece of "recruitment".
This is not how a recruitment agent should operate – the "if you throw enough muck at the wall, some will stick" mentality is to be avoided at all costs. Or else within weeks your CV will become diluted and worthless, through no fault of your own.
For this reason, you should be very careful when selecting the agency with whom you wish to work, and also avoid the enticement of window adverts and website roles which are either many months out of date or, worse still, never existed in the first place.
Your choice of agency should be very much like any choice you make in life – choose what is most appropriate for your circumstances and what is likely to benefit you the most. When choosing a recruitment agency, be pragmatic; if you are a Managing Director of a corporate service provider, would you want your agent to be involved with part time data input roles?; if you are a Senior Infrastructure Manager, would you register with agencies that specialise in the provision of building site labourers? Clearly not.
Therefore, at AP Group, we have clearly defined divisions of AP Executive (senior level appointments), AP GlobalEnergy (appointments in the oil and gas sector), AP Personnel (junior to mid-level appointments in finance and commercial sector) and AP Technical (IT/Communication appointments), each providing specialist recruitment service to job seekers.
When registering, it goes without saying that absolute discretion and confidentiality are assured, and the service you get will be tailored to suit you and your experience. Your CV will be sent, only with your express approval, to companies for specific jobs, and your application discussed with the hirer afterwards for feedback. The service provided is bespoke to each individual candidate, and not a hit and hope exercise in which your CV is sent in desperation to every company in the yellow pages without any forethought or applied knowledge.
It is, after all, the way recruitment should be done.
With 25 years of experience in providing bespoke professional service, we have developed an extensive client network and in-depth market knowledge, offering the highest standards of career management service to professionals.
*This article was written by Kieron Lambert, former Executive Consultant.
As the first data exchange under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) is due soon, financial institutions need to respond to the increased reporting pressures, whilst complying with the set parameters. Based on the USA’s tax law Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) is the product of a global initiative involving 51 jurisdictions to facilitate efficient information exchange between jurisdictions and check tax avoidance.
Here is some advice on how the CRS can be turned into a “business opportunity” instead of an “administrative nightmare”, as it is widely perceived to be.
The Common Reporting Standard (CRS) is nearly upon us, and, quite surprisingly, it is approaching not with a bang, but a whimper. Whereas FATCA and EUSD were shouted from the rooftops, CRS seems to be creeping up with hardly a peep.
These initiatives involve governments obtaining information from their financial institutions and exchanging data automatically with other nations. Financial institutions (and other investment entities) will have significant additional reporting responsibilities, in order to disclose details of their account holders, with potential penalties for those unable or unwilling to comply fully.
Financial reporting will include all income and capital revenues, account balances, portfolio values etc, but whatever information is gathered, its impact is all dependent on the residency, or tax residency, of the individual(s) concerned.
To many Trust Directors, the ever increasing reporting requirements might seem like an additional chargeable administration that eats into WIP and bottom line figures; an additional support service such as compliance that reduces profit margins.
Perhaps though, this is not the way to view things. Depending on whether your glass is half full or half empty, this represents an opportunity to be pro active with your HNW clients.
Whilst many go about their annual review process as a tick box exercise to make sure due diligence and the like is in place, there is now an opportunity to re-assess your clients’ tax situation, and approach them to review their structures and their suitability for purpose. Could you streamline the whole administrative process for your biggest UHNW client? Could you win additional business from them as a result of your greater understanding of reporting requirements? Could you win business through referrals as a result of your pro-activeness?
With the correct guidance, the implementation of CRS could prove to be the biggest business development opportunity that has ever presented itself in many years.
At AP Executive, I am working with candidates having an in-depth subject matter expertise in the CRS and are well-equipped to deliver exceptional tax reporting service to clients.
*This article was written by Kieron Lambert, former Executive Consultant.
AP Executive concerned over shortage of experienced trust and fund administrators
While economies across the globe are slowly limping back from the massive credit crunch, the effects of recession, however, are still haunting some sectors such as trusts and funds. A leading recruitment consultancy AP Group has expressed concern over the shortage of experienced administrators in the trust and fund sectors. This shortage is a direct result of the recession that hit the global economy in 2008.
AP Executive and AP Personnel, divisions of AP Group, have many years of experience in recruiting professionals in the wealth management and commercial sectors.
Gina Le Prevost, CEO of AP Executive and AP Personnel, said: "Due to the lack of recruitment in trust and funds industries to employ and invest in junior staff caused by the downturn in 2008, this has now caused a shortage of experienced administrators. Since early 2015, we are noticing a recruitment upturn in the Channel Islands and other global locations which specialise in trust and fund professionals. However, companies specialising in these popular sectors are now struggling to find candidates qualified with the important 3 to 5 years' level of experience."
This is one such area where the global economic crisis has had a lingering effect. To cap the costs, most organisations, during the economic crisis, abstained from recruiting graduates and junior to mid-level administrators. This in turn has made it difficult for employers to find suitable candidates with the requisite level of skills and knowledge base. Had there been recruitment of junior staff since 2008, they would now be qualified to take on the role of experienced administrators – which are in high demand at the moment.
The current 3 to 5 years experience requirement means the candidates should normally also hold the professional qualifications like STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) and/or ICSA (Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators).
It takes up to three years to complete these types of qualifications. To fill this acute shortage, employers may have to consider candidates who do not hold work permit or local qualifications for these jobs but meet the required professional qualification and length of experience criteria.
Gina Le Prevost continued: "Companies need support by the Guernsey and Jersey respective authorities to be able to employ non- locally qualified candidates if necessary, and strict work permits policies, which have been in place for so long now, should be more relaxed."
She concluded: "Without companies being given more leeway with bringing in non-locals and if the numbers of jobs in specialist areas continue to increase in the islands, it is inevitable that salaries will need to rise in these industries. In fact, job seekers moving to the islands because of work offers would also improve the Guernsey and Jersey sluggish housing markets, which both islands are currently experiencing." However, for employees it is an encouraging trend as the job market is becoming more buoyant particularly in wealth management industries.
She said: "We are now in an ‘employees’ job market which is going to become a ‘fast track in gaining experience and professional qualifications’ for job seekers looking to get into funds and trust."
The World is a Much Tougher Place and so are the Regulators - Free Briefing Session on Tuesday 4 September
Date & Time: Tuesday 4 September, from 12pm-1pm
Speaker: Anthony Beckett, AML Course Director from ICA
Venue: Jersey International Business School
In light of the recent exposure of banking activities around the world, and even more so with the recent US probe in to Iranian money laundering, training is especially relevant for being able to stay at the top of the game when managing wealth and setting up risk frameworks.
Anthony Beckett, Anti-Money Laundering Course Director at the International Compliance Association, will be in Jersey on Tuesday 4 September to discuss the following qualifications:
ICA International Advanced Certificate in AML (6 months duration)
This intermediate qualification is suitable for those relatively new to an AML role or those wishing to begin a career in this area. The course covers the legal and regulatory framework, the role of the AML professional and customer due diligence (CDD) in practice.
ICA International Diploma in AML (9months duration)
This graduate level qualification is aimed at those already working in an AML role who wishes to further enhance their knowledge and skills. Students will learn about AML strategies and vulnerabilities as well as how to design an effective framework.
According to the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, Jersey is a leading global trust jurisdiction. This is not its only accolade - in both 2010 and 2011 it was named Best International Financial Centre at the International Investment Fund and Product Awards. As a result, trust jobs in Jersey are plentiful, competitive and rewarding.
However priority is generally given to local residents or those who have been living on the island for more than 5 years. Therefore if you want to relocate to Jersey for trust jobs it can be helpful to work with a recruiter who will have more knowledge about opportunities and regulations. They will also be able to advise on work permits/visas/housing etc.
While some have the impression of Jersey as an offshore "tax haven", experts argue that it is not a centre for tax evasion and in fact it has very tight regulation and meets strict anti-money laundering criteria. Despite this it still offers a relaxed environment to work and live. The island has autonomy over its own taxation but also benefits from its proximity and associations with the UK.
As Jersey offers very little by way of physical exports, money is its main industry. It's a great place for trust and fiduciary jobs due to its stability, regulation and the size of the market. Trusts don't just require managers and accountants - they also need lawyers, risk specialists, relationship managers and more.
Discretionary trusts account for around 90% of Jersey trusts, popular due to their flexibility and asset protection advantages. This tends to be what investors look for when considering Jersey. These types of trusts give a lot of responsibility to trustees, as all fiduciary roles do, but can also provide great rewards.
If you are considering applying for Jersey trust jobs, understanding the regulations of this market, tax implications and local culture will help you.
Jersey's finance industry was recognised today in a MP's Debate in Westminster Hall regarding offshore financial centres.
The Debate was brought forward by Mark Field, the Conservative MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, who proposed that the debate on the role of small IFCs had been remarkably one-sided to date and had demonstrated a fundamental lack of understanding of their function and the proven benefits they provide to the wider global economy. He also dispelled many of the myths associated with IFCs, and mentioned Jersey specifically, commenting:
"An IMF review of Jersey's regulatory standards in September last year concluded that Jersey was in the "top division" of financial centres and gave it the highest ranking ever achieved by a financial centre in terms of its compliance with FAFT recommendations."
He also recognised that Jersey had a "positive effect on the wider UK economy" and that the island (Jersey) "provides a conduit through which mobile capital from around the world can be aggregated and invested, primarily in London". He stated that "much of this liquidity simply would not reach the UK but for the relationship between professionals in the City and in Jersey."
Responding to the speech, Mark Hoban MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, recognised the progress that had been made by the British overseas territories and acknowledged the importance of such centres to London.
Commenting on the Debate, Geoff Cook, Chief Executive of Jersey Finance, said:
"The debate in Westminster today very clearly demonstrated the importance of Jersey's financial services industry, especially with relation to the vital role that Jersey provides to the City of London's transaction chain. Mark Field MP also acknowledged that Jersey is a significant provider of administrative and legal services to international businesses active in the City, citing the recent Vallar IPO (a Jersey company), which successfully raised more than £700 million and is one of the most significant IPOs to come to market in London so far this year.
"It is also very encouraging that Mark Field MP outlined that the beneficial role that IFCs play in the global economy and called for recognition of this at the G20 Summit in Korea. This is further positive recognition of the high regulatory and supervisory standards that Jersey has."
Mourant Ozannes merger creates one of the world’s largest offshore law firms
Mourant and Ozannes, two of the leading offshore law firms, have merged to create Mourant Ozannes.
The merged firm brings together two of the premier legal practices in Jersey and Guernsey to create a firm with unrivalled strength-in-depth and industry knowledge across the Channel Islands. With over 200 fee-earners and 50 partners practising from offices in the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Jersey and London, Mourant Ozannes is one of the world's largest offshore law firms.
Group Managing Partner, Jonathan Rigby, said: "We are very excited by the opportunities that the merger presents and we are looking forward to working together as one firm towards our shared vision, to be consistently recognised as the leading law firm offshore. We aim to achieve this by delivering exceptional client service through collective effort and mutual support and by becoming an employer of choice. Mourant Ozannes draws on the heritage of two great legal practices and I am extremely proud to be leading the new firm at this exciting time."