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Guernsey – A jurisdiction that embraces innovation

Guernsey makes no excuses for wanting to attract fund managers to the island and evolve into more than simply an alternative funds jurisdiction. It is, according to Andrew Carey (pictured), Head of Locate Guernsey, an explicit position as opposed to a ‘nice to have’ position.

“We are working closely with the Guernsey Investment Funds Association to increase the number of fund managers on the island. The size of the manager community is already quite significant, it’s one of the best performing financial sectors, but there’s always room for more managers and for those that choose to come here, they will find an environment that works very well for them,” says Carey, noting that a number of high-quality management groups such as Apax Partners and Terra Firma operate from the island.

Reputationally, Guernsey has a Standard & Poor’s AA- rating. This has helped attract 805 investment funds which, together with LSE-listed trading companies, have a combined market capitalisation of USD63 billion.

On the personal side of things, quality of life is excellent allowing managers to enjoy the best of both worlds: access to a professional fund servicing community combined with beautiful scenario and surroundings.

“We think Guernsey appeals to those looking for a location that is conducive to growing their business without having to make any personal sacrifices. It’s a wonderful place to bring up a family,” says Carey.

“At Locate Guernsey, we are keen to make the landing as smooth as possible. We act as the manager’s single point of contact with the Government. If an incoming manager wants to establish an office we will help source locations, as well as other things they might need help with during the course of the relocation process.”

The Guernsey Financial Services Commission encourages as much dialogue as possible and is always willing to engage with managers to discuss their business requirements, sharing its expertise of having watched the island’s funds industry grow for over five decades. Recently, it unveiled the Innovation SoundBox for those considering new start-ups to interact with the GFSC during the registration or licensing process.

This demonstrates that Guernsey is open to groundbreaking, innovative approaches to doing business.

“Indeed, at the start of the year we introduced the Guernsey Investment Fund, which uses public money supplemented by private sector money, to invest in technology and digital start-ups. That again is indicative of a jurisdiction that wants to embrace the new and isn’t prepared to rest on its laurels,” adds Carey.

Other innovative solutions have been introduced to make Guernsey an attractive proposition. From a fund manager perspective, it now offers Manager Led Products, shifting the regulatory focus from the fund to the Alternative Investment Fund Manager. This reduces the regulatory and compliance burden associated with the launch of new funds, but keeps regulatory standards high to the satisfaction of the regulator.

From a funds perspective, the GFSC has introduced the Private Investment Fund. A Guernsey PIF is an effective structure for managers looking to market to multiple investors. Couple that with the regulator’s one-day turnaround for registration and it’s another example of a regulator that is responsive to the needs and suggestions of the investment funds industry.

“We want to help the incoming entity and ensure that any scoping visits to Guernsey are productive. I would encourage people to talk to the regulator. They are very approachable. Once those conversations are underway, getting the business up and running isn’t hard. Everything can be done relatively quickly. I see a funds sector with a real buzz about it right now,” concludes Carey. 

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