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Meeting the needs of Jersey’s new breed

The arrival in Jersey of a growing stream of hedge fund managers and other professionals involved in the industry has created new demand for assistance in relocation to the island, in a

The arrival in Jersey of a growing stream of hedge fund managers and other professionals involved in the industry has created new demand for assistance in relocation to the island, in areas ranging from finding housing to rent or buy and examining schooling options to the mundane functions of ensuring utilities are provided.

Edge was established in February 2006, initially to offer property search and selection services to people seeking to move to Jersey. However, the expanding requirements of both individual and corporate customers have prompted the firm to expand into property broking and relocation services.

With the growth of the financial industry and especially the specialist funds sector over the past two or three years, there has been a sharp increase in the number of high net worth individuals moving to the island either to set up business operations or as a tax domicile, and who prefer to deal with a single point of contact for their accommodation needs rather than have to deal with the more than 30 estate agents active across Jersey’s 45 square miles of territory.

The firm’s first-ever client was a hedge fund manager, Nitin Parekh, who had spent some time looking for an offshore location and chose to move to Jersey because of the jurisdiction’s quality as a financial services centre, but also the island’s geographical attractiveness to people seeking privacy and seclusion.

Since then many of Edge’s clients have been hedge fund professionals. They will typically spend well over GBP1m on a property and in some cases as much as GBP5m. But in the bracket between GBP1m and GBP2.5m, there is intense competition to secure any advertised property from both locally based people and potential new residents, who include not only fund managers but high net worth individuals seeking to establish offshore domicile.

Although Edge was originally established to serve the top end of the market, it has subsequently expanded its scope to provide services to a broader range of individuals attracted to Jersey by the fund industry and other financial services sectors or who have essential employee status with service providers such as law firms and accountancy practices, but who may be looking for properties at a slightly lower level.

In addition the firm is gaining an increasing amount of business from established Jersey firms such as law firms that are looking to smooth the relocation process for incoming staff. The service now embraces everything from orientation tours for people considering a move to the island to finding them temporary or permanent accommodation, handling the mechanics of bureaucracy and ensuring that the needs of partners and children are also met.

Although Jersey may seem superficially to be similar to the UK, in practice incoming people have to adjust to a myriad important differences, involving everything from the transfer of vehicles to the opening of bank accounts. For small, people-focused businesses such as hedge fund management firms, it’s vital that these details are dealt with, leaving the principals to focus fully on the establishment and operation of their business.

Ensuring that newcomers receive a service that makes them feel welcome can be crucial in ensuring that Jersey attracts the people required to keep its financial industry competitive. One leading law firm, for example, says its acceptance rate for job offers has shot up to more than 90 per cent since it engaged Edge to assist candidates in getting to know and settle in the island.

James de la Cloche is principal of Edge in Jersey

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