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Study says Jersey finance industry must step up promotional efforts

Jersey needs to boost its efforts to raise its international profile and to enhance the skills and experience of its workforce, according to a six-month study into the future of the island

Jersey needs to boost its efforts to raise its international profile and to enhance the skills and experience of its workforce, according to a six-month study into the future of the island’s financial services industry conducted by a team from the London Business School.

The study, entitled the Jersey Finance Strategy Project – Future of Finance 2015, was commissioned by the island’s economic development minister and industry promotional agency Jersey Finance to assist the sector in making informed decisions about its strategies for long-term growth.

The report concludes that Jersey will need to enhance its promotional efforts significantly in order to make its voice heard in an increasingly competitive global arena. The authors advocate devoting greater resources toward London as well as in India, China and Eastern Europe, which they identify as the regions where Jersey stands to acquire most new business in the long term.

The study also argues that a sharper focus is needed on skills development in Jersey, including providing more international experience for its workforce and further investment in training and education facilities for financial sector employees, to prevent the island falling behind competitors.

The report also contains some gentle criticism of the island’s financial regulator. While the quality of Jersey’s regulation is highly regarded, the authors say, the regulatory framework would be even more attractive to investors if it were more market-focused.

‘The research has pinpointed that Jersey is a highly-ranked financial centre, but it also acknowledges that the competitive landscape is changing rapidly,’ says Jersey Finance chief executive Geoff Cook. ‘There are 42 international finance centres included on the International Monetary Fund assessment programme, an indication of the competitive nature of global financial services.’

Cook says the next step is a recommendation that the island creates a new, informal tripartite body comprising representatives from the government, the industry and the regulator, who would assess the report’s detailed findings and consider appropriate action.

He adds: ‘We chose the London Business School for the study because they are one of the top five such establishments in the world with a renowned research faculty. The research team has provided us with a comprehensive analysis of the current and future market for offshore financial services.

‘In compiling the report, they have spoken to hundreds of finance professionals in Jersey, London, continental Europe, the US, the Gulf and the Far East. The findings include some valuable comparisons between Jersey and its competitors, together with a review of global market trends in financial services. These now need closer evaluation by industry, government and regulator, prior to making recommendations for the island’s future strategy.’

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