Jersey - Full guidance on setting up home and business

Locate Jersey is part of the Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture department within the Jersey Government (`States of Jersey'). Headed up by Director of International Trade, Wayne Gallichan (pictured), the role of Locate Jersey is to promote Jersey as a place to do business and to attract suitable businesses to the island, as well as HNW individuals; particularly those that are still economically active. 

Locate Jersey will help with every step of setting up a business in Jersey and relocating one's family, as well as providing aftercare support to ensure the transition is as smooth and orderly as possible. 

"One of the questions we sometimes get asked is, `Is it possible to relocate to Jersey?' Years ago, people believed that Jersey was closed for business and it was impossible to move here. Today that is far from the truth. Jersey is very much open for business. 

"If someone is considering relocating from the UK, for example (and to clarify we get enquiries from around the world) they might have heard of us through word of mouth, they might have seen an advert in a magazine or newspaper, been at an event we've hosted, or through an intermediary. I would say that the three most common questions we get asked are: Can we relocate? How easy is it? And what is the process that we have to go through?" comments Gallichan. 

For fund managers who are considering Jersey, it is important to point out that both a business licence and a housing licence are needed. Gallichan used to run Jersey's Population Office, and as such has first-hand experience in approving and administering business licences. "If a hedge fund manager wishes to relocate, we would work with the authorities to get the proper regulatory and business licences in place. We guide people through the process from start to finish," says Gallichan. Locate Jersey will also work closely with the Population Office, a department within the Jersey Government that issues registration cards for housing and work under the Control of Housing and Work Law. 

If all the right information and documentation is in place, Gallichan says that the Population Office can issue the business licence within two weeks. 

"People want to move here for various reasons but there have to be benefits for both parties," confirms Gallichan. "If it is a new business coming here we would look at things such as local job creation, tax paid, salaries paid to staff etc. We have approximately 100,000 people living in Jersey and a workforce of 55,000, of whom approximately 12,500 work in the finance industry. That number is back to where it was pre-recession, which is encouraging."

Indeed, such is the appeal of Jersey that some of Europe's largest hedge funds are located on the island, including Brevan Howard. An estimated 18 hedge funds are based there, taking advantage of the Channel Islands' ability to passport their funds across the EU under AIFMD and the exceptional countryside and beaches, which offer a unique work/life balance. 

To briefly underscore its appeal, Jersey boasts 350 miles of coastal paths, over 200 bars and restaurants, three of which are Michelin-starred, six golf courses and is the sunniest place in the British Isles.

"We work closely with Jersey Finance, who are responsible for promoting the financial industry here in Jersey. If a hedge fund manager wants to relocate from another jurisdiction we would work together to get the appropriate housing licence in place because generally speaking, they are going to be owned by the people looking to move here; senior management of a certain stature who will expect to live in a certain standard of property. 

"Further down the line, we would expect them to take on local graduates who have studied in finance and science. We have an excellent education system here. Students go to UK universities to do their degrees with a view to then returning to Jersey, so there is a good pool of talent for hedge funds to tap in to and we would ask fund managers relocating here to take on those kinds of staff," advises Gallichan. 

From a regulatory perspective, Jersey is compliant with the highest standards set out by the likes of the IMF and OECD. The Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) has what Gallichan defines as "a robust yet pragmatic approach to regulation". "We rank as one of the top offshore centres and when the OECD and the IMF make their visits, Jersey always comes out well in terms of its regulatory regime," he says. 

Locate Jersey works closely with the JFSC and can help introduce prospective business owners to the right people. One avenue for facilitating this is through the various events that Locate Jersey runs throughout the year.

"Recently, we had a potential business looking at Jersey. I had invited the Director General of the JFSC, John Harris, to the event and sat the lady in question next to Mr Harris so that they could discuss her situation. She had spoken with other offshore jurisdictions and hadn't been able to get a response from the regulators despite months of phone calls and emails. Here she was able to sit two feet away and have a direct one-on-one discussion with Jersey's regulatory head. 

"The Commission is seen as an industry leader in what they do and I think having an open dialogue with businesses really works," says Gallichan. 

Whilst Locate Jersey aim to make the process of relocating to Jersey as smooth as possible, which includes support in finding the right office location (which it does by providing clients with multiple introductions to estate agents and intermediaries) as well as property location, one critical aspect is that of aftercare; i.e. during the post-approval phase.

"A business or a family might move here and they need to know things such as: how to bring their car into Jersey; which part of the island to live in – do they want to be near the airport, close to the beach etc. It's little things like this that are important for any potential move. We stress the need for a good work life balance. You can do a full day's work in the office and 15 minutes later be on a beautiful beach having a barbeque with the family," comments Gallichan.

As referred to above, Jersey offers a fantastic outdoor lifestyle: great countryside and walking trails, surfing, kiting, scuba diving, rugby, football, Michelin-starred restaurants that use locally sourced produce, a government that is pro-business, excellent education and healthcare facilities.

"We also have first-class office space currently being built at the new Jersey International Finance Centre," adds Gallichan. 

So far, UBS, BNP Paribas and financial services company Sanne Group have signed deals to lease space in the first two buildings of the six-office building scheme.

Critical to any successful business – hedge fund or otherwise – is a reliance on cutting edge technology and telecommunications. The Jersey Government has been quick to recognise this and has invested GBP40 million into JT Global (was Jersey Telecom) to roll out high-speed fibre optic connectivity across the island for homes and businesses by 2018; a project referred to as `Gigabit Jersey'.

"I think we're going to be the most connected jurisdiction in Europe once it has been completed," concludes Gallichan. 

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