Guernsey – embracing innovation
By Andrew Carey, Locate Guernsey – 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 an explicit position for us, as opposed to a “nice to have”.
Guernsey does have high-quality managers already operating from the island, with names including Cinven, Permira and Terra Firma, and is also working closely with the Guernsey Investment Fund Association to try to increase that number. The size of the manager community is already quite significant, with funds one of the best performing sectors in the island’s well-rounded industry, but there is always room for more managers. Those who choose to come to Guernsey will find an environment that works very well for them.
Government-funded Locate Guernsey pulls as many levers as possible to make the relocation process as easy as it can. Those setting up businesses in Guernsey will find that the government wants to assist with the awarding of long-term employment permits as a show of faith.
Guernsey’s housing stock also includes a proportion that is classified as the “Open Market”. This section of the market – some 1,500 properties – enables occupants to reside in the island in a way that is free of the employment permit system that is required for everybody else. Both “routes in” are positive for the newcomer, and positive indeed for Guernsey.
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 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 is a wonderful place to bring up a family.
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.
I would encourage people to talk to the regulator. They are very approachable. The Guernsey Financial Services Commission encourages dialogue and is always willing to engage with managers to discuss their business requirements. Earlier this year it unveiled the Innovation SoundBox for those considering new start-ups to interact with the GFSC prior to the licensing process. This demonstrates that Guernsey is open to innovative approaches to doing business.
And earlier this year the States of Guernsey launched the Guernsey Investment Fund, which uses public money, supplemented by private sector money, to invest in technology and digital start-ups. That is indicative of a jurisdiction that wants to embrace the new and is not prepared to rest on its laurels.
Locate Guernsey wants to ensure that incoming entities’ visits to Guernsey are productive. And once conversations with the regulator and the authorities are under way, getting the business up and running is not hard. Everything can be done relatively quickly. I see a funds sector with a real buzz about it right now and we are an island of opportunity.