Guernsey Finance has a mission to promote the island as a leading financial centre and connect it to its chosen markets worldwide. At the head of operations is Chief Executive Dominic Wheatley, who caught up with The European to discuss a highly satisfying 12 months for the jurisdiction.
What have been the prominent milestones for Guernsey in 2019?
Dominic Wheatley: Guernsey’s financial services industry is broad and our reputation for international compliance and cooperation is very important to us. The announcement by the EU Code Group that we fully met their criteria as a non-harmful tax jurisdiction was very important across our industry. This confirms the economic substance of Guernsey across all sectors – a combination of excellent governance and regulation, effective administration, and the expert advice we offer.
Since 2018 we have been strongly promoting green and sustainable finance – we launched the world’s first regulated green fund “kitemark”, the Guernsey Green Fund. The numbers of these funds are growing, and now include a London-listed solar energy vehicle.
How have the competitive advantages Guernsey offers helped your clients?
DW: The stability of our 800-year-old constitution, robust political processes and legal system, and well-regulated business environment provide clients across all sectors with a very high level of certainty. Our record for compliant, transparent tax practice, good regulatory oversight, and a strong AML regime, all regularly endorsed by relevant international authorities, delivers an exemplary international reputation that our clients like.
Our economic substance offers a one-stop shop to clients in terms of the specification and implementation of offshore arrangements designed to meet their specific needs.
What should we look out for in the year ahead?
DW: I am particularly looking forward to the further development of green and sustainable finance, and, as the premier captive insurance location in Europe, the re-emergence of captives in 2020.
In 2019 we have been promoting Guernsey as a base for family offices. Our specialisms are particularly appealing in this sector and we are now developing new legal structures to help families better manage their international assets across geographical and generational boundaries.
We have also been working on electronic due diligence to provide more effective protection against money laundering and other forms of dirty money.
What message do you have for the global business community regarding Guernsey?
DW: We are dedicated to being part of good finance. This means being committed to international initiatives regarding better regulation, non-harmful tax practices and anti-money laundering.
It also means playing a key role in areas where finance can improve our world and enhance people’s lives. As well as green finance, I am proud of how our insurance industry delivers reinsurance that rebuilds shattered communities after natural disasters, and how our pensions sector secures the financial security of working people worldwide.