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Magazine Issues » October 2020

Jersey roundtable: Strong agreement

Funds Europe – How did Jersey cope with the turmoil of the Covid crisis?

Refson – One of Jersey’s key strengths is that government, regulator and industry can come together, address issues and innovate collaboratively within an overriding, robust and globally respected framework. There have been many milestones achieved this way and, over the past six months, this triumvirate supported business continuity. This has been vital to the jurisdiction and applies to local firms working remotely and to the establishment – for example, our registry remained open.

While there was inevitably some slowdown in new fund launches, we continued to see funds listing and to a degree it was business as usual.

Burgess – Jersey’s service providers ensured we have robust business continuity plans. We were able to move to working from home rapidly. Ocorian has over 300 staff in Jersey. Over the first weekend, we deployed them all from home.

Jersey was able to deal with non-wet-ink signatures quickly. Also, another unsung hero is Jersey Telecom’s decision to deploy fibre throughout Jersey instead of copper, supporting the resilience of the island’s finance industry.

Coughlan – The Jersey government deserves great credit for having the infrastructure in place to facilitate a majority, island-wide, work-from-home operating model. The responsiveness of the island’s various Wi-Fi providers to upgrade, upload and download speeds was very refreshing and a great help.

The speed of reviewing and temporarily amending the economic substance test was also very helpful to our clients who physically could not get to the Island.

Refson – Jersey has the second-fastest broadband in the world!

Macleod – We are home to some of the world’s largest alternative funds and now, perhaps more than ever, alternative fund managers and investors attach real value to a jurisdiction like Jersey that is stable, well-regulated and has a well-understood funds regime.

Haithwaite – Jersey has always been known for legal and regulatory stability. Being a small jurisdiction, we can be nimble in reacting to world events, quickly bringing in measures that give comfort to managers and investors. A good example of this is the wrongful trading guidance for directors, who struggled with aspects of company legislation that could potentially impose personal liability on them.

Jersey’s commitment to being a substance jurisdiction came into its own. The availability of on-island expert directors meant limited disruption to boards which were affected by travel restrictions.