However, it was the sort of anticlimax that will always go down well with the majority of people in this Island. As well as pledging investments of a trillion dollars to help dig the planet out of the present financial hole, summit delegates came up with a plan of action for offshore finance centres that suits our agenda, our needs and our international image perfectly.
In a nutshell, we find ourselves on the same ‘white list’ as the leading G20 nations. We are, therefore, officially a cut above a host of other centres that find themselves on the ‘grey list’ – including competitors such as the Caymans, Liechtenstein and Bermuda – and we are streets ahead in terms of perceived probity compared with the nations languishing on the ‘black list’.
Our newly defined status is entirely in line with the claims that the Island has been making for years past on the strength of the quality of its regulatory regime. It also tallies with recent efforts to ensure that our finance industry is as open and transparent as possible through the signing of tax information exchange agreements with a wide range of other jurisdictions.
Contrary to fears both expressed and unexpressed, the world’s most influential leaders have applied the stamp of approval to all that we have achieved through political initiatives, the technical expertise of the Jersey Financial Services Commission and the public relations drive of Jersey Finance Ltd.
All this will not mean that all of our critics drop our case and turn to other causes, though it must take much of the wind out of their sails. Those arguing against us from entrenched ideological positions will no doubt continue to do so, but the action plan of the G20 on so-called tax havens was most certainly not what they wanted to hear.
Meanwhile, although sighs of relief might be audible in St Helier’s new financial quarter because it appears that business will continue without undue hindrance, the G20 stance means more than this.
If, as they well might, businesses and individuals choose increasingly to shun ‘grey list’ centres, we can expect more work and more funds to move in our direction.