The two days of conferences – one devoted to funds and the other to private wealth – were hailed as a success by JFL, having attracted a record number of delegates. A key conclusion at the private-wealth event was that Jersey was well placed to benefit from the search for a ‘safe harbour’ by families looking to set up their own offices to run their businesses and look after their wealth. This was due to increasing concerns about global insecurity and threats such as cyberattacks, which was a subject also covered by the conferences.
Dominic Samuelson, chief executive of Campden Wealth told a panel discussion that apart from ‘political black swans’, wealthy families were also worried about investment risk in relation to inflation, debt and the bond market.
‘The soft issues are also incredibly important. So the risk is around confidentiality and identity theft, family reputation, and social media,’ Mr Samuelson is quoted as saying in the Campden FB publication.
That was why more families were considering a shift to offshore jurisdictions like Jersey, he said. Some of these ultra-high-net-worth families were considering moving jurisdictions because they were overwhelmed in their current location by the march of regulation and the increasing need for transparency at the expense of privacy.
Delegates at the JFL conferences were also alerted to concerns about cyber security by former MI5 Director General Lord Jonathan Evans. In a one-to-one interview with Jersey Finance Deputy CEO, Amy Bryant, he pinpointed reasons for successful cyberattacks and procedures firms should follow to prepare, including simulation exercises.
Technology and the far-reaching capabilities of Artificial Intelligence, were the theme of the keynote speaker Professor Nicholas Bostrom, Director, Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University. He delivered a thought-provoking presentation on both days exploring the strides taken in less than a decade in machine learning, describing the impact of advances in the near future as certain to be more profound than the Industrial Revolution.
Jersey Finance was also able to illustrate the way Jersey is adopting AI in the fintech sector, where forward-thinking finance and digital businesses are adopting AI solutions..
At JFL’s Annual Funds Conference, two panels of leading fund practitioners, moderated by Amy Bryant and Michael Collins, CEO, Invest Europe, stressed the importance of infrastructure and debt finance funds in the alternatives sector and highlighted concerns about the pace and complexity of regulatory change as a barrier to entry for smaller sponsors.
There were also fears raised about the UK’s position post-Brexit, when the UK might have difficulties because they were no longer sitting at the EU table influencing debates on future financial regulation.
In relation to Jersey, Geoff Cook, CEO of Jersey Finance, said that Jersey’s finance industry was ‘Brexit ready, part of the British family and a good neighbour to Europe,’ and Jersey’s Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, emphasised the economic value Jersey provided to the economies of both the UK and EU.
After the conferences, Geoff Cook said that it was the first time Jersey Finance had staged the two flagship London conferences back to back.
‘I believe it has helped create really focused, impactful events for the finance and legal communities in London, with a record number of more than 750 delegates across the two events,’ he said.
‘Overall, this was an opportunity to demonstrate Jersey’s willingness to work with the international community on key issues and showcase Jersey’s credentials as a safe harbour, a robust pathway to the European market for alternative funds, and an innovative high-quality IFC for international investors seeking future certainty.’