Heather Bestwick, Jersey Finance technical director

Jersey to enhance companies law

The law governing Jersey companies is to be updated through a planned programme of amendments, designed to ensure that the Companies (Jersey) Law 1991 retains its global competitiveness.

The Minister for Economic Development, Senator Alan Maclean, has published responses to a consultation paper, and approved the commencement of law drafting, on a raft of proposed improvements which will act to strengthen the competitiveness of the Jersey company, a vehicle used both by local business and as a key component of the island’s international finance industry.

The consultation paper sought views on a range of proposed amendments, a number of which are now being progressed.  These include:

• Increased flexibility on the movement of funds between profit and capital accounts;
• The removal of vestigial rules on commissions and discounts;
• The provision of an out-of-court alternative to facilitate reduction of capital;
• Regulation-making powers which will lead to the introduction of a formal demerger procedure for companies

Law drafting is expected to commence shortly with the proposed legislation being presented to the States for debate later this year.

Heather Bestwick (pictured), Jersey Finance technical director, says: “The Jersey company is a cornerstone product for the financial services industry. It is widely used as part of international structuring and is the offshore listing vehicle of choice on nine stock exchanges around the world, including the FTSE in London and the New York and Hong Kong stock exchanges.”

Joe Moynihan, director of financial services, States of Jersey, says: “Jersey has a world leading Companies Law which is being continually developed through work between Government, Jersey Finance Limited and industry. I anticipate that these proposed changes will further enhance the island’s reputation as a leading finance centre and I look forward to legislation being lodged for debate by the States in the near future.”

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