Jersey's financial services industry demonstrates resilience during testing times

The latest figures compiled by the Jersey Financial Services Commission indicate that fund and other business in the island held up well during the third quarter of the year despite the difficult market conditions, according to Geoff Cook, chief executive of industry promotional body Jersey Finance.

The number of new funds increased by 45, from 1,407 to 1,452, although there was a slight decrease in the net asset value of funds of 1.8 per cent, from GBP244.2bn to GBP239.9bn. The number of Expert Funds continues to rise, growing by 16 from 385 to 401, and their net asset value increased by GBP1bn to GBP53bn.

Bank deposits held steady at GBP197bn, representing a marginal increase, while total funds under investment management stood at GBP17.6bn at the end of September.

Cook describes the figures as encouraging, but urges caution in drawing any substantive conclusions. 'These figures reflect Jersey's position up until September 30, and in the period following we have seen significant turmoil in world financial markets,' he says.

'It is inevitable that we will feel some effects of the downturn in the final quarter of the year.' However, he says that given market conditions and benchmarked against global trends, Jersey performed well in the third quarter.

'There is no doubt that disruption in the financial markets has an impact on all the major centres where we do business,' Cook says. 'Despite this, Jersey has shown a considerable degree of resilience, due to the nature of the work we do and the strength and durability of our financial sector.

'Our aim must be to compete to increase our share of a declining new business market, and it is vital therefore that the industry remains focused on its business development initiatives in the UK, Europe and Asia.

'Jersey's expertise in private wealth solutions and corporate structuring is amongst the very best in the world. We must continue to showcase these areas of expertise, alongside our growing presence in the alternative funds sector, both in traditional markets such as London and in emerging regions such as China and India.'

Richard Thomas, chairman of the Jersey Funds Association, says the industry can take heart from its performance during a tough trading period, but warns that the current quarter's continuing difficulties are likely to result in a further reduction at least in assets by year-end.

'However, a further positive note in the third quarter were the figures in the hedge and private equity fund sectors,' he says. 'Both recorded small increases in overall fund values, a reflection of the continued interest amongst the alternative funds sector in Jersey as a preferred domicile.'

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