The launch of a multi-million pound investment fund has been hailed as a significant milestone for Guernsey’s economy; signalling that the island is very much open for business.
As seed investor in the Guernsey Investment Fund, to the tune of GBP25 million, the States of Guernsey has shown its commitment to supporting and facilitating innovation, while also displaying high levels of confidence in the island’s economic outlook.
The Fund has dual objectives: to generate profits for investors; and to invest in projects and companies with a Bailiwick focus.
The Policy & Resources Committee, which has delegated authority over the States of Guernsey’s Investment Reserve, agreed to invest GBP25 million into the Guernsey Investment Fund on the basis that investment fund manager Ravenscroft would secure additional funding from the private sector. Millions of additional investment has been raised.
Deputy Gavin St Pier, President of the Policy & Resources Committee, says: “The launch of the Guernsey Investment Fund, and government’s substantial seed funding of it, marks an exciting day for all those involved in business. We are determined to stimulate growth and we are committed to supporting business innovation. Our expectation as primary investor into the Fund is that it will achieve a significant return on our investment reserves for taxpayers and serve as an economic enabler.”
“We have worked with Ravenscroft to set up the Fund to operate at arm’s length of government, managed by professionals with an independent three-person board appointed to have overall responsibility for investment decisions. Neither politicians nor civil servants will be involved in making investment decisions.”
“This is something I have been talking about for some time, so I am pleased that it has finally come to fruition. This significant investment from government and other investors in the Bailiwick serves as a demonstration of the confidence that exists in our economy. The Fund represented a good investment opportunity for government’s reserves but has the dual benefit of supporting business, jobs and the wider economy. We often say that ‘Guernsey is open for business’. This is an unequivocal example of us now walking the walk.”
The Guernsey Investment Fund will be made up of a number of protected cells, with the technology and innovation cell being the first to launch. Further cells, including property and infrastructure, may follow.
The objective of the technology and innovation cell, in addition to the main dual objectives of the Fund, is to achieve long term capital growth by investing in a diversified portfolio of technology and innovative companies which have the potential to create new or disrupt existing industries.
Deputy Charles Parkinson, President of the Committee for Economic Development, says: “A well-managed investment fund has significant potential to help grow the economy. Our need to diversify is well-understood, and the Guernsey Investment Fund can be a key enabler to meet that objective. We cannot stand still; we must innovate and we must support those with the ideas – but not the necessary funds – that can benefit the Bailiwick for years to come.”
An independent board has been appointed to have overall responsibility for the Fund, each cell and its respective portfolio. Chairman Gilbert Chalk, who has extensive experience of chairing boards in this field, will be joined by John Hollis, a non-States member of the former Treasury & Resources Board and the current States Trading Supervisory Board, and Mel Carvill, a director of a number of global financial services companies.
Investments will only be made after thorough due diligence undertaken by the investment manager has been completed and subsequent approval of the independent board of directors.
Deputy Lyndon Trott, Vice-President of the Policy & Resources Committee, says: “The States of Guernsey’s commitment to the Fund is further evidence of our willingness to put our money where our mouth is, both in terms of spotting an excellent investment opportunity for taxpayer-held funds and recognising the substantial potential benefits to our economy. This is a fantastic opportunity for any companies or entrepreneurs who believe they have a business idea that will satisfy the Fund’s dual objectives – turn a profit and benefit the Bailiwick.”
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