Newsroom

JFA News
Wednesday
06
October 2021

JFA chair highlights importance of innovation and stability at update

An ability to remain agile in a changing landscape, deliver innovative solutions and offer a platform of stability are key differentiators for Jersey’s funds industry that are resonating clearly with managers and investors, according to the chairman of the Jersey Funds Association (JFA).

JFA Chair Tim Morgan gave his update at the JFA Annual Dinner recently (23 September), attended by more than 350 funds and wider industry professionals, including an overview of the current funds landscape, the ongoing work of the JFA with its key stakeholders in Jersey, and future opportunities for Jersey’s funds sector. It was the first physical return to events for the JFA since 2019, since when all updates had been provided on a digital basis.

Pointing to the fact that Jersey’s funds industry recorded another new record high of fund assets being administered at the half-way point in 2021 (£436bn), with private equity and venture capital increasing by 21% year-on-year and the number of Jersey Private Funds (JPFs) rising to 456, Tim commented:

“The latest figures show that Jersey’s focus on alternative investment funds continues to provide a stable platform of long-term capital. From the start it was clear that the pandemic was affecting participants differently. Large, well-known sponsors with strong platforms continued to fundraise. Conditions were more challenging for new and smaller investment groups. However, many have in any case proceeded with the raising of successful, small, first funds and club deals, and that correlates with the continued growth in the number of JPFs we have seen. It’s a real endorsement of Jersey’s appeal and expertise.”

In addition, Tim, who is also a partner at the Jersey legal practice of the Maples Group, highlighted the importance of Jersey’s funds industry maintaining momentum in delivering innovative solutions to global investors:

“Jersey has continued to test innovations in digital assets, as well as increased amounts of structures aimed at sustainable technologies and related assets, which is very positive. In addition, significant changes have also occurred in the administration space – increasingly tech is a key component of how services are being provided, which is enhancing how governance, risk management and compliance are managed in practice. Jersey service providers have been impressive in adopting a digital first approach over the past year and this is undoubtedly a key part of our success.”

Meanwhile, Tim also highlighted that shifts in global geopolitics, regulation and competition were providing challenges, with Jersey’s focus on maintaining a perfect ecosystem for alternative funds putting it in a strong position:

“The political environment is volatile – the change in US administration; increased pressures from the EU and OECD in relation to tax; numerous policy initiatives from UK in the post Brexit and post pandemic environment; upcoming elections in Germany and France. All this means that there is a need for continual engagement in relation to Jersey’s position internationally. At the same time, jurisdictionally, the competitive environment is intense.

“However, Jersey’s ability to pivot in an agile manner, in particular between JPFs and more narrowly-held joint venture and co-investment vehicles, is valuable and provides popular, efficient solutions. At the same time, Jersey has an incredibly strong culture of partnerships with the JFSC, government, and other industry elements all working together on areas of opportunity or concern for our funds and wider finance industry. This is a real differentiator for us, as we continue to focus on our core message - that Jersey offers a unique ecosystem to provide a platform of stability in a rapidly changing market.”

Entertainment at the event, which was held at the Trinity Showground, was provided by comedian and writer Jo Caulfield and London-based singer-songwriter and former Jersey Young Musician of the Year Sam Walwyn.

The main sponsor of the dinner was Mourant, whilst silver sponsors were BNP Paribas Securities Services, IQ-EQ, Ogier and PwC, and the champagne sponsor was Carey Olsen.

Speaking at the recent JFA Dinner, Chair Tim Morgan provided an update on Jersey's funds industry...

Industry News
Thursday
05
August 2021

Jersey: enabling the private markets to realise their potential

In our latest blog, JFA Committee Member and PwC’s Asset Management Leader, Mike Byrne, looks at how Jersey’s alternatives sector can be an engine of growth and a force for good in a rapidly changing world…

Over the past 40 years, the private markets (or alternatives) sector has grown to become a bedrock of high value employment and prosperity in Jersey – the sector now accounts for nearly 90% of funds under administration in the jurisdiction.

As assets under management (AuM) in the private markets sector continue their rapid expansion worldwide, they’re set to play a key role in driving recovery and creating more sustainable and socially inclusive economies both here and across the globe.

Mainstream

The private markets designation brings together private capital (private equity and credit) and real assets (infrastructure and real estate), and this has real relevance for Jersey which has a formidable reputation in private equity and real estate in particular.

Mike Byrne, JFA committee member and PwC Asset Management Leader

As investors go in search of returns that other asset classes may struggle to deliver, private markets are one of the fastest growing areas of asset management globally. It’s a sector that is now by no means niche – it’s fast becoming mainstream.

Reflecting that, earlier this year, PwC published Prime time for private markets: The new value creation playbook, an in-depth exploration of how the sector is evolving and how to capitalise on the potential. According to that report, it is anticipated that private markets AuM will increase by $4.9 trillion to reach $14.4 trillion by 2025 - around 10% of overall AuM worldwide.

Further, in the JFA’s own survey of its members at the end of last year, respondents painted a clear picture of an industry that is looking to grow and diversify, driven by the private markets. In an industry with alternatives at its core, 69% of respondents said they were confident that their business would grow over the next five years, whilst both short and medium term strategic priorities for Jersey’s funds industry remained focused on private equity, real estate, venture capital and debt funds, according to respondents.

Increasingly challenging

As the PwC report highlights, however, this is an increasingly challenging market in which the prizes will be hard won.

·        In search of return: with entry multiples so high and economies still fragile, traditional value levers such as financial engineering and cost reduction may no longer be enough to deliver target returns. Forward-looking private markets managers are therefore broadening their value creation lens in areas ranging from strategic repositioning and top-line growth to longer hold and ‘permanent capital’ models.

·        Competing in a concentrated market: Institutional investors’ growing demand for multi-asset mandates is making it difficult for smaller, single-asset-focused managers to compete with big, diversified rivals. There’s still room for specialised players with the right capabilities. The firms that are most vulnerable are those that have neither scale nor specialisation. They risk being squeezed out of the picture.

·        Keeping pace with changing stakeholder expectations: the other, and in many ways most far-reaching, challenge is the shift in stakeholder attitudes. As environmental, social and governance(ESG) priorities in areas such as health, sustainability and social inclusion come to the fore, ESG performance has become as important as financial returns.

This isn’t just altruism. As pension and sovereign wealth funds’ private markets allocations increase, reflecting the ‘people’s priorities’ will be ever more important in securing large mandates and sustaining scale and growth. Embracing ESG would help private markets managers to reframe public perceptions, cultivate closer affinity with investors and generate new forms of value. Investment opportunities include helping portfolio companies to move towards net zero production. Private markets managers could also help to bridge the funding gap for small and innovative growth businesses and boost infrastructure investment in areas ranging from healthcare to digital communications.

With government coffers drained by the COVID-19 pandemic, the record levels of dry powder at private markets managers’ disposal could make them a vital contributor to recovery and regeneration – a Marshall Plan for the 21st Century. This would need to be weighed against the increased public scrutiny that would come from a more prominent role in socially-critical areas such as small business finance and infrastructure development.

Opportunity

Jersey’s specialist expertise, record of innovation and supportive regulatory environment puts it in a strong position to take advantage of private markets expansion. But just as the sector as a whole must adjust to a changing world, firms in Jersey are working hard on sustaining relevance and where they can take the lead:

·        Picking their spot: the most crucial decision is whether to be a scale or niche specialist player. Firms in Jersey are carefully considering what it is exactly that might make business want to come here, and how they can build on their standout capabilities.

·        Challenging assumptions: Further questions centre on how to address changing investor demands. The ever-increasing risk of being called out for ‘greenwashing’ is a clear case in point. As a result, governance – the G in ESG – is rightly at the centre of the agenda. Firms in Jersey are deeply aware of the principal areas needing to be addressed, including gauging what investors really want and how to stay ahead of the game – the goalposts are moving all the time.

·        Nurturing talent: Firms are committed to addressing the need to deepen skills and talent, including creating more diverse boards and stepping up the recruitment and upskilling of women.

The evolution and expansion of private markets offer the win-win of high value economic growth locally, and an opportunity to help address pressing social and environmental priorities globally.

With so much at stake, Jersey’s funds sector is focused on tracking how investor demands are changing, ensuring it can keep pace, and articulating what it can offer that other financial centres can’t.

Industry News
Thursday
22
April 2021

New research highlights post-pandemic domiciliation trends

A new report by IFI Global, supported by Jersey Finance, has been published, exploring post-pandemic fund domiciliation trends...

The rise of sustainable finance, the impact of Brexit, EU regulation and the fallout of the pandemic all have the potential to shape considerations around alternative fund domicile selection, according to new research published recently by IFI Global and supported by Jersey Finance.

Based on the views of alternative managers, law firms and advisors from across North America, Europe and Australasia, including some of the world’s largest investors in alternatives, the research for this new report – entitled ‘The Future of International Fund Domiciliation 2021’ – was carried out between October 2020 and February 2021.

More information and the full report can be found here.

JFA News
Monday
29
March 2021

Jersey funds industry reaches new record heights in 2020

Latest quarterly figures for period ending 31 December 2020 show stellar performance for Jersey's funds industry, driven by private equity...

The upward trajectory of Jersey’s funds industry continued in 2020 with the value of regulated funds business serviced in the jurisdiction growing by 9% over the year to reach a new record level, according to the latest quarterly statistics.

Figures for the fourth quarter of 2020 (ending 31 December 2020), collated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC), show that the net asset value of regulated funds under administration in Jersey grew by £32.4bn annually to stand at £378.1bn. The increase reflects a period of sustained growth for Jersey’s funds industry, with the figure at the end of 2020 rising by more than two thirds (67%) over the last five years.

In particular, the alternative asset classes, which now represent 89% of total funds business in Jersey, continued to prove the engine room of growth, with private equity and venture capital up by 21% year-on-year to £164.6bn. In addition, the number of registered Jersey Private Funds, which are not included in the headline figures, grew by almost 100 over the year to reach a total of 403.

Meanwhile, the figures also show that deposits held in Jersey banking institutions at the end of 2020 stood at £131.7 billion, down 8% year-on-year, a reduction that was heavily influenced by currency movements and global market volatility, with 56% of deposits in Jersey held in foreign currencies.

Corporate activity, meanwhile, was also very strong in 2020, with a record level of company incorporations in the fourth quarter of 2020 and the total number of live companies on the register standing at the second highest level in ten years at the end of the year (33,626).

Commenting on the figures, Jersey Finance CEO, Joe Moynihan, said:

“Against the backdrop of a really challenging year for global markets, this is a positive picture for our industry, and for our funds sector in particular which has again achieved stellar growth to reach new record levels. The resilience and stability Jersey has shown has clearly resonated amongst investors and managers, as they have continued to put their faith in Jersey as a specialist high quality centre for alternative funds. Despite currency movements impacting overall bank deposits, material deposit levels have stayed largely stable and consistent over recent years, while the positive corporate activity we saw in 2020 is a reflection of the health of the industry and our role in supporting cross-border activity.

“Overall, thanks to the collaborative efforts of Jersey’s industry, government and regulator, we are in a strong place at the start of 2021 and stand ready to deliver on our duty as a responsible IFC and support global economic recovery in the months ahead.”

Tim Morgan, Chair of the Jersey Funds Association, added:

“Jersey continues to work tirelessly to create the ideal ecosystem for alternative funds, and these latest figures provide welcome evidence of the appeal Jersey continues to have, in particular in the private equity, venture capital and alternative space, with a number of big-ticket funds coming to market through Jersey over the past twelve months. The fact that almost 100 new Jersey Private Funds have been registered over the year is also hugely positive, underlining both the appeal of the JPF as the go-to vehicle for professional investors but also Jersey’s ability more widely to innovate in the right areas.”

JFA News
Tuesday
19
January 2021

Strong growth for Jersey Private Fund

Latest figures show ongoing appeal of JPF for cross-border alternative funds...

The total number of registered Jersey Private Funds (JPFs) has grown by almost two-fifths year-on-year, according to the latest figures, as the structure continues to assert its appeal for cross-border alternative fund structuring.

According to the latest quarterly statistics collated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission and published by Jersey Finance, there were 365 JPFs at the end of September 2020, a number that has risen by 37% compared to the same time the previous year.

Launched in 2017, the JPF structure is tailored to the needs of small numbers of sophisticated investors and offers high levels of flexibility, fast-track authorization and lighter touch ongoing regulatory requirements.

Meanwhile, the latest quarterly figures also show that the total value of regulated fund assets serviced in Jersey grew to a new record level of £365.6bn in the third quarter of 2020, up 7% year on year. This was driven by growth in the alternative asset classes, including private equity, venture capital, infrastructure and real estate, which saw growth of 12% over the year.

Commenting on the figures, Jersey Finance CEO, Joe Moynihan, said:

“In the context of the challenging environment for fundraising in 2020, these latest statistics reinforce the appeal of Jersey as a safe location for institutional capital, as investors have sought resilient, stable, robust, transparent and straightforward fund structuring options to continue to generate returns.

“The Jersey Private Fund in particular has become areal success story and, thanks to its speed to market, flexibility and cost-effectiveness, is now perceived as the go-to vehicle for private capital co-investment and cross-border institutional alternative fund structuring.”

Tim Morgan, Chair, Jersey Funds Association, added:

“Whilst other centres have struggled to keep up to speed as the environment has changed so quickly over the past 12 months, the sophisticated eco-system Jersey provides has proven to be hugely attractive amongst investors. The JPF is a key element of that appeal, complementing Jersey’s pragmatic regulatory environment, access to expertise, and global distribution capabilities. These figures reflect the strong position Jersey is in as we move into 2021 and continue to help investors navigate a challenging landscape.”  

Industry News
Monday
21
December 2020

Fund Domiciliation in a Fast Changing World

New white paper published by IFI Global

Earlier this month, Jersey Finance contributed to a white paper by IFI Global looking at domiciliation trends in a fast moving world.

According to the report, BEPS may well be the most important development for structuring in the alternative fund industry in a generation, with many fund managers considering their domiciliation options more closely now, in part because of the growing costs and regulatory requirements of being in certain Caribbean jurisdictions.

The full white paper can be found here.

JFA News
Friday
18
December 2020

Nurturing the perfect ecosystem for alternatives

Jersey - First for Finance 2020 - 2021

In the 12th edition of Jersey - First for Finance, JFA chair Tim Morgan explores how Jersey's funds industry is focused on honing its vision to provide the perfect ecosystem for cross-border alternative funds.

The full article and publication can be found here.

Industry News
Friday
17
July 2020

Jersey anticipates fund migration uptick following amendment to Limited Partnership legislation

A new amendment to Jersey’s legislation will make it significantly easier for managers to migrate limited partnership fund structures to the jurisdiction...

Jersey Finance has welcomed a new amendment to Jersey’s legislation that will make it significantly easier for managers to migrate limited partnership fund structures to the jurisdiction.

The changes to the Limited Partnership (Jersey) Law 1994, which were approved by Jersey’s government this week to come into force today (17 July), introduce a new statutory basis for limited partnerships, which are frequently used for alternative fund structuring, to be migrated from other jurisdictions, providing greater legal certainty for managers and investors.

Whilst migrating a limited partnership to Jersey has been technically possible in the past, the move brings Jersey in line with the laws of other jurisdictions, making it easier for lawyers to give a clean legal opinion as to the validity of the migration of a limited partnership into Jersey from elsewhere, as the same legal entity.

Commenting on the amendment, Joe Moynihan,CEO, Jersey Finance, said:

“In an increasingly complex global alternative funds environment, managers are increasingly looking at their fund structuring options and indeed, over recent months, our funds industry has reported a rise in interest in Jersey from private equity and other alternative managers wanting to restructure their funds. They are attracted by the sort of stability, expertise, and high-quality service levels Jersey offers, whilst its strong track record in corporate governance, its ability to offer certainty around substance and its ‘whitelisted’ status are all seen as real benefits too.

“This amendment makes it easier for managers to migrate their structures from elsewhere in a quick, cost-effective manner so that they can benefit from Jersey’s ideal alternatives ecosystem. We anticipate a strong uptick in fund relocations following this amendment.”

Tim Morgan, Chair of the Jersey Funds Association added:

“The industry, regulator and government in Jersey have all worked very efficiently together to bring this amendment to fruition impressively quickly. This is a really important development, introducing an express mechanism whereby limited partnerships can migrate to Jersey quickly and seamlessly, and it will undoubtedly prove an attractive proposition for managers who are exploring how they can better navigate the complex environment they operate in. We have already seen a number of enquiries for migrations into Jersey in recent weeks.”

A FAQ about the amendments can be found here.

A factsheet about the migration of foreign limited partnerships to Jersey can be found here.

JFA News
Tuesday
09
June 2020

Jersey Funds Association Chair delivers virtual update

With this year’s JFA Annual Dinner being postponed until later this year, Chair Tim Morgan gave a webinar update last week (3 June), when he provided an overview of the current funds landscape, the work of the JFA and also outlined future opportunities for the industry.

Resilience in the face of an uncertain market, including the Covid-19 pandemic, and a stable platform designed to provide the perfect ecosystem for alternative funds should position Jersey strongly in the short and long-term, according to the chairman of the Jersey Funds Association (JFA).

With this year’s JFA Annual Dinner being postponed until later this year, Chair Tim Morgan gave a webinar update last week (3 June), when he provided an overview of the current funds landscape, the work of the JFA and also outlined future opportunities for the industry.

 Pointing to the fact that Jersey’s funds industry recorded a new record high of fund assets being administered last year (£346bn), a figure that included a 19% year-on-year jump in private equity business in particular, Tim commented

“In the first part of 2020, we continued to see a steady demand for Jersey funds, including from existing managers continuing to launch, often with larger, successor funds. Just as importantly, we’ve seen a sustained strong take up of the Jersey Private Fund, with managers converting to the structure and a growing number of smaller, start-up and spin-out managers opting for it too where the JPF's scalability and cost effectiveness, combined with Jersey's opt in approach for EU marketing, makes it a particularly strong choice for new structures. There are now more than 350 JPFs, which is a hugely positive story and a great endorsement of Jersey’s reputation as a specialist centre for alternatives.”

In addition, Tim highlighted some key findings from a recent survey of JFA members, which revealed a widespread positivity around key issues such as Brexit:

“The European market is still grappling with Brexit uncertainty, but actually more than 80% of our members consider that Brexit will have either a neutral or positive impact on business flows – due largely to the success of Jersey’s market access model,including private placement into Europe and seamless global access into other geographies.

“Of course, the coronavirus pandemic remains front and centre of minds at the moment too, but Jersey has shown real resilience, flexed its digital muscle and introduced measures such as enhanced digital filing and electronic powers of attorney, as well as guidelines on meetings during the pandemic to help keep business flowing in difficult times. In fact, with 100% of homes and businesses in Jersey connected to a pure fibre gigabit-speed network which is the fastest of any jurisdiction in Europe, Jersey’s connectivity has supported high service levels and has helped launch some notable funds during the course of lockdown.”

Looking to the future, Tim highlighted that Jersey’s strengths in alternatives would position it ideally against global market trends, with PwC forecasting growth of almost 9% across the asset classes over the coming five years*. He said:

“Our core strengths as an alternative funds centre, particularly across private equity, real estate,infrastructure and credit funds remain the same – our stability, experience, expertise,service levels, cost-effectiveness, legal framework, tax transparency and regulatory standards. However, competition from other centres remains strong and the regulatory environment remains highly complex, so we need to keep innovating and adapting to meet the needs of alternative fund managers.

“To that end, we are focused on enhancing our range of structuring options, and we are focused on promoting our capabilities in the ESG space. We’re also anticipating a rise in co-investment and fund finance activity, a resurgence in the use of Jersey property unit trusts to facilitate investment into the real estate market, and opportunities in outsourced work as managers look for specific support expertise such as governance and compliance, areas where Jersey excels.”

 

*PwC Market ResearchCentre

JFA News
Tuesday
14
April 2020

Jersey Finance supports research into future of fund domiciliation

New research published this month by IFI Global and supported by Jersey Finance shows that the introduction of global regulatory initiatives is set to challenge traditional fund structuring models...

The introduction of global regulatory initiatives is set to challenge traditional fund structuring models, make fund domiciliation much more complex, and heighten the importance of investor buy-in, according to new research published this month by IFI Global and supported by Jersey Finance.

Based on the views of alternative managers, law firms, advisors and some of the world’s largest investors in alternatives, the research, which was carried out between October 2019 and January 2020*, seeks to explore the changing face of fund domiciliation and the drivers behind domicile decisions, given the pace of change in the regulatory landscape.

Overall, the survey found that key issues including Brexit, BEPS, substance and transparency have shot up the agenda when it comes to domiciliation and are themes that are likely to influence decision making for some years to come. Amongst its other findings were:

- the most important determinant in domicile selection is whether a jurisdiction is well known and respected by investors that are being targeted by a fund manager.

- investors want to allocate to funds that are domiciled in jurisdictions with good infrastructure, considerable local expertise and knowledge of the asset class in question along with well-established regulations.

- there is some investor dissatisfaction at recent increases in costs in international fund jurisdictions as a whole but especially those in the EU - a common complaint is that the drive to develop local substance has increased costs for no particular benefit to investors.

- BEPS will impact all domiciles with alternatives, especially jurisdictions in the EU whose funds rely upon treaties for their tax exemptions.

- alternative investing is expected to continue to grow in the long-term, with jurisdictions that have the skills and experience in domiciling and     servicing alternative funds expected to facilitate that growth.

Whilst the study was undertaken prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Elliot Refson, Director of Funds at Jersey Finance, believes its findings are more pertinent than ever:

 “It’s clear that, with the fund domiciliation landscape becoming more competitive and more complicated than ever, IFCs need to be alive to key trends and have a thorough understanding of what is driving the long-term future of fund structuring, so they can be equipped to continue to support the alternative fund management community going forward.

“Investor buy-in is absolutely vital.Investors want to do business through familiar, robust, high quality and cost-effective environments that are tried and tested and offer no surprises.In a world that was already defined by uncertainty and volatility and is even more so as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, managers and investors will be drawn towards stability and certainty. Those IFCs that can focus on that,demonstrate real resilience even in times of mass upheaval, and offer a platform of substance built on expertise, specialist skills, compliance with international standards, innovative solutions and consistent levels of good service will be the winners – and Jersey ticks those boxes.”

The research, entitled ‘The Future of International Fund Domiciliation’, can be viewed and downloaded here.

*the research was conducted prior to theCOVID-19 pandemic.

JFA News
Wednesday
08
April 2020

Sustained private placement rise reinforces Jersey alternative fund market access credentials

New figures from the JFSC show that the number of alternative fund managers choosing to market their funds into the EU through Jersey using private placement continued to grow in the second half of 2019...

The number of alternative fund managers choosing to market their funds into the EU though Jersey using national private placement regimes (NPPR) continued to grow in the second half of 2019, according to the latest figures from Jersey's financial services regulator.

Data from the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) shows that, as at 31 December 2019, there were 183 Jersey-registered managers opting to market into the EU through NPPR, a figure that has risen 6% since June 2019 and by 9% year-on-year.

Meanwhile, the total number of Jersey alternative funds being marketed into the EU through NPPR also increased to stand at 320, representing a 3% increase since June 2019 and an annual rise of 2%.

 Commenting on the figures, Joe Moynihan, CEO, Jersey Finance, said:

“Reflecting the period in the immediate run-up to the UK’s formal exit from the EU, these are really positive figures reinforcing just how attractive the private placement route to market is for non-EU managers wanting to access EU investor capital. We’ve seen a sustained and consistent rise in the number of alternative managers and funds making use of private placement through Jersey over the past few years. It is a tried and tested route that provides certainty and flexibility and that is cost-effective, and those qualities are hugely attractive – particularly in the current challenging market.”

The figures follow shortly after the publication of the latest quarterly statistics for Jersey’s funds industry. They showed that the total net asset value of regulated funds under administration in Jersey grew by 8% over 2019 to stand at £345.7bn, a new record high, with private equity and venture capital driving growth, increasing by 19% over the year.

 Tim Morgan, Chair, Jersey Funds Association, added:

"Our alternatives sector continued to perform extremely strongly in 2019, reflecting the ideal ecosystem we have created in Jersey, and our market access and distribution capabilities are very much a part of that. The fact that we’ve seen a growing number of private equity, venture capital, real estate,infrastructure and debt funds opt for a private placement route to market through Jersey is testament to just how well it works. We expect this figure to continue to rise as managers look for robust and straightforward solutions to help navigate the complex and uncertain global environment we all now find ourselves in.”

JFA News
Friday
06
March 2020

Recent industry figures underline appeal of Jersey’s ecosystem for alternatives

Recent figures illustrating growth in Jersey’s funds industry are reflective of manager and investor confidence in Jersey and provide evidence that Jersey is right at the cutting edge in creating an ideal ecosystem for alternatives, according to the Chair of the Jersey Funds Association.

Recent figures illustrating growth in Jersey’s funds industry are reflective of manager and investor confidence in Jersey and provide evidence that Jersey is right at the cutting edge in creating an ideal ecosystem for alternatives, according to the Chair of the Jersey Funds Association.

The latest figures for Jersey’s finance industry for the period ending 31 December 2019, collated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) and published in February, found that the net asset value of regulated funds under administration in Jersey grew by £25.8bn annually to stand at £345.7bn.  This growth was fueled by the alternatives sector, which rose by 6% over the year.In particular, private equity and venture capital increased by 19% in 2019 to stand at £136bn.

A deeper dive into those figures shows that, over the past five years, overall funds business in Jersey has grown by 51%, with private equity growing by more than 200%, and the value of real estate business growing by some 31%.

Those figures came shortly after the publication of the latest Monterey Jersey Fund Report, also published last month, which found that (as at June 2019) Jersey’s funds sector had achieved sustained annual growth over each of the past three years of 17%, again driven predominantly by private equity, venture capital, real estate and infrastructure funds.

That report also pointed to the growing global appeal of Jersey’s funds environment, with the value of Jersey-domiciled funds with US promoters rising by 20% year on year and funds with Japanese promoters doubling.

Tim Morgan,Chair, Jersey Funds Association, said: “From a funds industry perspective, this is all clear evidence that the focus we have placed on creating a perfect ecosystem for alternatives is hitting home amongst an increasingly diverse manager and investor base. The growth we are experiencing in private equity is impressive, but we’re seeing a strong performance in real estate, hedge and infrastructure too, and with good reason.

“Our ability to enable managers to distribute funds easily and cost-effectively into the EU through private placement and to the rest of the world outside of the constraints of AIFMD is really finding favour with managers, whilst our commitment to nurturing a substance-driven environment and our emphasis on governance, quality service and specific expertise is increasingly attractive.

“It’s particularly pleasing to see our Jersey Private Fund (JPF) product, the AUM figures for which are not included in the JFSC’s overall reported total values, continue to grow in popularity too and surpass the 300 mark, cementing its position as the go-to vehicle for sophisticated investors.”

At the end of last year,the JFA presented the findings of its annual members survey, which found that 85% of members were confident or very confident on their growth outlook.

JFA News
Thursday
05
December 2019

Jersey Funds Association presents findings of annual member survey

The findings of the second annual survey of the Jersey Funds Association’s (JFA) members will be instrumental in informing the organisation’s future direction and strategy, according to Chair Tim Morgan.

The findings of the second annual survey of the Jersey Funds Association’s (JFA) members will be instrumental in informing the organisation’s future direction and strategy, according to Chair Tim Morgan.

Highlighted to an audience of industry professionals at a presentation held at the Jersey Museum last week (28th November), the survey explored key opportunities and issues for Jersey’s funds industry and the sentiment of practitioners.

Amongst its key findings were that the industry’s approach to Brexit and new economic substance rules were balanced but largely positive, with over 80% saying Brexit would be neutral or increase business and around three quarters saying the same about substance rules.

Members were also very positive in terms of their growth outlook, with 84% saying they were confident or very confident of growth, a significant increase from last year.

In addition, in respect of technology the survey indicated a clear trend, with over 56% of respondents saying that they had employed automation technology over the past year.

Tim commented: “The past year has posed a number of significant challenges, including Brexit and the introduction of substance legislation however we really shouldn’t underestimate just how positive the outcome of Jersey's work around these issues has been for our industry. The recognition from the EU at the beginning of the year has shown without doubt that as a jurisdiction we are serious about cooperation and global standards, and that has translated into good business flows. The fact that our industry now administers in excess of £340bn of assets – a record high - is no accident. That buoyancy really comes through in our survey this year.

“We are pragmatic as an industry too, though. What our survey shows us is that our members are keen to maintain a growth trajectory by looking at innovation, continuing to source the best talent, engaging with stakeholders, and differentiating ourselves through service quality, ease of doing business and stability.

“These findings will be vital in informing how we continue to enhance our funds ecosystem, and I’d like to thank our membership for their time and support in putting their views forward.”

JFA News
Sunday
06
October 2019

Jersey in good shape six months on since introduction of CGT rules

Six months on since new rules on the application of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) for overseas investors in UK commercial property came into play, Stephanie Henwood-Darts, Director at JFA member firm JTC, looks at how the market looks and why Jersey remains a good option.

Six months on since new rules on the application of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) for overseas investors in UK commercial property came into play, Stephanie Henwood-Darts, Director at JFA member firm JTC, looks at how the market looks and why Jersey remains a good option for supporting UK-bound real estate investment…

Q: In the six months since their introduction, have the new CGT rules had much of an impact on real estate fund structuring? Or is activity being ore influenced by other factors, such as Brexit?

A: There was an initial impact following the announcement, with tax advice pointing to, and therefore new funds being set up, onshore and through Luxembourg due to it having a favourable double tax treaty (meaning the UK does not currently have taxing rights over Luxembourg entities).

However, we are still seeing JPUTs due to the favourable elections that can be made (transparency election/exemption election) and the fact that the JPUT is a familiar structure which our clients already know and like. There is also the pull that we do not rely on double tax treaties but employ a tax transparent regime which means that tax is paid where the investment activity is and where investors are, which is completely appropriate.

Brexit is certainly having an impact on overall investment levels but there is an expectation that activity will increase once there is more certainty around the terms and timing of the UK’s exit.  

Q: In terms of how Jersey is positioned, has Jersey seen much of a swing in terms of fund activity targeting UK real estate assets since the new rules were introduced?

A: Although heads were initially turned, institutional investors are still favouring Jersey as a preferred jurisdiction through which to invest into UK commercial real estate. Now that there is a full understanding of the available elections for Collective Investment Vehicles (CIVs), it is expected that activity levels for Jersey funds will further increase.

Jersey is well placed to provide a tax neutral environment with an appropriate regulatory framework for investment funds raising global capital and investing in real estate all around the world, and this still includes UK commercial real estate.

Q: How do Jersey structures succeed in meeting the exemption options? Do the well-used JPUT and REIT structures continue to work well under the new rules?

A: Jersey structures work well under the exemption options which is largely due to the involvement of many Jersey professionals who ensured that they submitted detailed responses to the consultation and HMRC’s desire to protect the value of pension funds along with the attraction of the UK as a property investment jurisdiction.

Most JPUTS have been favouring the transparency election. This was designed by HMRC with JPUTs in mind and means that the JPUT will be transparent (just like it is for income tax purposes) and all investors will be taxed in accordance with their own profile. REITS are also a good alternative as they benefit from HMRC’s approved regime where the disposal of UK commercial property is treated as exempt from corporation tax and sales of shares also benefit from this exempt status.

However, all advice that we have seen in respect to REITS has been caveated with the fact that reporting requirements will be onerous. A Jersey REIT will automatically be UK tax resident so although there would be no tax benefit from structuring a REIT through Jersey, the benefit of regulatory flexibility (and certainty) and local expertise where any reporting can be handled in an effective and efficient manner should mean they increase in popularity.

Q: What about funds targeting other non-UK geographical markets? Are you seeing consistent RE activity elsewhere through Jersey?

A: We haven’t noticed a material increase in new funds targeting non-UK geographical markets but a number of clients with existing Jersey structures have added to them by including non-UK (mostly European) assets.

However, it is expected that there may be a spike in investment outside of the UK following Brexit. If this occurs, Jersey should be well placed to continue to be the home of fund vehicles and we see investment funds and structures being placed in Jersey which have global investment strategies, whether it's a London-centric special opportunities fund, a pan-European real estate fund or RE investment in Canada or the US.

Q: Looking forward to the coming 6 months, what do you see as the key influences on the global real estate market, and in terms of UK-focused activity?

A: We can’t escape discussing the ‘B’ word when talking about the next six months. Investors are already pricing in the cost of a potential no-deal Brexit and a dramatic decrease in the price of UK commercial property is predicted should this occur.

On the flip side, the weakness of the GBP could boost attraction towards the UK real estate market, in particular from US, Middle-East and Far-East investors. However, they may be put off by the potential difficulty in securing long-term (or any type of) leases, such was the initial sentiment in the aftermath of the Brexit vote. Communication with investors in respect of outlining the logic of decisions and clear strategic planning will be key to the success of funds navigating the post-Brexit landscape.  

Overall, Jersey has a great opportunity to promote its independence from the EU in respect of structuring it this time of uncertainty. Why structure through the EU for holding UK commercial property which will very shortly be outside of the EU? Jersey is already outside of the EU for regulatory purposes and is very much open for business!

JFA News
Friday
20
September 2019

New record high for Jersey’s funds sector as private equity soars

The value of regulated funds serviced in Jersey rose by 7% to a new record high in the first half of 2019, according to the latest figures to be collated by the jurisdiction’s financial regulator the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC).

The value of regulated funds serviced in Jersey rose by 7% to a new record high in the first half of 2019, according to the latest figures to be collated by the jurisdiction’s financial regulator the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC).

Figures for the second quarter of 2019 (ending 30 June 2019) show that the net asset value of regulated funds under administration in Jersey grew by £22.1bn over the first six months of the year to stand at £342.1bn, a new record high and a figure that has grown by more than 70% over the past five years.

The alternative asset classes continued to perform strongly, recording a combined rise over the first six months of 2019 of 6% to represent 85% of Jersey’s total funds business. Once again private equity was pivotal in driving the growth, rising by an impressive 14% over the six-month period. There was also growth in real estate (up 2.5%) whilst infrastructure, credit and debt funds rose collectively by 2% and hedge funds decreased by 3%.

The latest quarterly figures come shortly after it was announced at Jersey Finance’s Annual London Funds Conference earlier this month that the number of registered Jersey Private Funds (JPF) had grown by 25% over the half year to 257, with assets under management of £43bn – more than double the value at the end of 2018 (£19.4bn). The figures for JPFs, a structure that was introduced in 2017 to cater for the needs of small groups of sophisticated investors, are in addition to the numbers in the quarterly statistics.

Meanwhile, figures from the JFSC also reveal positive news in the banking sector, where the value of deposits held in Jersey grew 5% in the first half of the year to stand at £129.3bn, the highest figure since 2015.

Commenting on the figures, Jersey Finance CEO, Joe Moynihan, said:

“It’s particularly pleasing that we have succeeded in maintaining our momentum from last year into 2019 with a really strong set of figures. At our conference in London earlier this month, we set out clearly why Jersey continues to prove an attractive option for alternative fund structuring and the fact that we have reached new heights midway through the year is compelling evidence of that. The stability Jersey can provide, together with its expertise, cutting-edge regulatory framework and global market access is clearly resonating with managers.

“The fact that our banking sector remains so resilient is hugely positive too. It is a key component of our financial services industry and is continuing to evolve to meet the increasingly sophisticated, global and digital demands of investors now and in the future.

Tim Morgan, Chair, Jersey Funds Association, added:

“These figures demonstrate that the private equity sector sees real benefits in using Jersey and that the Jersey Private Fund (JPF) is fast becoming the go-to structure for investors. Managers are continually looking for reliable, cost effective solutions to support their investors’ needs and Jersey’s funds offering provides the perfect solution for the long-term.”

The full set of quarterly statistics is available here.