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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.

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.”

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.

Industry News
Wednesday
27
November 2019

Updates to substance guidance good news for fund managers in Jersey

Updated Guidance Notes published last week (22 November) by Jersey’s government, in conjunction with the other Crown Dependencies, provide further clarity around the interpretation of economic substance legislation.

Updated Guidance Notes published last week (22 November) by Jersey’s government, in conjunction with the other Crown Dependencies, provide further clarity around the interpretation of economic substance legislation which came into play in January this year and reflect Jersey’s focus on maintaining a substance-driven environment for fund managers, according to the Chair of the Jersey Funds Association.

Following the publication of the first iteration of Guidance Notes in April this year, the updated notes contain a number of points of relevance to the funds industry, in particular:

• that collective fund vehicles are out of scope of the law (save where they are carrying out fund management activities themselves, which will be the subject of future legislation) but their subsidiaries could still be in scope if they derive income from a relevant sector
• there is more specific guidance on the treatment of cell companies
• there is further clarification on the basis on which certain isolated decisions can be taken outside the island, provided this does not outweigh decisions taken in the jurisdiction.

Tim Morgan, Chair of the Jersey Funds Association, said: “This additional detail should prove helpful to managers in terms of how the law will be applied, and should give them reassurance that Jersey takes its economic substance commitments seriously. In particular, the notes generally clarify that funds themselves are not caught by the law and also provide more detail about the basis on which governance decisions should be taken.

‍“As a centre for fund management, Jersey has long had a market-leading approach towards substance and these guidance notes reflect Jersey’s approach to governance best practice.”

The JFA welcomed the initial publication of guidance notes earlier this year, as reinforcing the jurisdiction’s proposition for fund management.

Industry News
Monday
16
September 2019

Further upbeat fund figures revealed at London Funds Conference

Further positive figures about the size of the funds industry in Jersey were unveiled at Jersey Finance’s London showcase conference for the funds sector last week.

Further positive figures about the size of the funds industry in Jersey were unveiled at Jersey Finance’s London showcase conference for the funds sector last week.

Elliot Refson, Business Development Director - Funds at Jersey Finance, said that the number of Jersey Private Funds (JPF) had increased 25% in six months, highlighting the success of Jersey’s government, regulator and industry working together to create the best possible environment for attracting innovative, quality funds business.

Figures from the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) showed that the number of JPFs, a structure introduced in 2017 to cater specifically for the needs of small groups of sophisticated investors, had reached 257 by 30 June 2019, up from 205 at the end of 2018, with assets under management of £43 billion.



Joe Moynihan, CEO of Jersey Finance, described Jersey as positioned perfectly to act as a quality filter to manage international financial flows: “As investors look for stable IFCs that offer specialist expertise, Jersey can be a voice of reason among the noise, ready to support investor ambitions.”

Furthermore, irrespective of the outcome of Brexit, Jersey was able to bridge the gap between the UK and Europe thanks to the bilateral agreements that were in place with the EU alongside its long standing relationship with the UK, boosted by a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between the JFSC and the UK Financial Conduct Authority which gave fund managers added certainty around accessing UK investor capital through Jersey in the build up to Brexit.

Entitled ‘Beyond Boundaries’, the annual Jersey Finance funds conference 2019 (on September 10) attracted more than 350 delegates and a range of industry leading speakers and panellists who discussed the impact of regulation and governance, the trends in the alternative funds sector, and further examples of innovation and trailblazing by fund managers, lawyers and administrators who were using Jersey for their fund structuring.



The event was also an opportunity to flag up how Jersey had become a clear choice for socially responsible investing (SRI) and especially impact investing, with Mr Moynihan noting that there were already more than 30 SRI funds under administration in Jersey with assets valued at US$7.4 billion.

He also highlighted Jersey’s increasing global footprint pointing to the fact that Jersey became the first IFC to be permitted to open an office in the Dubai International Finance Centre last year. Further, next month, Jersey will formally open its first office in New York, partly to support the growing demands from US promoters choosing Jersey evidenced by US promoter assets under administration in Jersey increasing by 148% over the past five years.**

Meanwhile, the Island’s rapid investment in technology – it is the first place in the world to have full fibre telecom networking delivering speeds of 1 Gbps (gigabits per second) – had positioned the jurisdiction at the forefront of fintech investment fund services.

The conference, at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, included keynote addresses from Todd Buchholz, former Director of Economic Policy at the White House and current managing director of the US$15 billion Tiger hedge fund, and Dan Snow, BAFTA award-winning broadcaster and popular figure on BBC television presenting historical topics.

A total 18 industry experts from London and Jersey contributed to four breakout sessions which were entitled ‘New Alternatives’ moderated by Alice Murray, founding editor of The Drawdown; ‘Solutions for Fund Managers – Governance, Substance and Location’, with moderator Tim Morgan, Partner, Mourant and Chairman of the Jersey Funds Association; ‘Building Global Bridges’ moderated by Nicholas Neveling, editor, Real Deals; and ‘The Evolution of Real Estate’ with moderator Sophie Reguengo, Partner, Ogier.*



They debated factors affecting the alternatives market, pinpointing the strengths of the Jersey offering, drawing on the use of case studies outlined by managers, while also examining how the funds sector was responding to the technical and regulatory challenges it faced and Jersey’s role in providing solutions.

Summing up the Jersey offering, Joe Moynihan added: “Having one of the largest communities of finance industry and legal specialists of any IFC, combined with our speed to market, adoption of the latest standards in transparency, our tax neutral status and mature environment for funds business and with increasing numbers of local firms and advisers operating across multiple jurisdictions, we have all the hallmarks to remain the jurisdiction of choice.”

JFA News
Thursday
23
May 2019

Substance rules will strengthen fund management proposition

New Guidance Notes were published last month (26 April), designed to provide clarity around recently introduced ‘economic substance’ legislation in Jersey and how that legislation, which came into play in January this year, should be interpreted.

New Guidance Notes were published last month (26 April), designed to provide clarity around recently introduced ‘economic substance’ legislation in Jersey and how that legislation, which came into play in January this year, should be interpreted.

As the JFA acknowledged last month, the legislation was introduced to meet the requirements of the EU's Code of Conduct Group for Business Taxation around appropriate levels of substance for certain tax resident entities in Jersey, following an assessment by the EU that ultimately saw Jersey formally recognised as a cooperative jurisdiction.

With that in mind, these guidance notes are helpful, providing interpretations of how the law should be applied by Jersey-based fund managers, and highlighting what it means for service providers and fund structures – particularly in terms of reporting and the tests the law provides for around governance, income generating activities, and physical office and staff presence.

It’s sensible of course that fund managers will look at this guidance and assess the structures they have in place to make sure they can amply meet the necessary criteria.

However, although this legislation underlines unequivocally that Jersey is committed to best practice and international cooperation, it is also worth noting that, from a fund management perspective, it is further evidence of the direction of travel Jersey has been pursuing for some time and reflective of Jersey’s ongoing commitment to nurturing a substance-driven environment for fund managers.

It’s no coincidence that the number of fund promoters in Jersey has almost doubled in the last five years to more than 250, whilst Jersey has a community of more than 20 hedge fund managers – a figure that continues to rise.

Managers spanning the full range of asset classes and sizes have in recent years, for instance, been bulking out their operations in Jersey through staff and premises to the point that Jersey now has a significant on-the-ground management community, whilst we can also boast a considerable and growing infrastructure of experienced directors and risk management, administration and compliance experts.

Jersey has established a reputation as a centre for fund management precisely because it has long been a jurisdiction of substance with a regulatory environment that is internationally-recognised and that is already in tune with global thinking on substance.

Crucially, the new rules absolutely work with Jersey’s existing regime and the majority of fund managers will not perceive them as creating an additional layer. Jersey was, for instance, an early mover on the OECD’s BEPS project, which had a focus on substance, and in 2017 became only the third jurisdiction in the world to have completed domestic ratification of the BEPS agreement.

In addition, the significant work Jersey has done around the AIFMD over the past decade has positioned it well as a jurisdiction that is focused on supporting managers and giving them a solid platform for growth.

As a result, the new substance legislation should not come as a shock to managers operating in Jersey.

And if it is concluded that a manager needs to change its arrangements, the expertise is already readily available in Jersey to take on any extra work. Reporting is a case in point - in some instances, for example, older agreements might have delegated reporting arrangements to another entity in the group based outside Jersey. Under these new rules, reporting is a core income generating activity for a Jersey fund manager and if a manager concludes that it will be responsible for reporting as one of its core activities, reporting must be carried out by or on behalf of the manager in Jersey. Because the intellectual capital and capacity is in Jersey to service reporting functions, any change to the group's contractual framework to facilitate reporting from Jersey should be straightforward.

As a result, the expectation is that not only will managers here be able to meet the new criteria as set out by the new legislation, but that the new parameters will actually prove to be a natural next step that will further bolster Jersey’s appeal as a centre that is ready and willing to provide the perfect ecosystem for fund management activity.

The infrastructure is here, the connectivity is here, and the market access is here, and that should be a compelling proposition.

JFA News
Monday
20
May 2019

JFA chair underlines importance of continuing to adopt a “brave approach”

Jersey’s focus on alternative funds and its growing status as a centre for fund management is positioning it positively but sustained bravery is essential to Jersey’s future success, according to the Chairman of the Jersey Funds Association (JFA).

Jersey’s focus on alternative funds and its growing status as a centre for fund management is positioning it positively but sustained bravery is essential to Jersey’s future success, according to the Chairman of the Jersey Funds Association (JFA).


Speaking at this year’s annual JFA Dinner (3rd May) held at the Royal Jersey Showground, Mike Byrne told an audience of over 450 funds professionals, senior politicians and regulatory representatives that “Jersey’s funds industry looks in excellent health” with figures for the end of 2018 indicating that the total net asset value of funds under administration in Jersey stood at a record high of more than £320bn, up 15% year-on-year.

Pointing to rising levels of business across the alternative asset classes, Mike, who completes his third and final year at the helm of the JFA this summer, commented:

“It’s been a very successful year for our funds industry, both in the funds and the fund manager space, with our focus on alternative funds creating a very stable platform of long-term capital that is largely insulated from short term market sentiment.

“That focus is very well placed, with pensions, sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors all continuing to allocate to private equity, private debt, real estate and infrastructure funds. With a record £320bn of fund assets now being serviced across our regulated funds space and a further £20bn now held in Jersey Private Funds, there is a clear picture of an extremely healthy jurisdiction.”

In addition, Mike pointed to how Jersey’s growing status as a fund management centre is positioning it well in light of new economic substance rules:

“Our industry has faced a number of challenges over the past year but we have come out the other side very successfully. In particular, the past year has seen an almost unprecedented level of cross-industry work to ensure that we responded to economic substance requirements by developing a law that demonstrates our commitment to meeting global standards and reflects the true substance which we know exists in our industry.

“In fact, we are seeing an ever-increasing community of fund managers fully resident in the island, across private equity, hedge, debt, real estate and crypto funds. These managers are bringing a real depth and diversity to our industry at a time when the issue of substance is so high on the agenda.”

Looking to the future, Mike underlined the importance of Jersey adopting a bold approach if it is to continue to be successful:

“We must continue to adopt a brave approach in how we operate, in the markets we serve and in the products we offer. We need to think creatively, for instance, about how we bring to life the Jersey proposition and the positive solutions we can provide for both EU and non-EU investors. And, whilst discussions around the AIFMD and passports now seem long in the past, the fallout from Brexit continues to have unintended consequences on many fund jurisdictions, including Jersey, and we must be prepared for that.”

Lead sponsor for the evening was Mourant and silver sponsors were BNP Paribas Securities Services, IQ-EQ, Ogier, Praxis IFM and PwC, whilst the champagne reception was sponsored by Carey Olsen

JFA News
Wednesday
13
March 2019

JFA welcomes EU recognition

Commenting on ECOFIN’s recognition of Jersey as a cooperative centre yesterday (12 March), Mike Byrne, Chairman of the JFA.

Commenting on ECOFIN’s recognition of Jersey as a cooperative centre yesterday (12 March), Mike Byrne, Chairman of the JFA, said:

"Jersey has close ties with the EU through its funds industry – around a third of funds business in Jersey touches the EU in some capacity, whilst the number of alternative fund managers opting to structure their funds through Jersey to market into the EU through private placement grew by 13% last year. Maintaining a good working relationship with the EU is therefore absolutely vital, so this recognition, which comes after a period of really positive engagement between Jersey’s government and EU officials, is welcome news.

"In Jersey we take our obligations as a responsible centre that upholds the highest standards of oversight and governance extremely seriously, and we’re confident that our existing approach, coupled with the new economic substance legislation, demonstrates that we are a genuine funds industry of substance here.”

The Government of Jersey's full statement can be found here.

JFA News
Tuesday
27
February 2018

Blog: Jersey, boosting global prosperity by maximising pension fund returns

It is uncontroversial that tax-exempt investors (pension funds, endowment funds, sovereign wealth funds), are spared local taxes to maximise the return for their tax-paying beneficiaries.

It is uncontroversial that tax-exempt investors (pension funds, endowment funds, sovereign wealth funds), are spared local taxes to maximise the return for their tax-paying beneficiaries.

Those local exemptions are lost, however, where tax-exempts invest cross-border, which could discourage international investment, prejudicing returns from high-growth regions and risk diversification. The solution presents itself in tax-exempts investing internationally through a tax neutral investment platform in a specialist domicile like Jersey.

The debate around the use of lower tax centres raises the question "why do people invest in offshore funds?". The answer is simple: for alternatives, they're best in class. Expert domiciles like Jersey provide the optimum (regulatory, capital efficiency, cost, tax and service) environment for alternative investment structuring, offering mature expertise and higher returns.

This attracts "best in class" managers who produce the best returns for their tax-exempt investors. Monterey Insight statistics for 2017 showed a healthy 14.7% annual increase in AuMs in Jersey funds, with private equity and venture capital strategies (53%) and real estate strategies (20%) representing a significant share.

The need for tax-exempt exposure to alternatives has been driven by two recessions, budget challenges, the demographic shift and a long period of low interest rates: traditional pension investments in government securities, investment-grade bonds, blue-chip stocks and fixed-income strategies have been bolstered by allocations to alternatives to provide better overall returns, diversify portfolios, add inflation protection and keep return assumptions relatively constant, as returns on "less risky" investments have declined.


Private Equity

On recent averages, public and private sector pension funds have allocated just over 4% of their investable pool to private equity, which has delivered an 8.3% median net IRR over the past decade for public pension funds vs. 5.3% for their total portfolio.

Such is private equity's appeal, investors are struggling to reach their target allocations to private equity as 94% of LPs want to maintain or increase their allocations (Sources: Preqin and Bain Global Private Equity Report 2017). Private equity also offers tax-exempts long-term strategies which mitigate volatility risk and provide in-built diversification across portfolio companies and an ever-increasing range of geographical and sector strategies. 2017 saw the launch from Jersey of Softbank's (largest ever) Vision Fund and CVC Fund VII - funds of real global consequence.


Real Estate

Similarly, private sector pension funds constitute 19% and public sector pension funds 15% of the institutional investors in private real estate funds - more than any other investor type. Higher risk, value-added, real estate strategies are used by 49% of private and 60% of public sector pension funds.

Recent real estate fund performance has been strong, with annualised returns of 14.9% over last three years and 93% of investors happy with their returns. (Source: Preqin). Private real estate funds provide tax-exempts with portfolios combining capital appreciation and a rising stream of inflation-adjusted income, to balance out the ups and downs of the securities markets, and they provide marginally increased liquidity versus real assets, whilst allowing passive investment.

Jersey has long hosted real estate structures channelling tax-exempt investment into UK property and infrastructure, whether industrial parks, office blocks, apartments, retail complexes or student accommodation (eg the Malaysia Employees’ Provident Fund co-investment in Battersea Power Station project).

This all demonstrates how Jersey boosts global growth and prosperity by facilitating secure and efficient cross-border investment and maximising pension fund returns.