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...
The latest quarterly figures for Jersey's finance industry show that the total NAV of funds administered in Jersey grew to a new record level of £436.3bn at the mid-year point...
Sustained buoyant private equity activity continued to drive growth in Jersey’s investment funds sector as the total value of fund assets administered in the jurisdiction grew by £26.3bn to stand at a new record level of £436.3bn at the mid-year point, according to new industry data.
The latest quarterly figures for Jersey’s finance industry, collated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) and published by Jersey Finance for the period ending 30 June 2021, show that the value of total funds business booked in Jersey grew by 15% over the first half of 2021.
In particular, the figures show that funds sector performance has been driven by private equity, which has grown by 24% over the half year to stand at £203.6bn. Combined, the alternative asset classes, including private equity, venture capital, hedge, real estate, infrastructure and debt funds, now account for 89% of all funds business in Jersey.
In addition, the number of registered Jersey Private Funds (JPF), a structure designed for small groups of sophisticated and professional investors, grew by more than 50 over the six-month period to reach 456 (up 13%). JPFs hold total Assets Under Management of £78bn – these are not included in the headline quarterly data.
Commenting on the figures, Jersey Finance Deputy CEO, Amy Bryant, said:
“These latest quarterly figures reinforce some important points. First, the fact that corporate activity has remained strong and our banking sector has been resilient despite significant currency movements in an uncertain environment, underlines the robust nature of our industry.
“In addition, the fact that our investment funds sector has shown such impressive and sustained growth – in particular in the private equity and alternatives space – highlights our strengths as a centre focused on putting significant and high quality institutional and private capital to work around the world. Investors and managers clearly recognise Jersey as an IFC that offers specialist alternative fund expertise. That is important not just for Jersey but for global economies as we all look to rebuild in a sustainable way.”
Tim Morgan, Chair of the Jersey Funds Association, added
“These are once again really positive figures underlining Jersey’s reputation as a specialist funds centre. We work tirelessly to maintain the perfect ecosystem for alternative funds - an ecosystem that is straightforward, well-regulated, effective, flexible and driven by genuine expertise - and those efforts are reflected in the ongoing growth we are seeing in the alternative asset classes, particularly private equity. That the JPF continues to grow its appeal across the range of investors from institutional investors through to family offices is also very welcome and demonstrates our ability to innovate to meet the range of needs across the market.”
The full set of quarterly statistics is available here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Latest Monterey Insight figures reflect strong growth in Jersey alternatives...
Figures in the recently published, and 26th iteration of, the annual Monterey Jersey Fund Report paint a picture of a vibrant and growing funds sector in Jersey, driven in particular by private equity and venture capital.
The report finds that fund assets serviced in Jersey rose to US$493 billion in June 2020, up 2.5% from 2019, whilst the number of serviced schemes increased to 1,495, up 11.9%.
The private equity and venture capital asset classes accounted for US$325.9 billion of assets for domiciled and non-domiciled funds with just over 950 funds and sub-funds.