Digital assets and regulatory innovation on the agenda as JFA highlights strong performance at annual update
Jersey’s funds industry has continued to perform well against a challenging macro environment but needs to remain agile and place a genuine emphasis on innovation in key areas to meet the competitiveness of an evolving industry, according to speakers at a recent Jersey Funds Association (JFA) Chairman’s Update event.
Held at the Pomme d’Or earlier last month (16 January), the event saw Chairman Michael Johnson discuss the current landscape and set out the organisation’s priorities for 2024, while Vice Chairman Joel Hernandez provided a legal and technical update.
Highlighting the robustness of the Island’s funds sector, Michael pointed to the £525bn net asset value of the sector and the continued success of the Jersey Private Fund (JPF), with 664 JPFs formed since the product was launched, making it the go-to product for sophisticated investors.
He also highlighted that the alternative asset classes now make up 81% of Jersey’s total funds business with private equity and venture capital accounting for the lion’s share.
Meanwhile, private placement continued to prove a popular access route to EU capital through Jersey, with 391 funds now being marketed by 213 fund managers, while the industry is also supporting an increasingly broad geography of managers, from Asia and Africa to the US, highlighting the jurisdiction’s global capabilities.
Commenting, Michael said: “The continued strength of our funds sector is testament to our offering, particularly our stable and no-change proposition when positioned against the wider backdrop of global market uncertainty. 2023 was a difficult year for both managers and investors, but despite that prevailing complex geopolitical and economic picture, Jersey saw a number of significant fund launches and we have a robust pipeline of new funds and managers.
“It remains vital, however, that we stay cognisant of what is an evolving environment whether that be from a regulatory, ESG, technological or geopolitical perspective in order to maintain our attractive ecosystem for alternative funds.”
That message was reinforced by Joel, who highlighted product innovation, including around the tokenisation of assets, as a key focus for the next 12 months. In particular, Joel, who is also head of the legal and technical sub-committee, pointed to the work the JFA was currently doing with the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) to modernise guidance for funds and special purpose vehicles with exposure to virtual assets.
“It has been another busy year for the legal and technical committee with sizeable collective efforts being undertaken regarding our AML/CFT framework, guidance around virtual assets, a response to what has been coined the ‘retailisation’ of alternatives, and improvements to our successful JPF regime. The coming months are set to be no quieter, but we are fortunate to have a collegiate approach that will ensure Jersey remains competitive based on what it has become known for - cost, speed to market and quality - all underpinned by an innovative mindset.”
At the event, the JFA’s annual dinner was also confirmed to take place on 28 June this year. Further information can be found via the JFA website.