JFA seminar highlights critical role of digital solutions in enhancing funds proposition

May 20, 2024

Emerging trends in the digitalisation of fund operations and the opportunities presented by a burgeoning tokenisation and virtual assets industry were amongst the issues explored at a recent event hosted by the Jersey Funds Association.

The event, held last month in Jersey, brought together a number of industry leaders and discussed the challenges facing organisations set against a backdrop of continued economic and political upheaval before considering the opportunity presented by digital assets and blockchain, the potential of AI to be transformative, and the pace of change in digital innovation.

Experts in their field also provided updates to more than 100 delegates on specific developments relevant to the funds sector, highlighting in particular the emerging use cases for AI within a cross-border funds context, such as digital ID and asset diversification, before questions were opened up to the audience.

Following an introduction from BDO Director Manik Memon, E&Y Partner Leo Boessenkool discussed the emerging trends in funds digital operations, underlining the role of AI in undertaking manual tasks within the sector to boost productivity, while Walkers Senior Counsel, Sarah Townsend, took a deep dive into Jersey’s position regarding fund tokenisation, pointing to the launch of Jersey’s first tokenisation platform earlier this year and imminent updates to Jersey’s ICO guidance notes .

Following were C5 Alliance Director John Gamble, who explored how to practically approach AI, highlighting in particular the importance of focusing on training AI on good quality data and addressing fairness and bias in integrating AI, whilst PwC Director David O’Brien talked the audience through operations powered by generative AI across private markets functions, including the application of Gen AI in preparing DDQs, portfolio reporting and legal document drafting.

Commenting, JFA Chairman Michael Johnson, said: “Market conditions over the past 12 months, combined with added pressures such as the retention of talent and increased regulatory and compliance demands, have created a complex picture within which the cross-border funds sector operates. There’s no doubt that the integration of digital solutions forms a key part in addressing some of those major challenges, from enhancing productivity and improving client experience to opening up new and diverse opportunities to grow our proposition.

“Jersey has a great track record in embracing digital solutions, but it’s clear that the pace of change is relentless and we need to continue to move faster and faster if we are to remain competitive and at the forefront of the global alternative funds space. With that in mind, I was really pleased to see such interest at out latest JFA seminar in how Jersey is applying digital solutions to bolster its funds capabilities and support investors and managers with their increasingly digital ambitions.”