Paul Duquemin, Managing Director of the Guernsey office of JTC, looks back at the significant growth in JTC’s funds practice over twelve months positioning JTC as a key player in Guernsey’s funds arena.
Just over a year ago, JTC in Guernsey comprised of five staff and only a small number of entities under administration. Having identified Guernsey as a key jurisdiction for funds we wanted to grow our share of the funds market and I am extremely proud to say we now have 43 staff with a healthy USD$23 billion of assets under administration from the Guernsey business alone.
Why Guernsey and how did we do it?
There’s no denying the financial crisis undoubtedly deterred new investment in recent years, however, with confidence returning, the international investment community is increasingly focused on new investment opportunities. Private equity and real estate continue to be the dominant fund asset classes, with interest in the Channel Island fund jurisdictions from managers and investors looking to participate in the British, European and US recoveries remaining high.
The Channel Islands are favoured as offshore domiciles due to their safe and supportive political and economic environment. Guernsey is well established as a strong offshore funds centre and continues to be the domicile of choice for many leading fund promoters. Its neutral tax regime, 50 years of funds experience and industry valued at £266 billion make it an extremely appealing fund location for established fund players and new entrants. That along with the industry’s well established infrastructure ensures Guernsey remains at the forefront of offshore fund centres.
Having decided Guernsey was an area to invest in and grow our fund services business, an opportunity arose for JTC to purchase Ardel Fund Services Limited (AFSL), one of Guernsey’s premier third party fund administration providers. AFSL was a perfect fit for JTC and we soon started integrating both businesses, significantly boosting our numbers adding specialist fund expertise both locally and further afield in line with our strategy of expanding worldwide.
Following on from this successful expansion we made a further acquisition, of Anson Fund Managers Limited (AFML), who were also an ideal fit with a premium quality client portfolio positioning JTC as a top service provider within the Guernsey funds sector. This acquisition also gave us an office in the UK and 22 highly qualified administrators as well as providing JTC with the capability to administer onshore collective investment schemes.
We now administer a variety of asset classes and our portfolio of clients includes open ended and closed ended funds and unit trusts, investment companies and limited partnerships, many of which are listed on stock exchanges such as the London Stock Exchange, Euronext, AIM and the Specialist Fund Market (SFM). In addition to working for many London listed companies including FTSE 250 members, we provide administration to over 30% of the companies listed on the Specialist Fund Market of the London Stock Exchange. Guernsey continues to be the offshore domicile of choice for listed entities and has more entities listed on the London Stock Exchange than any other jurisdiction globally, (excluding the UK), according to new figures from the market authority. In fact Guernsey added 17 new entities to the LSE markets during last year which again is more than any other offshore jurisdiction.
JTC has now established a strong presence in Guernsey, Jersey, Luxembourg and the UK and these four jurisdictions are now our core fund services centres. In addition we also benefit from our operations in the BVI and Cayman. Our largest clients’ funds are administered out of Guernsey, however, we are increasingly experiencing a demand for multi domicile structures and fund services businesses need to be able to offer a joined-up and consistently high standard of service to these structures. Increasingly we are also seeing that our clients are wanting us to offer both offshore and onshore funds services.
The last year has been one of significant change for JTC in Guernsey from modest beginnings just over 12 months ago and looking further abroad JTC has now established a global reach to 18 jurisdictions through our main service centres, alliance and sales offices. It is our intention to further develop this network with the aim of providing our clients with access to a complete range of fund services wherever they choose to domicile their funds.