As you know, I have been out canvassing and talking to people about the future of Guernsey. During these chats I have been hit by one particular message – a lack of confidence. This is not just in the finance sector but in most aspects of life. Whilst this is disappointing, it is not that surprising and something clearly needs to be done.
An upturn in the world economy will, of course, increase confidence as perhaps will a new set of Deputies but what can be done about confidence in the finance industry?
James Madison, Jr., the fourth President of the United States and political theorist, once said “the circulation of confidence is better than the circulation of money” – however in our industry we need both.
Diversification is at the top of most people’s agenda – we’ve seen the introduction of an aircraft registry and image rights legislation. Also, the Digital Greenhouse, in my view, is a beacon of light for innovation having hosted some fascinating discussions on how we can promote Guernsey.
William Mason, Director General of the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, in his speech to the Industry in November 2015, having analysed other financial centres, concluded “that we match the most competitive countries in a large number of areas and that we still possess many key success factors.” I agree.
Having worked in the Fiduciary sector, I was also pleased to see KPMG’s Strategic Review of the Guernsey fiduciary industry which confirms that “[t]he fiduciary industry is a material contributor to the local economy and island.” However, as my interest is in the AML/CFT perspective, the report discusses the need to investigate centralising and streamlining the CDD and KYC processes for on-boarding of clients across Guernsey. KPMG concluded that “any opportunity to make this easier from a client perspective would be welcomed.” I think this is really important although, in my view, if we can get clients and certifiers to follow the certification instructions first time it would be a massive bonus.
The Report goes on to say “[m]eeting these challenges will require clear direction and monitoring”. Direction can come from a variety of sources: the Board, the management, the customers and the politicians and our regulator.
If elected, I hope to be one of those politicians providing clear direction and monitoring to increase the circulation of both confidence and money.