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Jonny Gamble joined the Guernsey Finance business development team in May as a dedicated US representative, to give the US market a more cohesive presence in Guernsey. In our latest comic blog, Jonny talks about his first few weeks in the role.
The US market represents many opportunities for Guernsey, which is well known as a conduit for global capital flows. I am truly delighted to have joined Guernsey Finance at such an interesting time in the growth of the organization and to be involved in the continued development of Guernsey in the region.
I spent much of my early days in the role planning my trip to New York in September for SuperReturn North America. I hope to catch up with the contacts I have made over the years and put them in touch with Guernsey for their financial services needs. This will be the first of many regular trips I will make to the United States, mainly to New York, but also occasionally to Miami or Los Angeles.
The focus so far has been on Private Wealth, but we expect other service lines to expand in the coming weeks.
The main challenge I see in taking on this role is changing existing trading habits in the US and getting more intermediaries to use Guernsey. The American business culture differs from that of the United Kingdom and Europe. Their big problems historically are time and cost. US customers have traditionally used geographically convenient jurisdictions, citing ease of synchronization and doing business.
Despite this historic preference for convenience, the tide is turning in the United States’ attention to reputation and regulation, with “blacklisting” being a concern, for example. They care about their reputation more than ever – they are no longer just looking for the easy and cheaper option, but the right option.
The direction of travel suggests that customers want to partner with reputable centers. There are positives to Guernsey far beyond its place on the EU and OECD ‘white list’ of tax compliant jurisdictions, and it is my job to share those positives. Guernsey is also very profitable for what it offers.
It was helpful to have a briefing from Rupert [Pleasant, Guernsey
Finance Chief Executive] when he visited Miami earlier this year for the FPA of Miami International Symposium.
From the relationships he made there, the highlights of Guernsey were its regulatory robustness, bringing substance and international expertise in financial services.
Two areas of particular interest were philanthropy and sustainability. Many were surprised at how far ahead Guernsey was in these spaces and said their local financial centers were not promoting these important issues. These areas are of great importance when wealth is passed between generations.
Another important point was that with more and more families becoming multi-jurisdictional, there is a need for expertise in this area. Practitioners should be aware of regulations and legislation not only in their home jurisdiction, but also in jurisdictions where family members and family assets are located. Since much of the wealth is held in certain US states, it has been felt that local suppliers cannot offer this degree of multi-jurisdictional expertise – Guernsey can.
There is an appetite in the US for deals, and Guernsey has long been seen as a valuable market for the US for its private wealth and fund management expertise. The island is considered a jurisdiction of safety, security and stability, and I look forward to passing this knowledge on to potential US clients.
For more information on Guernsey’s financial sector, please visit www.weareguernsey.com.
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