We should of course encourage diversification where possible, but we must realise that the finance sector will remain Guernsey’s economic mainstay for the foreseeable future. On it depends a vast swathe of ancillary enterprises from IT, legal and accountancy to construction, hospitality, retail and transport. Moreover, the finance sector itself often acts as the foundation for diversification – for example, by stimulating “fintech” software development, by fostering innovations in the creative industries, and by promoting new ventures in leisure, hospitality and catering.
For all these reasons, Guernsey’s financial services sector needs our wholehearted protection and support.
But happily, the foundations are sound, and we have much already to be proud of.
Guernsey is already adopting and even taking the lead on the proper standards for
- beneficial ownership information: making verified information available to those who need to know and a pledge to align with EU standards
- tax compliance: exchange of information, demonstrating economic substance. This is proof if ever it were needed that we are not a letterbox company jurisdiction and do not tolerate brass-plate operations.
We are well on the way to becoming a centre of expertise for environmental sustainability and green finance, endorsing the EU green taxonomy, pioneering the GFSC-regulated Green Fund and leading on green finance at the British-Irish Council.
Guernsey Finance already recognise the need to mobilise more investment into green funds and green insurance. We need to build on existing achievements and send the message far and wide: we are the domicile of choice for the green finance wave.
The Future Guernsey Plan aims to embed the UN Sustainable Development Goals into economic activity, and it recognises the need to practise what we preach locally as well as pursue green finance internationally. This is essential if we are to avoid accusations of “greenwashing”.
There is no better opportunity to stimulate growth, aid recovery, and manage the environmental transition than by funding sustainable infrastructural improvements at home while building our green finance capacity abroad.