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Guernsey makes presence felt in Singapore, set for China visit

Guernsey makes presence felt in Singapore, set for China visit

Thursday 14 November 2013

Guernsey makes presence felt in Singapore, set for China visit

MEDIA RELEASE: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not Bailiwick Express, and the text is reproduced exactly as supplied to us

Guernsey has been making its presence felt at the STEP Asia conference in Singapore this week.

Guernsey has been making its presence felt at the STEP Asia conference in Singapore this week.

Guernsey Finance – the promotional agency for the Island’s finance industry internationally – was one of the main sponsors at this year’s event and a number of industry firms with offices in Guernsey were major supporters of the conference and exhibition.

On Wednesday, Russell Clark, Partner at Carey Olsen in Guernsey, spoke twice on Guernsey Foundations to an audience of more than 100 delegates and Marcus Hinkley, Group Partner and Head of the Singapore office for Collas Crill, spoke on private wealth structuring for Asian clients. 

On Thursday, Fiona Le Poidevin, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance, and Jason Romer, Managing Partner of Collas Crill, presented at a breakfast seminar on Guernsey’s innovative image rights law and register.

Miss Le Poidevin said that across the conference there were more than 20 Guernsey attendees from 15 locally-based firms.

“It is very pleasing to see such a strong Guernsey presence; we had the highest visibility at the conference of any of the jurisdictions. I think it is clear to the Asian community how much commitment we are making to this market and the wider Asian region,” she said.

“I have had a lot of positive feedback from those that know us well and those less familiar with Guernsey. It is clear that the advantages of Guernsey’s private wealth offering are being increasingly recognised by Asian clients and their advisers.”

Miss Le Poidevin is also meeting with Channel Islanders now based in Singapore, other local intermediaries – such as lawyers and accountants – and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Following this, she will be joined on a delegation to Beijing and Shanghai by Deputy Peter Harwood, Guernsey’s Chief Minister; Deputy Kevin Stewart, Guernsey’s Commerce and Employment Minister; and William Mason, Director-General of the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC).

Deputy Stewart said: “The finance industry is the main driver of Guernsey's economy so it is important that it thrives both now and in the future. A key ingredient to this success will be ensuring that we have a diverse source of business flows and to this end, it is important that we look beyond our traditional markets to the emerging economies of which China is just one but a very important one.

“Guernsey Finance led the way back in 2007 with the opening of its office in Shanghai and since then we have seen a growing number of locally-based firms expanding their businesses into the region. However, there is still much work to be done and competition is becoming ever fiercer so it is important that we maintain our visibility at all levels.”

The delegation will be in Beijing from Sunday 17 November through to Wednesday 20 November, before heading to Shanghai for further meetings on Thursday 21 November through to Saturday 23 November.

In Beijing, the delegation’s itinerary includes meetings with the major financial services regulators and China’s Ministry of Commerce. The Shanghai leg of the trip will include meetings with the Vice Mayor of Shanghai and the Shanghai Financial Services Office. Meetings are also planned with financial services firms in both Beijing and Shanghai.

Deputy Harwood said: “We have had very productive discussions both in Guernsey and in London with His Excellency Liu Xiaoming, Chinese Ambassador to the UK, and now this delegation allows us to pick up from where our predecessors left off with some of the most influential political and regulatory figures in China. I am particularly looking forward to meeting Tu Guangshao, Vice Mayor of Shanghai, who visited Guernsey in 2008 and has been such a strong supporter over the years.

“Developing long term relationships such as these is critically important if Guernsey is to be seen as a serious player on the international stage and a cooperative part of the global community.”

Since establishing the Island’s representative office in Shanghai at the end of 2007, Guernsey has worked in cooperation with the Chinese authorities in a number of areas.

The Guernsey Government signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with the Chinese central government tax authorities in October 2010, as well as a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Shanghai Financial Services Office in November of the same year. The GFSC signed a Statement of Cooperation with the China Banking Regulatory Commission in November 2011.

The Island has also hosted successive Chinese Ambassadors to the UK on official visits to Guernsey and established a student exchange programme between the Guernsey College of Further Education and a school in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia.

PICTURED L-R: Fiona Le Poidevin, Kevin Stewart and Peter Harwood

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