CEO insight sits down with Senator Lyndon Farnham, Minister for Economic Development, Sport, Tourism and Culture (EDTSC), Government of Jersey
Henry Martin: How does Jersey attract new businesses to the island?
Senator Lyndon Farnham: Jersey’s government has a dedicated team responsible for inward investment that sits within my department (EDTSC) – Locate Jersey.The team focuses on two areas – businesses and High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) – and provides comprehensive, confidential and free advice to help those individuals and companies through the process of relocating to Jersey.
HM: What is the trend for enquiries this year?
SLF: We’ve seen steadily rising interest in Jersey as a place to relocate to, or establish a Global headquarters in, over recent years. Last year the team received more than 250 enquiries from individuals and businesses, with 42 applications being approved. This year we are actually seeing an increase in enquiries and to date we have seen more enquiries than in 2016.
HM: Where’s that growth coming from?
SLF: The focus is very much on diversification, and firms in a broad cross-section of sectors now call Jersey home, including mining and natural resources, digital, FinTech, e-commerce, fund management and luxury goods. In particular, the digital sector is a growth area, thanks to a pro-business government that is placing technology at the centre of its strategy. The extractive industry is rapidly growing too - there are now more than 20 firms active in this area in Jersey with a management and executive presence. We’ve also seen a spike in asset managers moving to Jersey, and the island is now the sixth largest hub globally for hedge fund managers.
"In particular, the digital sector is a growth area, thanks to a pro-business government that is placing technology at the centre of its strategy."
HM: What’s driving this growth?
SLF: There are a number of contributing factors. The fact that Jersey offers some of the lowest, simplest and most straightforward direct taxes in Europe is certainly a contributing factor. Businesses and individuals like that no-nonsense approach. However, it’s part of a wider package. People are increasingly seeing, for instance, that Jersey acts as a safe and stable environment to establish a presence, which is particularly poignant against the backdrop of uncertainty elsewhere. Jersey is not part of the EU or the UK. However, we have strong connections to both the UK and Europe, and considerable experience working with overseas markets spanning North America, Africa, Asia and the GCC. Our world class financial and professional services providers, together with our robust and progressive legislative and regulatory frameworks, make us an attractive prospect for many internationally-minded businesses.
HM: How does the High Net Worth strand of Jersey’s inward investment strategy work?
SLF: Our High Value Residency programme is an important part of our inward investment proposition, and it’s actually not completely separate from our business strand. The focus is on HNWI who are economically active. That means that they may bring their existing businesses with them or may become involved in business once they have moved to the island. That being the case, family frequently becomes part of the relocation decision, and Jersey stands out against other options – it offers a safe environment, good health and education services and an outdoor lifestyle with stunning beaches, coastlines and countryside.
HM: Looking to the future, how do you see Jersey evolving as an inward investment destination?
SLF: The way Jersey has positioned itself as a secure and stable jurisdiction that is very much open for business has reaped real rewards in recent times and I would expect these qualities to move up the agenda of business executives in the coming years. A low tax base is attractive, but businesses need more than that – expertise, stability, service excellence and innovation will be critical for internationally dynamic businesses going forward and Jersey is more than able to meet those demands.