Guernsey’s financial services industry was born in the 1970s and has grown to become the main driver of the island’s economy, employing around 40% of the working age population both directly and in supporting industries such as law and accounting.  
As more jurisdictions enter the financial services market, it is more important than ever that Guernsey is able to compete in a fiercely competitive global landscape. That is why the sector has its own promotional agency for financial services – Guernsey Finance. But what does it do, how is it funded and who does the agency answer to? GF’s Chief Executive Rupert Pleasant answers these questions and more.What is Guernsey Finance?
A: Guernsey Finance was created as a joint government and industry initiative with the purpose of promoting and connecting our financial services offering in our chosen target markets. The main pillars of Guernsey’s industry are comprised of funds, private wealth, insurance, pensions and banking. Guernsey is also at the forefront of sustainable finance, which runs as a ‘golden thread’ through each of these pillars. 
The agency conducts research, marketing, communications and business development on behalf of its members from Guernsey and overseas, with representatives also employed in our key markets globally. These are currently the UK, the US, South Africa and the Middle East.
Guernsey Finance’s role is to raise and maintain the profile of Guernsey’s entire finance sector and its products and services. The agency seeks to strengthen the economy for Guernsey’s population by ensuring that the core activities and values of the finance sector are known among the global community, ensuring business flows are maintained, but most importantly enhanced.What is its value to the island’s overall economy?
A: Guernsey’s financial services sector remains the key driver of the island’s economy, employing around 5,500 people – almost a fifth of its workforce, with an estimated further 16% employed in supporting industries such as accountancy, law, audit and other professional services. 
Financial services in Guernsey is worth £1.3 billion to the economy, which is more than the next 10 industries combined, representing 60% of GVA (gross value added).
The financial services sector provides an excellent standard of living for those working in the industry -and more importantly the wider population – who benefit from the contribution the financial services sector makes to the overall economy. It is therefore paramount that this industry is maintained, with provision to continue building on that success. This high value industry can continue to provide much needed tax revenue and economic growth in the backdrop of service cutting and tight budgets.
Other sectors such as retail and hospitality also rely on a successful finance industry. We know that Guernsey would look very different from the island we know today if the finance industry was diminished or reduced. Therefore, it is critically important to ensure that it can continue to flourish.
Financial services companies that operate in Guernsey also provide value at community level, through initiatives such as sponsorship of local events and sports teams, conservation efforts or the arts. In addition, many charities benefit via organisations’ Corporate Social Responsibility programs such as beach cleans or providing person power to assist charitable organisations with projects such as renovations etc.Why does the finance sector need a promotional body?
A: While individual firms will conduct their own marketing initiatives, Guernsey Finance is the only agency which promotes the entire financial sector on behalf of the island. This is especially important as many larger international firms do not favour one jurisdiction over another.
As mentioned earlier, financial services, and supporting sectors such as legal and accountancy, are the driving force of Guernsey’s economy. In order to protect and grow the sector – and continue to enjoy the benefits it brings to the whole community – it is imperative that our voice is not lost in an increasingly noisy and competitive marketplace which would result in a significant loss of market share.
Guernsey Finance’s role is to raise and maintain the profile of the finance industry and its products and services. This is challenging because competition grows ever fiercer and it is imperative that Guernsey’s excellent messages can be heard in a crowded international marketplace.
Add to that challenge the possibility of a global recession/slowdown, with challenging markets for the insurance and funds sectors, there is now a much more difficult fundraising environment to sustain our financial services industry. In short, there are many factors which have the potential to harm Guernsey’s future prosperity.
Finally, we also act as a shield when there may be miscommunication or misunderstanding in the benefit of our financial services industry and where people or organisations outside of the Bailiwick question our right to do business. We seek to redress the balance, inform and educate.What does the agency do?
A: The agency is based in Guernsey and employs 22 people on-island, with Business Development representatives deployed in the United States, South Africa, the Middle East and the United Kingdom. It hosts events, conducts marketing, delivers communications and business development activity on behalf of its members across the Guernsey financial services industry.
We work closely alongside industry to create an annual strategy to promote each segment of financial services, so everything we do is in alignment with industry’s objectives. 
Below is a list of some of the work the agency carries out. It is not exhaustive but gives a good overview of what we do:Commission in-house and independent research. Recent examples include a report from independent consultants Frontier Economics, which is currently researching the value of the Guernsey financial services industry to the United Kingdom’s economy.The agency produces technical literature that is part of an essential toolkit for our business development representatives working overseasWe have a commercial arrangement with the Financial Times and produce 10 articles per year that in 2022 delivered more than 28,000 page views and more than 1.7 million marketing impressions. We have two podcast channels, featuring guests at the very top of their profession and which have a growing audience of listeners. The total number of downloads across both channels achieved a 420% increase year on year from 2022 to 2023 and our Sustainable Finance Guernsey podcast remains in the top 10 of useful podcasts by Green Finance Guide. We produce flagship events for industry, such as Funds Forum, Sustainable Finance Week and Private Wealth Forum. By inviting well-known guests such as Sir Trevor McDonald and Steve Backshall to deliver keynote addresses, we increase the appeal and engagement of these events. We also secure well respected industry figures such as Ben Goldsmith, who travelled to Guernsey to give a keynote address at this year’s Sustainable Finance Week. We also host technical masterclasses, to add real value to those who attend.We also sponsor events such as the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) conferences and those that are specific to the insurance industry such as AIRMIC, the Association of Insurance and Risk Managers in Industry and Commerce.The agency’s business development representatives attend events and meetings with the aim of raising awareness of Guernsey’s specialist financial services industry and encouraging new business to establish itself in the island.How much does it cost each year to operate? 
Guernsey Finance receives core funding of £1.5m per year, plus an additional £1m in enhanced funding from the States of Guernsey. In recognition that it is a key beneficiary, industry also makes a contribution to Guernsey Finance’s operational costs which have recently increased to £1.1 million for 2024 and onwards.What is the money spent on?
The funding is spent in four main areas: strategy and research, PR and communications, marketing and events and business development Who does Guernsey Finance report to?
Guernsey Finance is answerable to its Board of Directors, which is made up of representatives from its two key stakeholders, the States of Guernsey and the Guernsey International Business Association. We have robust corporate governance in place and provide comprehensive and transparent reporting to our stakeholders each quarter. We also have challenging targets and key performance indicators that are analysed and reviewed each quarter.What will happen if GF’s funding is cut?
Should the decision be made not to continue with allocating its enhanced funding, Guernsey Finance’s activities will be significantly curtailed. This will be across all areas, so there will be no more commissioning of research papers or commercial arrangement with the Financial Times and the visibility of Guernsey across the business world will be greatly reduced. The business development team’s activities will be cut from certain jurisdictions and events will be smaller and therefore more difficult to market. 
£1m is a significant amount of money and although it’s considerably less that most of our competitors receive to promote their financial service industries, careful budgeting and clever targeting of that enhanced funding enables Guernsey Finance to compete with other International Finance Centres on a more level playing field. Competition is fierce and we must ensure our voice is heard in that noisy marketplace. What recent successes has GF had?
Since enhanced funding was granted to Guernsey Finance in 2021, we have achieved some significant wins, including: Winner of best IFC of the year at the International Investment awards 2022Winner of European Domicile of the Year at the European Captive Review of the Year awards 2022Winner of IFC of the Year at the Citywealth IFC Awards 2023Guernsey overtook Luxembourg in 2023 to become Europe’s premier jurisdiction for captive insurance. 
In addition, two new investment managers have set up in Guernsey and licenses have been approved for a new trust company and a new bank.

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Guernsey Finance

Guernsey Finance - the promotional agency for the island's finance industry internationally - is a joint industry and Government initiative responsible for the promotion of Guernsey. Under the leadership of Chief Executive Dominic Wheatley, the agency ensures that the core values and competencies of Guernsey's finance sector are accepted and respected by the global community and that financial business development flows are enhanced to the island.