Guernsey's intention to operate a dual regime for the distribution of funds into both EU and non-EU countries in response to the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD), has been met positively by fund managers in the US.
A funds delegation from Guernsey has returned from the US after attending the International Bar Association
(IBA) conference in Boston and holding a series of meetings with fund managers, lawyers, accountants and brokers in New York City and Boston.
Fiona Le Poidevin, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance - the promotional agency for the Island's finance industry, led the delegation and was joined by Guernsey industry practitioners Gavin Farrell from Mourant Ozannes, Patricia White of Legis Fund Services and PwC's Evelyn Brady. Caroline Chan from Ogier joined the team for the IBA conference.
Miss Le Poidevin said attendance at the IBA conference and the trip as a whole had presented a great opportunity to update US contacts with the latest details of the Island's dual regime ahead of the EU introducing a new regulatory regime under the terms of the AIFMD on 22 July.
"The IBA Conference was very well attended. The event had some very relevant panel sessions, particularly on the subject of AIFMD which is a hot topic in the US for anyone with EU investors or those considering the EU market. AIFMD is one of the reasons why we have received more enquiries from US fund managers over the past couple of years and a key part of why we embarked on this US delegation," said Miss Le Poidevin.
"People were extremely interested to learn about our forthcoming dual regime and how we are perfectly placed to service US fund managers under AIFMD. Guernsey's position of being a European domicile but not part of the EU, couple with our dual regime which will allow us to continue to distribute our funds to both EU and non-EU countries, means that we will be uniquely positioned as an international funds centre and an ideal domicile for US fund managers.
"The good links that Guernsey and the US have shared in the past are also important. For example, a major factor behind Guernsey's rise as a leading centre for private equity was when one of the largest US private equity houses, Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts (KKR) & Co. L.P., established a fund in Guernsey which listed on Euronext Amsterdam. At the time it was particularly innovative and extremely significant in raising awareness among US managers of Guernsey's capacity to act as a gateway to listing vehicles on European stock exchanges.
"Managers in the US also appreciate our close links to the City of London, specifically the London Stock Exchange (LSE) where aside from the UK itself Guernsey is home to more entities listed across the LSE markets than any other jurisdiction globally."
Miss Le Poidevin said US practitioners were also keen to understand more about Guernsey's offering in private equity, real estate funds, debt funds and hedge funds.
"There were varying degrees of knowledge about Guernsey as a fund domicile. While we have a number of high profile US fund managers such as Apollo, BC Partners, HarbourVest and Starwood, there is still a good deal of work to do in raising Guernsey's profile because those in the Americas will often gravitate towards the Caribbean jurisdictions for their fund structuring requirements, but increasingly they are looking at alternatives. The way we have embraced AIFMD and been clear about our dual regime demonstrates how the Island adopts the very highest standards - something I believe managers are after in the current economic climate."
Before visiting New York City and Boston, Miss Le Poidevin also spent time in Miami holding a series of meetings with legal advisers, accountants and other professional advisers to the wealth management sector and was joined by Michael Betley from Trust Corporation for the STEP Miami conference.
This most recent visit to the US follows on from Guernsey Finance leading a delegation to attend last year's private equity funds conference SuperReturn USA in Boston and the agency spearheading a team representing the Island at the private wealth STEP LatAm conference in Panama at the end of 2011.
Miss Le Poidevin said: "I am looking forward to building on the work we have achieved during the last couple of years so that we can make sure that we are doing our utmost to attract quality business from across the other side of the Atlantic, whether it is investment or fiduciary, North or South America."
For more information about Guernsey's finance industry please visit www.guernseyfinance.com
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Ms Fiona Le Poidevin
PO Box 655
St Peter Port