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Dependencies


FOCUS ON Crown


trust industry must do the same. Among other jurisdictions, Jersey needs to make changes in the coming months if it is to retain its strong position in the global marketplace. It will be competing in a very different world in two years’ time, and regulation changes that take two years to implement are of no use. Private client work is hard-fought, as is UK non-domiciled work; tax- driven structures have changed; all developed economies are putting pressure on the offshore world. We need to reinvent our offerings to remain leading players. Change is important, but timely change is critical. We need to choose the path that we should follow and commit to it, making decisions in a considered but timely fashion, or we’ll miss opportunities. We must understand the need to accommodate (and celebrate) the cultural differences between our potential clients, but we need to do so today or we’ll be beaten to their business by global competitors tomorrow. Not all cultures are the same; not all clients and prospective clients will supply the same information in the same format in a timely fashion. One size definitely does not fit all.


be commercially focused – but at the same time maintain an excellent reputation?


Consolidation will be crucial to success; we are already seeing this in Jersey, and from research carried out and many conversations with those who own businesses, we know that it is set to continue, and not just in Jersey – across the world. The trust business in Jersey is in a different position than it was in times past. It is likely that there will be fewer than 75 affiliation leaders on the island in a couple of years’ time – there are currently more than 100. There also seems to be a trend towards larger, global service providers. This may not be to everyone’s taste, but if that is what the current market requires, then the industry will have to consider changing to suit these requirements. There are benefits of scale (for everyone) to be had from consolidation, as well as the advantages of offering clients a multi- jurisdictional approach. There will always be a place for the boutique trust companies, but consolidation makes a great deal of sense in times of financial recession – it allows companies to pool their resources and save cost. We must adapt with the changing world and actively and speedily


“We will need to continually restructure the way we provide great client service”


Jersey is a highly regulated and respected jurisdiction. Those who wish to work with it and be represented by its professionals need to accept its regulations. We should not reduce our standards – merely adapt them, apply flexibility and be lateral in our thinking. Strong regulation is a clear, marketable and competitive advantage, but it must not be a millstone. Principles-based regulation enables practitioners to meet regulations in a way that they feel is appropriate. However, there are concerns that regulators will disagree with the approach taken, with the result that practitioners apply what may be an overly zealous interpretation of the requirements. No one disagrees with the aims of regulation, but, as we explore different, less well-developed markets, a regulatory approach that encourages consultation would benefit clients, the industry and the regulator, always accepting that it is the practitioner who must make the final decision. The volume of regulation is unremitting, and the difference in regimes across the globe makes consistent excellence difficult. What can and will the regulators do about this? Speed to market is a key part of competitive advantage, but speed does not always appear to be a priority. Why? How do we cut red tape and persuade others that we have to


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change our business models to meet the needs of our clients. To ensure that we offer clients and prospective clients independent, professional and truly added-value services, all of us have to play our part. This means being innovative, creative, thoughtful and dynamic in the services we offer and the way we market ourselves. It also means ensuring our processes and systems are robust enough to stand the test of time. We will need to continually restructure the way we provide great client service, review our efficiencies and consider how we can streamline our businesses. All of this will bring challenges, but with challenges come opportunities for business and for clients. It means thinking beyond tomorrow and not just about tomorrow.


These are different and challenging times. The world continues to shrink and there is no such thing as standing still and hoping for the best. Opportunity comes to those who create it. Have we got a lot more to do to understand what services are needed for the future and how we should price these services? You bet. Change in this area never stops. Three-year plans are great, but three-month actions are far more important. Clients know what they want and when they want it, so it is important that we listen and adapt accordingly. Our market awaits us, but time is of the essence.


CROWN DEPENDENCIES ISLE OF MAN GUERNSEY JERSEY


APRIL 2013 47


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