Guernsey’s Chief Minister questions onshore/offshore divide

Guernsey’s Chief Minister questions onshore/offshore divide

Guernsey’s Chief Minister Lyndon Trott has told a major London conference that the island should not be “dismissively” compartmentalised as an offshore centre.

He was speaking at The Future of Onshore and Offshore Financial Centres Conference alongside Jeffrey Owens, director of the Centre for Tax Policy and Administration at the OECD, and Michael Foot, chairman of the Promontory Financial Group and author of the recent HM Treasury commissioned report into the British Crown Dependencies and overseas territories.

The Chief Minister said the onshore/offshore distinction was outmoded in the modern globalised economy.

Instead he highlighted the island’s position in the Global Financial Centres Index, in which Guernsey was ranked 15th in the world.

“For a small island with a population of 62,000 people that’s something we are immensely proud of.  Although we are small in terms of land mass and population – we punch above our weight,” said Trott. 

“That places us in the top bracket of what are referred to as offshore finance centres – and ahead of so-called onshore centres such as Luxembourg and Dublin.”

Trott said it was a reflection of the island’s mix of talent, independence and natural assets and maturing financial services industry, and also a reflection of an important and increasingly-recognised link to the City of London.

The recently-published Foot Review into British Offshore Financial Centres showed that in the second quarter of this year UK banks received more than USD330bn from Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man. The year of the financial crisis of 2008 saw the level of net financing provided from Guernsey to the City to be around 40 per cent higher on average than just two years beforehand.

Trott said the independent verification of this figure was helping to change perceptions of the island’s role in the international financial system and its relationship with the UK.

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