The Vice Mayor of Shanghai has recognised the quality and stability of Guernsey’s financial services industry.
Tu Guangshao voiced his support for Guernsey as a well-regulated, compliant and cooperative international finance centre recognising the island’s “great achievements in financial regulation and development” during meetings in Shanghai last week with a Guernsey delegation, which included the island’s Chief Minister, Peter Harwood.
Harwood (pictured) says: “To receive this endorsement from Tu Guangshao, Vice Mayor of Shanghai, is very welcome. It reaffirms the strong relationship the Island has developed over time with the Vice Mayor since he first visited Guernsey in 2008, shortly after we opened our representative office in Shanghai at the end of 2007.
“As well as recognising our achievements in financial regulation and development, the Vice Mayor also reiterated that Guernsey and China have shared great cooperation with each other in recent years. This relationship is something we are both eager to build on in the future, particularly at a time when Shanghai has taken the decision to establish a pilot free trade zone in the city. The pilot free trade zone formed a major part of our discussions and presents a great opportunity for Guernsey businesses.”
As well as Harwood, the Guernsey delegation comprised Kevin Stewart, Guernsey’s commerce and employment minister; William Mason, director general of the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC); Fiona Le Poidevin, chief executive of Guernsey Finance – the promotional agency for the island’s finance industry internationally; and Wendy Weng, Guernsey Finance’s representative in Shanghai. Also attending was Alan Chick, chairman of Richmond Fiduciary Group, who opened an office in Shanghai at the end of last year which is headed by Zhang Jing.
In addition to meeting with the Vice Mayor, the delegation’s itinerary in Shanghai included meetings with industry associations, financial services firms and the Shanghai Financial Services Office. The party also met with Brian Davidson, consul general at the British Consulate-General in Shanghai, and held a press conference which was attended by 20 Chinese journalists.
These meetings followed the Beijing leg of the delegation where Mason signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) and reaffirmed the GFSC's commitment to a similar agreement signed with the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) in 2011. Further meetings in Beijing took place with the Asset Management Association of China (AMAC), the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) and Dr Catherine Raines, minister of the British embassy and director general for UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) in China.
Le Poidevin says: “We’ve had an extremely productive week in China, cementing our relationships with previous contacts and creating new ones across Beijing and Shanghai. Politicians and representatives from the GFSC have joined us on past China delegations, but this most recent trip was the first time for these individuals in their current roles. It was very important that they were able to build on the relationships already established by their colleagues and predecessors.
“The trip was also very timely as changes in China, such as the pilot free trade zone in Shanghai and further liberalisation of the Chinese economic system in general, are presenting increased opportunities for inward and outward investment. This is something Guernsey is perfectly placed to take advantage of as a leading international finance centre that can act as a gateway between China and the wider capital markets.
“Indeed, UK Chancellor George Osborne and Mayor of London Boris Johnson visited China last month and UK Prime Minister David Cameron is coming early next month on another major trade delegation to cultivate closer trade and business relationships. This demonstrates that we held our own delegation at an opportune time as awareness begins to spread that China is opening up and recognising the need for both inward and outward investment.”