Guernsey's finance industry is poised to forge closer links with the Far East.
GuernseyFinance representatives will make two trips to Shanghai and Hong Kong this year, to build on the strong connections already established there.
The need for Guernsey to focus on emerging business opportunities in the Chinese region was highlighted by senior representatives of the main sectors of the financial services industry at meetings chaired by GuernseyFinance chief executive Peter Niven.
'Over the last 12 months we have consulted with the finance industry and asked for their input on where our business development focus should be. Shanghai and Hong Kong are China's major financial centres and the industry is particularly interested in exploring opportunities in these areas,' says Niven. 'There has already been some interest from the Chinese in using Guernsey as a conduit for the country's fund management business into Europe and some Guernsey financial institutions also have links to expatriates living in China as well as wealthy Chinese nationals.'
Niven will be travelling to the Far East in May when he will establish a series of contacts and lay plans for a visit by a larger Guernsey delegation, including industry representatives and politicians, later in the year.
'As we began to consider the prospect of China more seriously we became aware of an increasing number of connections and synergies with the region. Historically business has come to Guernsey from Hong Kong and there are existing business relationships, for example, the Walbrook Group has just acquired an office there,' he adds.
Among the Guernsey people with established links in the region are Stuart Pinnell, the Director of Business Development at the Commerce and Employment Department, who worked in China for some years and formerly ran the Pudong Shangri-La Hotel in Shanghai. In addition, Advocate John Langlois has non-financial connections with China, which GuernseyFinance is hoping to build on, as a springboard into the business arena.
Peter Neville, Director General of the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, also recognised opportunities in the Chinese region, following meetings with regulators there last year.