Representatives from across Jersey’s funds industry came together this month to celebrate the ongoing growth of the sector and discuss key trends shaping the future alternative funds landscape.
More than 400 people from across the industry, including lawyers, service providers, managers and accountants as well as politicians and regulatory representatives, attended this year’s Jersey Funds Association (JFA) Annual Dinner, held at the Trinity Showground on 14th July.
Held each year, the event brings together Jersey’s funds community and serves to highlight key developments and trends in the market and point to the work undertaken by the JFA.
Speaking at the event, Michael Johnson (pictured), JFA Chair, told the audience that it had been another successful year for the funds industry, with the growth in fund managers in the jurisdiction in particular proving to be a critical element of Jersey’s funds infrastructure, against a backdrop of increasing regulation and a growing emphasis on substance.
With figures in early 2023 indicating that the total net asset value of funds under administration in Jersey stood at a record high of more than half a trillion pounds (£523bn), Michael said: “We have a buoyant and active community, both in the funds and the fund manager space. In fact, we see an ever-increasing community of managers fully resident in the island across private equity, hedge funds, venture capital, debt and real estate. These managers are bringing a real depth and diversity to our industry, at a time when substance continues to be high on the agenda.”
Michael pointed in particular to the ongoing success of the Jersey Private Fund structure (JPF), with more than 600 having now been established in total – meaning that the number of JPFs has now overtaken collective investment funds in Jersey for the first time. He added:
“In particular, alternative funds now represent 90% of our total funds business, with private equity and venture capital making up 44% of total funds business undertaken in Jersey. It has created a very stable platform of long-term capital, largely insulated from short term market sentiment.”
However, Michael also urged caution around the potential impact of the ongoing high inflation environment on Jersey’s funds sector, given its weighting towards alternatives, and the need for the industry to embrace innovation in an increasingly complex and uncertain environment: “Recently two-year UK Gilts stood at 5.5% and are expected to surpass 6% in the next year. That’s the benchmark for the risk-free rate – the key hurdle for allocators when determining allocations to portfolios. Not only that but allocators are also contending with the denominator effect, further impeding their sentiment and ability to continue to allocate so freely to closed-ended alternatives. We cannot ignore some significant sectors are likely to be impacted – real estate, a key area of Jersey, being one.
“As we cross the rubicon to a higher interest rate environment, embracing innovation, being agile and looking at our product range to see how we can introduce a wider choice of products and services will be vital. It’s why this year the JFA has established an innovation sub-committee, as we look to gather critical momentum in affirming Jersey’s reputation as forward-thinking, truly innovative funds domicile.”