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Optimism in finance sector is 'no surprise'

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Statistics Jersey’s latest Business Tendency Survey showed that a high proportion of firms in the Island’s largest industry reported increased business activity, profitability and jobs growth over the past three months.

More than a fifth of firms surveyed also reported a sense of business optimism during the last quarter.

Geoff Cook, the chief executive of Jersey Finance Ltd – the industry’s marketing arm – said that confidence in the industry was ‘no great surprise’ at this time.

‘Just last week, the latest statistics from the Jersey Financial Services Commission certainly painted a very positive picture for the sector,’ he said.

‘The net asset value of regulated funds under administration grew by £15 billion in the last quarter alone, while banking deposits also grew by almost £6 billion.

‘Couple this with employment figures nearing their highest-ever level and it’s easy to see why there is much positivity. It is worth noting that rises in employment are likely to have a positive knock-on effect for government tax revenues too, which is good for all of us.’

A total of 36 per cent of firms reported increased ‘input costs’, meaning the cost of running their business increased.

A Jersey Finance spokeswoman said, however, that this had been the trend for sometime and the latest figures showed a ‘slight improvement’.

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‘It is no surprise that input costs have increased given that companies have had to fill additional roles in compliance, risk and governance as a result of the global reporting changes, which have been introduced in recent years,’ she said.

‘This is not unique to Jersey. We would expect these costs to level off soon and the fact that the latest figures have improved support this view.’

She added that the otherwise positive figures indicated that Jersey was an attractive place for business due to its ‘high-quality’ services.

‘There will always be a flight to quality and that’s what Jersey represents,’ she said.

‘Its strong reputation, industry expertise, breadth and depth of competitive products and services have significant appeal.

‘Jersey is also, certainly, a desirable place to live. This no doubt helps retain our talented residents on Island as well as attracting high-calibre candidates from further afield.’

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