Financial services capabilities have been at the core of Guernsey’s economic progression over the past 50 years and our credentials encourage overseas investors to come here. But how effectively do we promote the strength of our talent pool as a key reason to do business here?
Finance is a strong part of our economic heritage. Today, we are the number one jurisdiction for non-UK listed entities listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). We are also the first choice in Europe for captive insurance and the captive domicile of choice for 40% of the FTSE 100. Our investment funds sector sees consecutive quarterly growth and we have made a strong name for ourselves as a home to private equity.
These are strong credentials which have developed over many years and, alongside them, a highly skilled financial services workforce has been established. Indeed, at the base level, the capability and experience of individuals working on a fund group are essential to its success. These skills should bolster wider market confidence in what it is we do here so very well.
The quality of our financial services workforce has been nurtured by an accessible training infrastructure, which has contributed strongly to Guernsey’s skillset and expertise. It has indeed helped to fuel the ability of employers to compete globally in the race to create Guernsey’s appeal.
Guernsey offers a range of avenues for individuals to develop incredibly diverse skills in financial services. For people who are considering their first career, financial services may appear like just one option. The reality is quite different. Guernsey’s eclectic finance industry can provide a range of career paths and the opportunity to add multiple strings to the bow.
I have experienced this first hand. I began a work placement in a big four accountancy firm during summer holidays in 2002 and 2003. This transitioned into a graduate placement opportunity and the chance to witness as an auditor what interested me most about the various fund structures and entities that reside in Guernsey.
Post-qualification I decided to embark on a Masters in corporate governance which enabled me to qualify as a chartered secretary at the same time through the affiliation the programme had to ICSA.
Career progression followed alongside this academic route. My interest was drawn to private equity in 2009 when I joined PEA and was appointed managing director in 2014. There is no doubt that my learning and development path gave me the skills I need to fulfil the role that I currently hold.
The training opportunities provided by the GTA and Guernsey BPP are incredibly supportive. Whether you are keen on professional qualifications such as the chartered secretary through ICSA, accountancy through the ACCA, multiple board skills through the IOD Company Direction Programme or academic qualifications such as an MBA or MSc, the options are here on-island.
CPD events make it very easy for professionals to retain the currency of their know-how and the ready local network, enhanced by bodies like GIFA and GACO, make current thinking and guidance easy to access.
Attracting the right employees is crucial to the success of all businesses. As a local employer I see real opportunity in investing in the potential of junior talent – in supporting school leavers and graduates who wish to embark in training in fund administration while gaining work experience in a jurisdiction that has world class regulatory standards and strong product innovation.
The debate about Guernsey’s population challenge, for me, seems to reinforce the importance of our careers marketing. We have a collective role in informing the young about the excellent training opportunities and ready careers that are open for them right now on-island. Here they can train while gaining work experience in a best of breed location that will provide them with a wide pool of options for the future. And they instantly qualify for the work-life balance that draws so many to our beautiful island.
by James Orrick
James holds a Masters in Corporate Governance from Bournemouth University, a BSc (Hons) in Accounting and Finance from the University of Essex, is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.