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Guernsey 'Unaffected By Brexit,' Says Guernsey Finance

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
18 March, 2016

Guernsey has told investors in Asia that Guernsey still offers stability despite uncertainty over whether the UK will remain in the European Union.

The Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance, the promotional agency on behalf of the island's financial services industry internationally, Dominic Wheatley, said that a regular question to emerge from meetings held to coincide with the launch of the promotional agency's new representative office in Hong Kong was how Guernsey would be impacted by a "Brexit." The UK is due to vote on whether to leave the European Union in a referendum on June 23, 2016.

Wheatley said that while there is uncertainty about the UK's relationship with the EU, Guernsey's stable relationships with both is an increasingly important part of the island's offering as an international finance center, along with its continued adherance with the highest international standards in transparency and regulation.

He said: "The people we spoke to in Hong Kong appreciated the fact that Guernsey's position with respect to the EU is very clear – we're a 'third country' now and we'd still be a 'third country' in the event of a 'Brexit.' They understood that there would be no change in our relationship with the EU, regardless of how the UK referendum goes."

Guernsey's Commerce and Employment Minister, Kevin Stewart, who was also in Hong Kong for the office's launch, echoed those sentiments. "Guernsey should be seen as an island of stability during this period of uncertainty. We're already a 'third country' for financial services and have had an established 'third country' relationship with the EU for a considerable time," said Stewart.

"From the meetings I had with businesses in Hong Kong, it was clear that there was significant interest in South East Asia in doing business with Guernsey. Therefore, they were pleased to hear that whatever the referendum result, there would be no change in Guernsey's relationship with the UK, the City of London, or the EU. At this stage we can offer certainty, something that is absolutely vital for business."

Guernsey Finance's Asia Representative, Wendy Weng, and International Business Development Director, Kate Clouston, will use the office as a base from which to carry out further promotional activities concentrated on the wider South East Asian market. It is also being utilized by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) to provide regulatory advice to those in the region who might be considering Guernsey-specific ventures.

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