Regulation of financial activities in Jersey and Guernsey - YB Case 2024

Regulation of financial activities in Jersey and Guernsey

Regulation of financial activities in Jersey and Guernsey

Brief overview of financial activities in Jersey and Guernsey

The regulation of financial activities in Jersey and Guernsey is characterized by a unique regulatory environment and a wide range of monetary solutions, making these domains attractive for world business and investments. Both islands have their independent legal systems, enabling them to create and implement regulatory standards that address the demands of both the community and world financial standards.

Jersey and Guernsey have long been recognized as significant international financial centers specializing in asset management, banking services, insurance, as well as trust management and company registration services. The islands attract investors and companies with high levels of confidentiality, stable economic and political environments, and competitive tax policies. For instance, they offer low tax rates for corporate and private investors, rendering them attractive for international business.

However, despite their attractive tax conditions, Jersey and Guernsey are not "tax havens" in the classical sense. They proactively participate in international regulatory organizations and play a role in shaping global norms for transparency and the exchange of tax information. This is evidenced by their participation in international agreements and initiatives aimed at combating money laundering and financing of criminal organizations.

The regulatory landscape in Jersey and Guernsey is continually evolving in response to international trends and challenges. Both islands exalt their governing entities – the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) and the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC), which ensure proper oversight and regulation of financial activities. Regulators endeavor to uphold elevated benchmarks in pecuniary solutions while nurturing adaptability and creativity in products and offerings.

In recent years, the influence of international events such as Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted the regulatory environment and operational activities in Jersey and Guernsey. For instance, both islands have tailored their regulatory strategies to guarantee robustness and uphold availability of their monetary offerings to global customers. This has involved the creation of new guidance and policies aimed at minimizing the adverse effects of these events on the financial sphere.

The array of monetary products and services offered in Jersey and Guernsey encompasses investment funds, banking services, insurance, as well as trust and corporate governance services. Special attention is devoted to innovative financial products, such as "green" investments and fintech solutions, highlighting the islands' dedication to fostering a sustainable and accountable financial sector.

Thus, Jersey and Guernsey stand as robust and dynamically evolving financial centers, attracting international investments by virtue of their stability, transparency, and innovative approach to financial services provision.

Historical context

Development of the regulatory framework in Jersey and Guernsey

The evolution of the regulatory framework in Jersey and Guernsey is the culmination of a protracted endeavor aimed at crafting an enticing yet rigorously governed financial milieu. This endeavor encompassed not only adapting to evolving international standards and requirements but also implementing innovations to bolster the growth and advancement of the local monetary sector.

Over the past decades, both jurisdictions have actively pursued adherence to global norms regarding openness and clarity, AML, and countering the financing of criminal organizations. This has entailed the implementation of comprehensive reporting systems, the enhancement of client due diligence and risk management requirements, as well as collaboration with international organizations such as FATF and OECD.

One of the key aspects of developing the regulatory framework in Jersey and Guernsey has been the strengthening of requirements for companies' economic presence. This was aimed at ensuring that companies registered in the islands have genuine business activities and management within their territories. These actions were taken in reaction to global endeavors to combat tax base erosion and profit shifting.

The implementation and updating of regulatory directives have also extended to the realm of financial solutions, comprising banking, insurance, asset management, and investment funds. For instance, new licensing requirements have been developed for financial service providers, and stricter rules have been introduced regarding the management of investment funds to ensure investor protection and maintain elevated benchmarks in governance protocol.

The implementation of FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) and CRS (Common Reporting Standard) requirements marked a pivotal advancement in the regulatory framework, underscoring Jersey and Guernsey commitment to international automatic exchange of tax information principles. These measures are aimed at enhancing the transparency of financial flows and preventing tax evasion.

Effects of global prerequisites and benchmarks

The international regulatory landscape exerts a profound influence on the frameworks governing Jersey and Guernsey. Both jurisdictions prioritize upholding their standing as reputable and transparent financial centers. This commitment necessitates ongoing adjustments and modernization to their regulatory structures, ensuring alignment with international benchmarks and recommendations issued by entities like the FATF and OECD.

International requirements and standards are aimed at strengthening the financial supervisory system, enhancing transparency of corporate structure and ownership, as well as effectively combating money laundering and financing of criminal organizations. In response to these requirements, a series of legislative and regulatory initiatives have been implemented in Jersey and Guernsey.

One key aspect involves the bolstering of disclosure requirements. Both jurisdictions have reinforced regulations concerning the identification of beneficial owners and managers of companies and trusts to guarantee adherence to global norms regarding openness and the sharing of information. This encompasses the establishment of registers of beneficial owners, access to which is granted to competent authorities.

Enhanced requirements on economic presence have also been reinforced, notably following OECD's heightened efforts to combat tax base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS). Consequently, companies engaged in significant economic activities in Jersey or Guernsey must demonstrate adequate local presence, encompassing qualified managerial personnel, key decision-making executed within the islands' jurisdiction, and commensurate operational expenses incurred at the local level.

In the realm of combating money laundering and financing of criminal organizations, Jersey and Guernsey have enacted a suite of measures aimed at fortifying the internal control systems of monetary institutions, imposing stringent KYC requirements, and perpetually monitoring transactions. This is facilitated through rigorous licensing conditions and regular regulatory inspections.

It is important to highlight that Jersey and Guernsey are actively adapting their regulatory practices to incorporate global norms and needs in response to shifts in the international regulatory landscape. Both jurisdictions must regularly evaluate and update their legal and regulatory frameworks in order to ensure compliance with the most recent international needs resulting from the adoption of global standards.

The implementation of global standards for transparency and tax information exchange, like the CRS Agreement's Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) and Exchange of Information on Request (EOIR), has been a crucial step in improving the transparency of financial transactions in Jersey and Guernsey. This indicates that both jurisdictions are actively involved in the international sharing of tax-related information, supporting the worldwide effort to combat tax evasion.

Improving the architecture of AML/CFT is essential. Aiming to prevent the misappropriation of the financial infrastructure of the archipelago, Jersey and Guernsey have strengthened their legal and regulatory frameworks in response to FATF regulations. This entails the implementation of more strict monitoring measures for financial transactions and cross-border movements, in addition to the establishment of client due diligence procedures.

Another significant domain influenced by international requirements is corporate governance. OECD norms and standards in corporate governance necessitate companies operating in Jersey and Guernsey to ensure enhanced clarity in the ownership and managerial framework, as well as to implement effective internal control mechanisms.

Introduction of requirements for economic presence aimed at combating BEPS practices has become another step towards strengthening tax discipline and ensuring that companies engage in genuine economic activities in their jurisdiction of registration. These measures are aimed at halting the utilization of foreign territories exclusively for the aim of tax efficiency without actual business conduct.

Thus, international rules and standards have a complex influence on Jersey and Guernsey's regulatory system, spanning everything from tax transparency to financial crime prevention measures. This indicates the jurisdictions' dedication to upholding international norms and enhancing their standing as trustworthy and ethical global financial centers.

Transparency and information sharing are given top priority by international organizations like the OECD when it comes to taxes. In order to fully engage in global efforts to prevent tax evasion and money laundering, Jersey and Guernsey have made steps to embrace AEOI and EOIR standards.

In order to combat AML/CFT, Jersey and Guernsey have strengthened their legal and regulatory frameworks in compliance with FATF guidelines. This entails enforcing stricter reporting guidelines for financial institutions, improving transaction monitoring, and tightening up on client due diligence processes.

The introduction of economic presence requirements in the field of corporate governance is aimed at ensuring that companies registered in Jersey and Guernsey engage in substantive economic activity. This measure is a counteraction against BEPS practices initiated by the OECD, with the aim of preventing distortions in international tax practices.

The strengthening of regulatory requirements and standards underscores Jersey and Guernsey's dedication to the principles of the global monetary framework, while also maintaining a delicate balance between investor protection and competitiveness as global financial hubs. This helps to further grow and strengthen their position in the global financial arena, assuring adherence to the most rigorous global norms and criteria.

Major regulatory authorities


The JFSC and the GFSC play pivotal roles in regulating financial activities within their respective islands. Both institutions are formed to guarantee a superior standard of safeguarding for investors, maintain trust in financial markets, and promote their resilience and integrity.

JFSC and GFSC are accountable for the oversight of a broad spectrum of financial solutions, encompassing banking, insurance, investment services, also responsible for the enrollment and oversight of trusts and corporations. These authorities develop and implement regulatory policies, standards, and norms aimed at adherence to international best practices and standards.

Founded in 1998, the JFSC diligently works to promote openness in Jersey's financial framework, while also protecting and maintaining the island's standing as a dependable and safe international financial hub. The Commission carries out its duties through processes of authorization, oversight, and, when required, remedial actions.

GFSC, on the other hand, was established in 1987 and has since proven itself as an effective and dynamic regulator, ensuring rigorous yet fair oversight of Guernsey's financial sector. GFSC supervises a broad range of activities, including asset management, banking, insurance, as well as the provision of trust and fiduciary services. It also plays a pivotal role in developing the regulatory framework aimed at strengthening Guernsey's integration into the global financial system.

These regulatory bodies aim to keep the financial system safe, protect people, and stop financial crimes like money laundering. They update their rules to match global standards and adapt to changes in the financial world.

It is also worth noting that both regulators actively collaborate with multinational regulatory and supervisory bodies, as well as participate in international regulatory forums and initiatives. This cooperation fosters the exchange of experiences and best practices, as well as the development of common approaches to regulation and supervision on a global scale.

The JFSC and GFSC also serve as linchpins in upholding global benchmarks for transparency and fair dealing, encompassing the execution of initiatives to counter money laundering and terrorist financing. Regulatory bodies undertake periodic scrutiny and evaluations of the operations of financial institutions in Jersey and Guernsey to guarantee that their activities not only conform to domestic regulations but also adhere to international best practices.

Regulatory bodies continually refine their regulatory frameworks and procedures to foster innovation and development in financial technologies, while simultaneously ensuring a superior degree of safeguarding for every market participant. This entails adapting regulatory approaches to new products and services, such as cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies, which necessitates a deep understanding of both technical aspects and potential risks.

Overall, the activities of JFSC and GFSC are pivotal in upholding high standards within the financial sectors of Jersey and Guernsey, thereby nurturing their eco-friendly progress and bolstering their global reputation of both domains as reliable and transparent monetary centers.

Impact of Brexit on regulation

Post-Brexit legislative modifications

After Brexit, the legislation of Jersey and Guernsey underwent revisions, given their status as British Crown Dependencies, enabling them to autonomously regulate their domestic affairs, encompassing taxation and judicial systems. However, Brexit has impacted their interaction with the EU, particularly concerning the trading of goods and financial services.

Following the cessation of Protocol 3, which granted the islands access to the EU Single Market for goods (excluding services), Jersey and Guernsey no longer enjoy the benefits of the UK's membership in the EU. This entails that goods directly imported from the EU will necessitate appropriate customs declarations and may be subject to customs duties. Particularly impacted is the fisheries sector, a significant portion of whose exports were directed to France.

In the realm of financial services, Brexit has not exerted a direct impact on Jersey and Guernsey, as they were already regarded as "third countries" concerning financial services for the EU. This status will persist post-Brexit. The islands continue to maintain a strong degree of regulatory cooperation with the EU, covering domains such as sanctions and financial services.

Jersey and Guernsey have their own data protection laws similar to the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). They're considered to have a high enough level of data protection by the EU, so data can flow freely between them and the EU without extra measures. This arrangement is expected to continue even after Brexit.

Following the completion of the transitional phase, the UK has become an independent trading partner with the EU, making all previous trade agreements worthless. In order to ensure reciprocal benefits between itself and foreign nations, the UK has extended a number of current free trade agreements. Jersey and Guernsey will benefit from all the aforementioned accords as well as tariffs under most favored nation status granted to the islands by the United Kingdom's WTO participation.

In the wake of Brexit, while the legal and economic landscape of Jersey has undergone certain modifications, both regions have clearly maintained a strong level of cooperation and compliance with regulatory frameworks following global standards and regulations established by the EU. This is achieved while safeguarding their distinctive constitutional and economic ties with the United Kingdom.

Interaction with the European Union and Great Britain

The relationship between Jersey, Guernsey, the European Union, and the United Kingdom remains a cornerstone of their international trade and economic activity, especially considering the ramifications of Brexit. Historically, the islands were controlled by the British "crown," which indicated an autonomous connection to the British monarchy rather than a formal tie with the UK Parliament or government, and they functioned as Crown Dependencies, operating outside the authority of the United Kingdom. This allowed Guernsey and Jersey to run their own internal affairs, including taxation and judicial systems, but the UK continued to represent the islands abroad, particularly in the EU.

In the context of the EU, Jersey and Guernsey had enjoyed limited benefits of UK membership through Protocol 3, allowing the islands to participate in the Single Market for goods but not services. However, with Brexit and the conclusion of Protocol 3, the islands ceased to benefit from these advantages. Now, the interaction of the islands with the EU is determined by a new framework where they are considered "third countries". Notwithstanding this, Jersey and Guernsey continue to foster robust economic and regulatory linkages with the EU. This is evidenced by their adherence to tax information exchange accords and the enactment of legislation mirroring EU benchmarks in specific domains.

Relationship building with the UK is still crucial even after the country left the EU. Employee mobility between the islands and the UK is nevertheless made easier by the Common Transport Area Agreement. This accord enables citizens from both regions to travel and engage in professional activities within these jurisdictions with minimal impediments. Furthermore, the islands prioritize the preservation and advancement of economic ties with the UK, particularly regarding merchandise trade and the financial services sector, given the critical role the British market plays in the islands' economic well-being.

The islands are also actively engaged in preserving and adapting existing mechanisms of interaction with the EU and the UK to the new post-Brexit conditions, including negotiations on new trade agreements and arrangements that may replace or supplement the benefits of mutual trade and data exchange.

Both islands have enacted legislation based on the EU's GDPR to show their dedication to upholding stringent regulations for the protection of personal data and facilitating secure data exchanges with the EU. The above statement suggests that they are prepared to adhere to international norms and maintain their status as "countries with an adequate level of protection" in order to enable cross-border data transfers between Guernsey and Jersey.

Jersey and Guernsey are adjusting to Brexit by changing their trade and regulations, aiming for good relationships with the UK and EU. They're also looking for new opportunities globally.

Regulation of economic presence (substance)

Economic substance rules for partnerships in Jersey

The Economic Substance (Taxation of Partnerships) Law 2021 introduced rules governing economic presence requirements for partnerships in Jersey, effective from 1 July 2021. These rules mandate that partnerships engaged in specific activities and generating income from said activities must exhibit tangible economic presence within the jurisdiction. The specified activities pertain to those readily transferable to alternative jurisdictions, encompassing fund management, financial, and leasing activities.

The primary requisites for economic presence encompass stewardship of partnership in Jersey, requiring the overseeing authority of the alliance to assemble on the island regularly, with most of its members attending such meetings in person. Additionally, the strategic decision-making must be carried out in Jersey, and all records of these decisions must be stored on the island. Additionally, the collaboration should uphold sufficient levels of staff, outlays, and holdings in Jersey corresponding to its operations.

If the partnership fails to meet these requirements, penalties may be imposed. For instance, breaching the economic presence requirements could result in fines of up to £10,000 per financial period. In the event of repeat offenses, the penalty may escalate to £50,000 multiplied by the number of prior notifications plus one. Moreover, the tax authority in Jersey must exchange details regarding violations with authorities in each jurisdiction where the dominant partner, dominant partner's ultimate parent company, and partnership's ultimate beneficial owner hold sway.

A transitional period was in place for partnerships formed before July 1, 2021, ending on January 1, 2022, to provide them time to adjust to the new specifications. These rules are intended to ensure that revenue-generating operations that are categorized as "relevant activities" inside Jersey are carried out effectively. This, in turn, aligns with global initiatives aimed at combating tax avoidance and fostering an equitable allocation of tax receipts.

Operational and management requirements

The economic substance requirements for partnerships and entities operating in Jersey are designed to guarantee a substantial portion of their core business activities occur within the jurisdiction. This translates to critical functions and strategic decision-making residing within Jersey, necessitating a robust management presence, qualified personnel, and adequate resource allocation.

Management and decision-making:
The governing body of a partnership or corporation must convene meetings in Jersey on a frequent enough basis in order to fulfill the basic need for governance. These meetings are intended to deliberate on strategic decisions pertaining to critical operational elements, and most members of the directing body must be present in person for these sessions. Jersey must preserve records of decisions and documentation, highlighting the presence's dual nature as a functional and physical entity.
Availability of qualified personnel:
Furthermore, a crucial aspect pertains to the presence of adequate and qualified personnel on the island, capable of executing the requisite activities and making corresponding decisions. This requirement implies that organizations must have at their disposal or engage such personnel directly in Jersey, thereby affirming their operational presence and involvement in the island's economy.
Resources and operating costs:
The requisites also include having sufficient operational expenses and physical resources associated with activities in Jersey. This entails organizations demonstrating the possession of appropriate infrastructure, including office spaces, equipment, and technologies necessary for conducting their business on the island. The size and scope of this infrastructure must correspond with the scale and intensity of the carried out activities.

These requirements for activity and management serve as the foundation for ensuring compliance with legislation on economic presence. The objective is to ensure that entities engaging in significant economic activity in Jersey do so with genuine physical and operational presence, thus aiding the regional financial system and adhering to global norms in tax conformance and openness.

‘Green’ investments and sustainable development

With the introduction of the Guernsey Green Fund (GGF), initiatives and requirements for "green" investments in Guernsey have been significantly reinforced. This system has been devised to afford investors the assurance that their investments contribute to the attainment of positive environmental outcomes and the support of planetary sustainability. The GGF prioritizes rigorous environmental, social, and governance standards within its investment strategy and is committed to generating a sustainable environmental benefit.

For attaining GGF status, a fund must adhere to specific criteria outlined in the Guernsey Green Fund Rules. These criteria encompass meeting designated "green" standards approved by the GFSC. Funds may select from a roster of standards published by the GFSC, enabling them to flexibly address requirements for "green" investments.

The process of applying for GGF status includes submitting a notification of intent to attain this status, furnishing the final version of the fund prospectus, along with declarations of conformity to the selected "green" criteria. Additionally, the fund must provide supplementary information as requested by GFSC. Processing of the GGF status application depends on the fund type and may take up to five days following the notification submission.

To validate adherence to "green" criteria, the fund must obtain certification through one of two methods: either via a declaration from an appointed administrator or through an independent third party confirming alignment of the prospectus with the chosen "green" standards. This ensures transparency and investor confidence that the fund genuinely invests in compliance with recognized "green" criteria.

The usage of the GGF logo is permitted solely in connection with funds officially recognized by the GFSC as GGF, and must adhere to the guiding principles of brand usage established by the GFSC. This ensures that the GGF logo is employed accurately and does not mislead investors.

Overall, initiatives and requirements for "green" investments in Guernsey demonstrate the island's commitment to advancing sustainable development and providing investors with transparent and reliable opportunities for "green" investments.


The article examines various aspects of regulating financial activities in Jersey and Guernsey, as well as the adaptation of these requirements in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the peculiarities of "green" investments in Guernsey. Regulatory bodies in both domains have actively responded to global requirements and standards, as well as external challenges, making changes to legislation and practices to maintain a high level of transparency, investor protection, and support for sustainable development.

Special attention in the article is devoted to the requirements for economic presence for partnerships in Jersey, which have been adapted to conform to global standards and ensure substantive business conduct within the jurisdiction. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on regulatory requirements is considered, including modification of the compliance and risk management protocols, as well as the intensified use of digital technologies to ensure the continuity of financial institutions' operations.

"Green" investments in Guernsey underscore the island's commitment to bolstering global efforts to combat climate change and promote sustainable development through the financial sector. The GGF represents a pivotal initiative aimed at attracting investments into environmentally sustainable projects, while ensuring transparency and fostering investor trust in "green" investment products.

In conclusion, Jersey and Guernsey demonstrate an adaptive approach to regulating financial activities, actively responding to evolving international environments and external challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Their efforts to promote "green" investments underscore a commitment to sustainable development and attracting private capital to address global environmental issues.

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