Significant opportunities exist for Guernsey’s finance industry to further utilise its expertise in India, according to Fiona Le Poidevin, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance – the promotional agency for the Island’s finance industry.
Miss Le Poidevin was speaking after returning from a week-long visit to Mumbai, where she was accompanied by three Guernsey-based financial services practitioners – John Morris from Legis Trust & Corporate Services, Keith Corbin from Nerine Trust Company and Gerald Hough of State Street – as well as her predecessor at Guernsey Finance, Peter Niven, who remains a consultant with the organisation until the end of the year.
“We had a very busy and productive week in Mumbai. It was encouraging to see that India has Guernsey on its radar and that there is a keen interest in what we have to offer in both the investment funds and fiduciary sectors, particularly in terms of fund structuring and wealth management services,” said Miss Le Poidevin.
“The Indian economy is both fascinating and complex. While government growth forecasts, which show a slowdown to 5.3% at the end of September, are concerning those in India, these figures are still attractive to those in the West who are looking to provide inward investment. The country has a population of 1.2 billion, which is expected to rise rapidly over the next decade, and in order to support this increase India needs improved infrastructure such as roads, schools and hospitals. Guernsey has expertise in structuring infrastructure funds and raising capital through the European markets. For example, the India Capital Growth Fund, Indus Gas, Kolar Gold, Skil Ports & Logistics and Mytrah Energy Limited are all Guernsey-incorporated entities which are currently listed on AIM. We hope our track record to date will be an advantage to Guernsey in the future.”
The delegation’s itinerary in India included hosting two dinner debates with local professional advisers. One session focused on the investment funds sector and the second on fiduciary services. Meetings were also held with a number of financial services firms as well as Indian banking groups, business representative organisations and officials from the British High Commission in the city. In addition, the team exhibited at the International Taxation conference – an event attended by nearly 500 delegates. Scott Clayton from Ardel Trust Company was also present at the conference as part of the Guernsey Finance delegation.
Miss Le Poidevin said: “The conference was very well attended and provided a great opportunity to continue spreading the Guernsey message and to build on our contact base. Indeed, the whole trip was a valuable experience, as speaking to people on the ground, including local economists, was extremely useful. India has elections coming up in 2014 and the result will have a significant impact on the country’s future direction. India has recently made the decision to open up its retail sector to foreign direct investment (FDI), which could set a precedent for the future, but that will require the right government and political system.
“The first official delegation from Guernsey visited India in 2010 and since then we have been building relationships and raising our profile in the country. There is now an increased knowledge of what Guernsey can offer, but we recognise that we face increased competition from places such as Singapore, which are already well known in the India market. Having said that, we would like Guernsey to be seen as a hub for European and Western business relating to India, in much the same way as Singapore is viewed for business from the East.”
The Guernsey Government signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with the Indian Government in December 2011.
Category: Finance & Business