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Craig Allen, Head of

Investment Management

at Swiss Bank Julius

Baer, provides some

background on the Wealth

Management industry in


The Private Banking and Investment

Management industry in Guernsey has

solid routes in the island dating back to the

1980s. Many of the world’s leading Private

Banks are present, with 23 banking licences

currently in place. Not all of these banks

service the needs of clients living locally,

but several look after the needs of private

individuals, with many of these people

having relocated to the island at some point.

In addition, Guernsey also boasts a thriving

investment management community ranging

from larger UK and global firms to smaller

locally owned businesses.

Competition is therefore healthy and this

typically translates into excellent service

levels, first class investment solutions and

transparent pricing structures. To provide

such services, all investment advisors

need to be authorised and regulated by the

Guernsey Financial Services Commission.

This involves obtaining UK industry

standard qualifications as well as ensuring

continuing professional development

with annual certification. All of this should

ensure that client experience is excellent

and that all investment advisors have a

deep understanding of which products and

solutions are suitable for Guernsey residents.

Of course, with Guernsey well regarded

globally and home to many leading Trust

businesses, private bankers will always fly

in from the UK or from further afield to offer

their services. This further increases the

competitive environment, although the ‘fly

in, fly out’ strategy is rarely successful and

these bankers may not be authorised and

regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services


We are often asked whether our local

thriving wealth management community can

compete with other financial centres such

as London, Zurich or Geneva. For us, the

answer is clearly ‘yes’ and this is for a variety

of reasons.

Firstly, Guernsey is able to attract top level

talent. Many of the people working locally

across the entire finance industry have

had experience further afield, with a stint

in London being on many CVs. Some of

these people have relocated from the UK

when looking for the next career move and

others have either returned to the island

after several years away or have met a ‘local’

and have taken the plunge to relocate as a

couple, often once children are born. The

legal profession is particularly strong in

terms of experience in top tier London firms.

Guernsey is also proud to grow its own

talent and the local schools have produced

excellent results for many years. Almost

everyone in Guernsey appreciates the work/

life balance and typically this results in

happy, motivated staff who are able to work

hard but then leave the office at a sensible

time and commute by foot, bike or by a short

car journey. No-one has to contemplate a

long tube and train ride home.

The second reason why Guernsey competes

on a global scale is actually related to

its size. With one high street, one daily

newspaper and one airport, news of poor

service levels and poor customer experience

spreads quickly. No private banker can

hide away on the 20th floor of an office in

Canary Wharf and this ensures that only the

best managed and most ethical businesses

survive. Most new business comes through

referrals or from local networks and

reputation is paramount. A strong Corporate

Social Responsibility ‘CSR’ commitment is

also expected by staff and clients alike. With

forward thinking companies committed to

the island and staff who have the time and

the energy to participate, Guernsey boasts

a thriving sporting community with excellent

cultural activities relative to its size.

So in summary, clients have a large amount

of choice when selecting their preferred

private banking and investment management

provider on the island. Some clients will

opt for the smaller investment boutiques

and some may prefer to deal with one of

the global private banks with a local office.

All clients will rightly demand personalised

service, excellent reporting, a robust IT

system and investment services that are

suited to their specific needs.

Craig Allen

Head of Investment Management

Julius Baer Guernsey


T 01481 746461