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Jersey centre in talks with DIFC

posted on 02/11/2002: 727 views

Jersey's International Finance Centre is seriously considering working closely with Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), with a view to shifting some of its back office facilities to DIFC, "Gulf News” reported yesterday. The Finance Minister of Jersey, the Channel Islands, Frank Walker, who has concluded a seven-day visit of the UAE with a 30-plus delegation, said he had touched upon this issue with DIFC officials. "Jersey is a tiny place admeasuring 45 sq. kilometres, and space is really a constraint. On the other hand, DIFC has enough land and space at its disposal and hence I believe some of the back office functions can be shifted from Jersey to DIFC, provided the DIFC management is keen about the same," Frank Walker said. Walker was full of praise for DIFC, which is working hard to formulate an impeccable legal and regulatory framework for the centre.

He believes that Dubai can derive advantage from the fact that it is going to take off with a clean slate and is in a position to absorb all the proven good elements from the other financial centres the world over. He pointed out that US$11 billion in deposits is held in Jersey from the UAE. "This doesn't include trust funds or investment products, which would be substantial in any terms," Walker added. He also said that altogether over US$300 billion is invested in or through Jersey from all over the world - financial services accounting for almost 60 per cent of the island state's economy. Walker pointed out that Jersey is not only a world-renowned financial centre but also enjoys the highest reputation for regulatory propriety and political stability, making it a safe haven in times of turmoil elsewhere in the world. Interestingly, every time there is a political upheaval or tragedy such as September 11, increasing investments in Jersey institutions and investment products are witnessed.

Noting the strong similarities between the UAE and Jersey in many areas - political stability, tourism, cleanliness, safety and financial services - Walker said that two-way secondments have been suggested with the Central Bank. Jersey already serves as the head office of HSBC Middle East and many Jersey-based banks have operations in the UAE, including Abbey National, Citi-bank, HSBC Bank International, Lloyds TSB, Standard Bank and Standard Chartered Grindlays. National Bank of Dubai has a branch on the island which hosts a total 62 banks, all of which must rank among the world's top 500 in order to qualify for consideration. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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