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Guernsey fund sector remains confident despite drop in level of assets

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Although the latest figures from the Guernsey Financial Services Commission show a GBP1bn decrease in the assets under management of funds domicile

Although the latest figures from the Guernsey Financial Services Commission show a GBP1bn decrease in the assets under management of funds domiciled or serviced in the island during the last quarter of 2008, Carey Olsen partner and fund specialist Andrew Boyce says he remains optimistic about the industry’s future.

 “Guernsey is not immune to negative global trends and market turmoil, so a decrease in the amount of money invested in funds established in Guernsey is not surprising,” Boyce says.

“Some of this decrease is attributable to an overall decline in the value of assets held by funds, but with more than GBP200bn still managed and administered in the island, there is ample evidence that fund structures are still very relevant to the global investor community.

“In general terms Guernsey, with its solid reputation, the varied types of vehicles available, the quality of the local service providers and the flexibility of the regulatory regime, including the new fund rules, is in a prime position to attract the next wave of fund structures that will inevitably be created as the market turmoil stabilizes and an altered form of ‘normality’ returns.

“At Carey Olsen, almost all of the inquiries we are currently receiving focus on closed-ended vehicles, with many related to possible secondaries funds established to invest in the interests of defaulting investors in other funds, some debt funds and some distressed asset funds for property and alternatives.

“This trend is illustrated in the commission’s figures. The closed-end fund sector has seen growth, with increases of GBP5.6bn (6.5 per cent) over the quarter and GBP15.1bn (19.8 per cent) during the whole of 2008 to reach GBP91.5bn.

“Indeed many of the inquiries we have seen relate to closed-ended fund structures that are still aiming to raise fairly substantial funds, in excess of GBP500m.”

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