Guernsey Funds Forum 2012 held in London this week attracted well in excess of 400 delegates – a new attendance record for the event.
The half-day conference and exhibition included two panels sessions – one on regulation and another on manager/investor relationships – and was followed by a macroeconomic debate featuring former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Norman Lamont and Economics Editor and Broadcaster, Stephanie Flanders.
The event was moderated for the third consecutive year by Senior ITV News Anchor, Alastair Stewart.
Fiona Le Poidevin, Deputy Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance – the promotional agency for the Island’s finance industry, said: “We are delighted to have been able to attract a record number of delegates to this year’s forum and that they were able to enjoy two thought-provoking panel sessions as well as the very interesting keynote debate. The central message seemed to be that it is not all doom and gloom in terms of the global and in particular, UK economy but obviously, times are difficult so while we can hope for a steady recovery over time, there will be challenges along the way.
“The fact that the whole event was moderated in such a professional manner once again by Alastair Stewart really did ensure that we got right to the heart of the matters at hand. The feedback we have received so far from both Guernsey and off-Island participants has been very positive and overall the event has provided an excellent showcase for Guernsey as a stable jurisdiction in a turbulent environment.”
The keynote debate between Lord Lamont and Stephanie Flanders focussed on the global financial crisis, its continuing impact and the way forward.
Lord Lamont said that the biggest single contributory factor to the economic crisis of 2008 was the sustained low interest rate environment and he warned that the crisis is not over. Lord Lamont expressed his concerns about the continuation of abnormally low interest rates and Stephanie Flanders added that a major worry is the sustained flat nature of the UK economy and that this could have a negative impact on the capacity to grow in the future.
The Eurozone was a concern for both of them, with Lord Lamont saying it was doomed to failure from the start due to its mechanics and that it poses the biggest threat to the world economy. Stephanie Flanders added that the US has been frustrated by the way in which the EU has failed to respond adequately to the crisis.
Both agreed that from an economic perspective, the most appropriate way forward is for some sort of orderly break up of the Eurozone but they also shared the view that this is extremely unlikely to happen due to the political capital invested in the project.
The keynote debate was preceded by two panel sessions.
The first was titled ‘regulation never dies’ and looked at how much regulation investors need, whether regulation is good for the investment fund industry, strategies for managers to survive in a highly regulated world and the role of corporate governance. Panellists were Karsten Langer of the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (EVCA), Ian Sayers of the Association of Investment Companies (AIC), Adrian Garner of MMIP Investment Management, William Marle of LCF Rothschild and Claire Wilkinson from MVision Private Equity Advisers.
The second session, ‘the world is not enough’, looked at investor demands and returns, how managers can keep investors happy in the economic climate and how managers can attract investors in the current marketplace. Panellists were Christopher Fawcett from Fauchier Partners, Rob Barr of Pantheon Ventures, Stephen Ziff of Coller Capital, Oleg Myshkin from Fleming Family and Partners and Evren Unver of Turkven.
John Armstrong-Denby, Director of Corporate Finance for LCF Edmond de Rothschild in London, says: “The diversity of views and sectors represented was enlightening and the final session with very high quality speakers giving two different perspectives – political and economic. It was an interesting take on the wider challenges affecting Guernsey and beyond.”
The Guernsey Funds Forum 2012, titled ‘Shaken not stirred’, took place on Wednesday 2 May 2012 at the Grange St Paul’s Hotel, London. The event was hosted by Guernsey Finance, in conjunction with the Guernsey Investment Fund Association (GIFA).
Neale Jehan, Executive Director at KPMG and Chairman of the GIFA Technical Committee, says: “There was a brilliant turnout. We had high profile industry figures, especially on the panel on emerging markets and restructuring, giving us great insight into issues in terms of new markets, restructuring and what investors want.”
As well as the conference, there was also an exhibition of Guernsey service providers, including the Island’s leading fund administrators, custodians, multi-jurisdictional legal practices and global accountancy firms.
Keynote speakers Lord Lamont and Stephanie Flanders were sponsored by Mourant Ozannes, while moderator Alastair Stewart was sponsored by Carey Olsen. Gold sponsors were Praxis, Grant Thornton, Kleinwort Benson and Collas Crill. Silver sponsors were Barclays, Appleby, KPMG, JP Morgan, Dexion Capital, Ogier, ABN Amro, Bedell, Butterfield, HSBC, BNP Paribas and Deloitte.
The event was supported by the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA), the EVCA, the AIC, Preqin and HFM Week.