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Jersey HSBC Chief Urges Island To Broaden Horizons

by Philip Morton, Investors

16 October 2002

Jersey needs to look to its international competitors as well as its regional rivals, according to to Jersey-based HSBC International CEO, Guy Hamilton.

Speaking to the Jersey Evening Post last week, Mr Hamilton observed that: 'I have to say in my discussions I hear too much about Guernsey and the Isle of Man, and not enough about Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland and the Caymans. I think this is terribly important because Jersey is now an international finance centre.'

He went on to warn that in addition to keeping a weather eye on international developments, and European tax issues, Jersey should be aware that competition may come from smaller offshore jurisdictions as well as more established offshore centres:

'Many of them will take quite a long time to reach the maturity of infrastructure that Jersey now has, but take your eye off them and they could do something interesting,' he told the JEP.

However, he went on to add that Jersey has some clear advantages over such jurisdictions, including a mature and developed infrastructure, a legal system similar to that of the United Kingdom, and a reputation for trustworthiness and reliability.

He concluded the Jersey Evening Post interview by urging the Island to shed its negative attitude with regard to the future, explaining that:

'Maybe it's my background, but working in markets like Indonesia which have gone through massive economic crises, you realise there's no such thing as an economy that just suddenly stops working. There is such a thing as economies that get left behind because they don't keep up with the pace of change. I think the trick is to have a positive view and try to find a model that refines what Jersey is good at.'

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