It's actually been quite timely that, during a week when there was much political uncertainty, particularly in the UK with Brexit negotiations still the source of much confusion and MPs resigning from both main parties to form a new independent group, Jersey has been able to provide some positive support to the international investment community.
Figures announced last week for our funds industry, for instance, showed that more and more alternative fund managers are putting their faith in Jersey to bring their EU-focused funds to market through Jersey – the number of managers doing so rose 13% over 2018.
These figures follow a well-received masterclass focused on fund distribution held in conjunction with the Jersey Funds Association the previous week in London, attended by around 100 fund professionals.
Our focus is on working with managers to give them some clarity and a sound platform for generating future returns, so that, come April, whether we are looking at a deal or no-deal scenario, managers will be able to continue to operate seamlessly through our familiar, fast and efficient platform. It's a message that is being well received in London, and we'll be asserting the same message when we visit SuperReturn in Berlin this week too.
Looking ahead, meanwhile, and our focus on markets beyond Europe is clear to see too.
The response we have had to the launch of Jersey's International Savings Product (ISP) earlier this year, for instance, has been remarkable, and we're looking forward to sharing an update on that at a breakfast session next week.
There's a clear demand for this product, as multi-jurisdictional employers look for long-term, flexible savings plans that can support their large expat employee bases. From the conversations I've had this week, fiduciary service providers in Jersey are clearly ready to bring this solution to market – particularly in the Gulf region where Jersey is gaining such good traction and where the need for such solutions is so strong.
It's a reflection of both our ambitions as a global financial centre, and also of our forward-thinking approach that we have been able to launch such an innovative product.
And on the point of innovation, we're continuing to make strides when it comes to fintech too and, hot off the heels of publishing our paper on innovation at the end of January, we'll be outlining our fintech priorities at another breakfast session also next month.
Our ambition is to be the easiest international finance centre to do business with remotely in a digital world, and we firmly believe that, through proactive regulation, supportive government policies, a robust digital infrastructure and focusing on digital talent, we are well placed to realise that.
We already have high speed fibre connectivity in place that puts Jersey ahead of most other countries, and only last month Jersey's Digital Skills Academy was launched through Digital Jersey – evidence of our commitment as a jurisdiction in this space.
It's a busy start to the year – and my time at Jersey Finance – but one that illustrates perfectly our digital and global ambitions.
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