There has been a fair bit of comment about the role research plays in driving forward debates about various issues – some research we provided some funding for, and which supported the publication of a discussion paper ('Offshore Bet') by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) on the role of international finance centres (IFCs) in global capital mobility, got brought into that commentary.
In one way, it's brought the publication to people's attention, and if you haven't read it yet, I'd suggest doing so.
We didn't have any editorial control over it, and there are some elements of it I don't necessarily agree with (for instance the term 'offshore' which I think is confusing in a modern context), but it does contain some interesting and valuable points that add to the library of research and papers about international finance centres (IFCs) and help explain what it is that they do.
Research is a topic I like to talk about because I believe that good research, facts and balanced insights are absolutely vital in helping people and businesses make informed decisions, in all sectors and areas of life and business.
As far as international finance is concerned, our analysis of the landscape has shown that there is confusion and misunderstanding around what IFCs do, and there is a lot of misinformation in the public domain – unsubstantiated figures and allegations frequently get thrown around about IFCs. We think those claims should be challenged by hard evidence.
We often hear that IFCs don't do enough to explain what it is they do, which is why over the past five years or so, Jersey Finance has made a commitment to investing in independent research.
No other IFC can come close to this commitment, it's a real differentiator for Jersey - since 2014, we've commissioned more than a dozen pieces of independent research through a number of credible research houses and academic institutions, that have helped shine a light on wide-ranging areas of international finance. It's available here and we're proud of it.
Thanks to this research, for instance, we now know that:
- Jersey supports FDI into the UK of some £0.5trn, and is a net benefit to the UK to the tune of £14bn
- Jersey acts as a conduit for EUR188bn of FDI into EU Member States
- Nearly 60 million people around the world get better returns on their pension funds by being invested through Jersey
- The vast majority of Asian families (89%) are fully aware that they need to address issues relating to transparency, tax and existing structures
- The African continent needs to attract $6.1trn in FDI if it is to achieve its growth potential by 2040
All this has been useful for us as an industry and a jurisdiction in giving us valuable insights and data that have underpinned our strategy.
But it's also valuable for the wider community, putting facts out in the open about what IFCs do, helping to combat misrepresentations around IFCs, and opening up the world of international finance.
Of course, it's important that research is credible and transparent and for that reason research we are associated with is always independent, and we are always upfront about what research we have supported or commissioned.
We made it quite clear, for instance, that we supported the IEA's research stream on IFCs when we welcomed the publication of the paper back in June through a media release and a blog – and media outlets acknowledged that support at the time.
It's a shame that this particular paper has got caught in the cross-hairs of a left-right wing spat, because our intention all along has been quite simple – to put facts into the public domain to help clarify what it is we do.
But it won't deter us from pursuing that objective, because
I think it's vital and in everyone's interests to be able
to make decisions based on accurate information. If we can be part
of supporting more progressive, evidence-based debates around
international finance, then that's a good thing.
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