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Jersey’s natural synergy of finance and digital

Posted: Friday 18 May 2018

Jersey has a world class finance industry which makes a significant contribution to global markets and in particular the UK. Our technology sector may be smaller and less developed but it is also starting to make a name for itself.

The first regulated bitcoin fund was launched in the Island on the back of some world leading legislation. However, it is not just about the headline hunting technologies of bitcoin or blockchain. This year Jersey will finish the rollout of ‘full fibre’ to every connected home and office.

Based on this and other developments, 2018 will see the launch of ‘Sandbox Jersey’ – a whole country as a sandbox. We are working together to create this fantastic opportunity for the Island and for companies around the world looking to test their products and services, and fintech will be a major focus.

For finance companies, technological innovation is not just about improved efficiency, it is about overhauling the customer experience, changing expectations and managing the regulatory environment. Global adoption of new technology is running at breakneck speed, barriers to entry are disappearing and consumer choice is increasing. That is why we at Digital Jersey are working closely with Jersey Finance to strengthen the Island’s financial offering, capitalising on new opportunities, as well as future-proofing our existing capabilities.

Our Enterprise Solutions sector has already seen rapid growth, now employing over 1,000 people. It is developed to support finance firms, helping them save time, money and improve customer service, as well as meet regulatory standards. This is good for the businesses, for our economy and for the employees who make up these industries.

For example, local technology company, C5 Alliance, has a long-standing relationship with Lloyds Banking Group having successfully developed secure internet banking for the Private Banking division and Hill Samuel in 1999. They have continued to develop this platform and now offer extended services to Offshore Clients to match their requirements.

Digital Jersey worked with the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) to make it easier for finance firms in Jersey to transfer beneficial ownership data, saving time and money. The Beneficial Ownership Register improves transparency, so the JFSC created an Application Programming Interface, allowing digital solutions to integrate with the JFSC. Local technology companies were quick to provide solutions for our finance firms and now over 100 businesses have opted to connect through the portal.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, launched a regulatory sandbox in 2016. It allows services, products or business models to be tested in a live market environment, with the right regulatory protections in place. Jersey is also going to do this.

Digital Jersey is working with the JFSC to ensure Jersey is perfectly placed for fintech start-ups to develop and grow. We will support the JFSC in developing and promoting a fintech sandbox to remove barriers to the development of fintech products and services.

In 2018 I also look forward to working together with industry and regulators to develop a Fintech Ambassador function for the jurisdiction, promoting the unique and attractive selling points of the Island.

The synergy between our finance and technology sectors is driving fintech innovations such as KYC Global Technologies. They supply regtech solutions to combat financial crime. Over 300 financial institutions worldwide use their technology – PanOptic, real time customer risk management and reporting and RiskScreen, the anti-money laundering screening and monitoring compliance sofware powered by Dow Jones.

It is natural that our talented financial sector workers will have ideas and set up start-ups. London saw £1.3 billion of venture capital investment in fintech last year, more than any other tech sector. The foundations that make London attractive, also play into developing Jersey as a centre of excellence for fintech firms. We have the right time zone, language and proximity to professional service providers and we have the cloud storage, cyber security and data protection professionals to allow us to operate safely.

We also have the infrastructure. Three 4G networks and gigabit fibre to the premises for all residential and commercial properties make our communications second to none.

Our leading telecoms company JT has been working with Sony to create the Island’s second Low-Power, Wide-Area Network (LPWA) to allow devices to connect to the internet and complement 3G and 4G cellular connectivity. This will boost the Internet of Things (IoT) sector in the Island. Sony saw the benefit of testing its LPWA technology in Jersey because of the Island’s super-fast fibre network, its varied terrain and the digital connectivity of its population. We are also building a data platform to analyse large data sets collected from IoT sensors around the Island. JT is already a global leader in IoT with over 1.4 million SIM cards connecting devices worldwide, including payment systems in West Africa.

We are opening a dedicated IoT Lab in 2018 – the Digital Jersey Xchange – which will be the hub for Sandbox Jersey – the world’s first whole country testbed for digital products and services. Jersey is a one-stop-shop for high-tech product development in a safe, controlled, secure and smart environment. We have easy access to regulators, agencies, government, infrastructure and local industry. We also have an advanced telecoms infrastructure, high quality professional services, modern workplaces and everything you would expect in a complex autonomous country but all compressed into just 45 square miles.

Jersey is already a good place for fintech and we are making it easier by assisting start-ups with a new licensing scheme. It is aimed at attracting applications from potential high-growth digital businesses from around the world, as well as locals, who want to launch their own businesses.

To help our growing businesses we are also working to develop digital skills in the Island, joining forces with education, re-training adults and raising awareness of the need to increase digital skills across all industries.

Technology is not only disruptive but also creative. We have an incredible opportunity in Jersey to help provide technological solutions that are not available anywhere else in the world. Jersey is truly open for business for digital now as well as finance and we look forward to working with the best of both worlds.

To read the full edition of First for Finance click here.

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