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Directors debate Guernsey's innovation pedigree

Directors debate Guernsey's innovation pedigree

Monday 15 April 2019

Directors debate Guernsey's innovation pedigree

The Institute of Directors’ April seminar saw panelists consider whether Guernsey is a front runner in the field of financial services innovation.

Guests outlined and discussed the island’s most significant advances in financial services in a session moderated by Fiona Le Poidevin, CEO at The International Stock Exchange Group and IoD Guernsey Committee member.

Making up the debate panel were Mark Elliott, Director of Insurance Linked Securities (ILS) at Aon, Nick Vermeulen, a member of Guernsey’s fintech strategy group and partner at PwC and Andy Sloan, Deputy Chief Executive, Strategy at Guernsey Finance and Chair of Guernsey Green Finance

Tamara O’Brien, Deputy Managing Director of seminar sponsor JT Guernsey, opened the discussion. She stressed that businesses needed to consider risk in line with innovation and shared statistics released by the World Economic Forum showing that 74% of businesses could expect a cyber-attack during 2019. However in a recent UK wide IoD survey, less than 50% actually had a cybersecurity strategy in place.

Mrs Le Poidevin outlined the drivers for innovation - business need, hunger, collaboration and ideally a track record. Guernsey, she said, had risen to all those challenges in past and more recent history.

The island’s younger generation and their role in its future was highlighted by Mr Vermeulen. Dr Sloan concurred that the industry needed to get children on board with Guernsey’s role in global finance and demonstrate the island’s innovation around themes that matter to them such as green finance.

The panel closed by making two critical points. Firstly, how Guernsey business use technology themselves, and secondly how the next generation will interact with technology.

Mrs Le Poidevin concluded: "The panellists emphasised Guernsey’s current leadership position in a number of emerging fields such as green finance, ILS and a number of fintech areas which was well received by the 50 strong audience.

“Being a small jurisdiction means we can be nimble and adaptable to new circumstances we find ourselves in but it also means that, through the financial services sector, we can innovate and develop new ideas which create a ‘multiplier effect’ on a global scale, despite our modest size."

She added: "Guernsey provides an ideal environment for frictionless global capital flows and that, combined with innovations in areas such as green finance allows us to be a force for good, for example in the global fight against climate change."


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