An industry always adapting to the ever-changing business environment

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Sponsored Content by Haydn Taylor, managing director of Ravenscroft in Jersey and a director on the group’s executive board, Ravenscroft Channel Islands Ltd

I STARTED my career in the finance industry in Jersey briefly with what was then the National Westminster Jersey Trust Company, later Coutts, in the early 80s.

From a young age, I had always been fascinated by the stock market, no doubt as a result of numerous school runs in the company of Derek Maltwood who later became the senior partner of the next firm I worked for, Trevor Matthews and Carey, one of two local stockbroking firms along with Le Masurier, James and Chinn, both based in Broad Street.

I joined TMC as an assistant to partner Neil Dangerfield, a professional association that was to last over 30 years during which time I was able to learn a great deal from his analytical and practical approach to investing, not to mention an unflappable approach to life honed, no doubt, from his days as a successful gentleman racing driver.

This was an exciting time to enter stockbroking, which was in for a period of considerable change having been mired in tradition and somewhat restrictive practices, including fixed minimum commissions and the enforced separation of stockbrokers and stockjobbers. Foreign membership of the London Stock Exchange was also prohibited which seems incredulous by today’s standards.

The ‘Big Bang’ in 1986 changed all of that and had a large impact, resulting in many old firms being taken over by bank-owned institutions with the partners of Trevor Mathews and Carey selling to Security-Pacific-owned Hoare Govett.

Trading moved from open outcry on the floor of the exchange to electronic trading, and negotiated commissions were introduced. Business boomed on the back of strong markets which saw the Dow Jones rise by 3½ times its value in the five years from 1982 to 1987, perhaps not surprisingly ending on Black Monday, with falls of 20-40% not uncommon in global markets.

Neil and I subsequently started Brown Shipley Stockbroking in the late 80s, carrying on our long association, and I took over from him as managing director of what by then had become Standard Bank Stockbrokers, part of the Standard Bank of South Africa Group in the early 90s.

Undoubtedly, the success of Jersey’s finance industry, and largely the trust sector, in attracting business from all over the world contributed to our own group’s success locally, providing us with significant investment management, trading and banking opportunities.

As part of one of the largest South African banking groups, we also saw enormous opportunity in South Africa as the country opened up in the mid-90s, necessitating considerable travel to the region to promote our services, something new and exciting for a team who had, until then, focused largely on local business. Indeed, it became a well beaten path by many members of the finance industry across the sectors as they too responded to the opportunities.

Having joined Ravenscroft to head their Jersey business eight years ago, I have been fortunate to join forces with Jon Ravenscroft who has had a long standing and successful career in Channel Islands stockbroking with a particular interest in local investment.

Our paths first crossed trading shares in local companies such as Ann Street Brewery and Le Riche’s and, to this day, the group has a strong focus on local investment acting as broker to listed companies such as Sandpiper and providing local investment opportunities through a range of specialist Channel Islands funds, in addition to the provision of investment management and trading services, among others.

What started as an entrepreneurial stockbroking and investment management business 15 years ago has now evolved into a very well-established investment services group, administering assets of over £7.75bn, predominantly for Channel Island residents and finance industry businesses.

Ravenscroft is well positioned to continue to benefit from the success of the finance industry, providing investment services to a wide cross section of the industry, while also focusing on local private clients across the wealth spectrum who themselves, for example, might well be investors in our commercial property vehicles, which house finance industry businesses.

We work closely with our professional clients to help them develop their business while also adapting to changing client and regulatory demands, most recently in respect of socially responsible investment, with Ravenscroft having become a signatory of the UN Principles of Responsible Investment in 2020.

The Jersey finance industry is of paramount importance to us as a group and we believe that the industry will continue to adapt to the ever-changing business environment, which it has done so successfully over the last 60 years and for which it should be justifiably proud. Quality of service and regulation need to continue to be of the highest standard, while Jersey’s reputation for innovation will also be key as business from more traditional sources becomes scarcer and shifts to new markets.

Whatever the future holds, we look forward to the continuing success of the Jersey finance industry, founded with great foresight all those years ago and developed by some outstanding professionals over the years.

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