Senator Gorst to look after finance
SENATOR Ian Gorst has been asked to take responsibility for the Island’s finance industry.
Chief Minister John Le Fondré has asked Senator Gorst to look after Jersey’s main industry and biggest employer in addition to being External Relations Minister.
A total of 13,270 people were directly employed in the Island’s finance sector last year and the industry accounts for 41 per cent of Jersey’s economic output.
Senator Gorst said he understood the symbiotic relationship between financial services and the Island’s international standing as well as the challenges that Brexit posed.
He said: ‘Given these risks, and the international perception of the Island as a centre of financial excellence, I think that it is a natural step for the Minister for External Relations to take on this portfolio.’
Senator Gorst added that he had three key priorities.
‘Firstly, the government made a clear commitment in 2017 to address the concerns of the EU code of conduct group on business taxation.
‘I will work to see that commitment honoured through ongoing interaction with the code group, alongside consultation with our local industry.’
His comments come after Jersey narrowly avoided being blacklisted by the EU at the end of last year. The Island has been asked to address certain issues to ensure it remains off the list.
In addition, Senator Gorst said he would work to ensure Jersey remained competitive, with the right regulatory framework and products to attract businesses. He added that he would also look to implement the findings of the Strategic Refresh, a review commissioned by Jersey Finance to ensure the Island was following the right strategy to keep its position as a leading international finance centre.
Geoff Cook, chief executive of Jersey Finance, welcomed the appointment and said he was encouraged by Senator Gorst’s ‘extensive experience and deep understanding of the industry’.
Responsibility for the digital industry, which Senator Gorst has also been a strong supporter of, has yet to be decided.
Senator Gorst said: ‘There is an obvious correlation between digital and financial services, including in the development of FinTech and Cryptocurrencies.
‘Wherever the Chief Minister decides to assign responsibility for digital, I believe there will be a crucial role in co-ordinating and aligning [that] with the development of financial services policy.’