New ways of working ‘here to stay’

NEW ways of working brought about by the Covid-19 outbreak will continue in the finance sector once the pandemic eases and the Island needs to be ready, the chairman of the Jersey Financial Services Commission has said.

Mark Hoban
Mark Hoban

Mark Hoban said that industry leaders ‘understand their commitment’ to technological change and his organisation must also embrace the new environment which has seen firms increasingly use remote working and communication tools over the last year.

He said that the developments had created improvements in ‘connectivity and efficiency’, which should be retained once the crisis is over.

Speaking at the Jersey Financial Services Commission’s annual review last week, Mr Hoban, a former UK Employment Minister, said that the finance sector’s resilience, which was supported by technology, during the pandemic had been a positive for him.

‘One of the things I’m really pleased about is the way in which as an Island we have remained open for business for financial services,’ he said.

‘Organisational, personal and operational resilience has meant that the commission and the firms it has regulated continue to function and provide vital services, not just here on the Island, but across the world.’

He added that he felt the increased adoption of technology was here to stay.

‘Covid will have a lasting impact on financial services. There will be no going back to the way it was done before,’ he said.

‘We have seen over the course of the last year the pace of technological change increase. New ways of working – working from home rather than the office. Speaking to our customers and clients on Zoom rather than face-to-face.

‘When I spoke to industry leaders over the course of last year, one of the things that really comes across to me is they understand their commitment to maintain technological change.

‘But as you [the industry] change the way that you work, improve your connectivity, improve efficiency in the ways that you work, then so must we as a commission.’

During a panel session later in the conference, External Relations Minister Ian Gorst responded to questioning over whether Jersey should be concerned about recent calls from the European Parliament to blacklist jurisdictions with zero rate corporation tax.

The Senator said that the Island had a record of ‘co-operation’ with Brussels and he was confident the issue would be dealt with.

‘We must remind ourselves that we have been engaged with the European Commission and the Code of Conduct group in regard to their European-wide list of non-cooperative jurisdictions right from the very first list that they produced,’ he said.

‘And we engage proactively and positively, we answer questions, we address concerns and we will continue to do so.

‘We engage with decision makers and we explain the place of an international finance centre, like Jersey, in the world and what it’s got to offer.

‘The European Parliament are very much a political organisation and they make politically-led decisions rather than evidence led decisions.’

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