Guernsey Funds Industry Up 15.5% On Back Of Hedge And Private Equity Fund Business, Says Fitzrovia

Fitzrovia International's latest research reveals that the number of funds serviced in Guernsey has grown by 15.5% during the last year, with the total rising from 981 to 1,133 funds and sub funds over the year to 30 June 2004.

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Fitzrovia International’s latest research reveals that the number of funds serviced in Guernsey has grown by 15.5% during the last year, with the total rising from 981 to 1,133 funds and sub-funds over the year to 30 June 2004.

Guernsey’s position as a centre for more specialised funds is evident in the value of assets invested in private equity/venture capital funds: they now stand at US$ 40.1 billion in 125 funds.

Assets invested in funds of funds stand at US$ 24.5 billion (of which funds of hedge funds make up around US$ 16.5 billion) in 263 funds domiciled on the island.

Fitzrovia’s tenth annual ‘Guernsey Fund Encyclopaedia’ also shows that the former Baring operation on the island – Guernsey International Fund Managers – has maintained its position as the largest fund administrator in Guernsey, administering US$ 25.2 billion in assets, which is well ahead of second placed Royal Bank of Canada (US$ 15.6 bn) and International Private Equity Services (IPES) (US$ 14.0 bn).

Mark Huntley, Head of Business Development for the Baring Financial Services Group, which includes Guernsey International Fund Managers Limited and Barings (Guernsey) Limited, says he is delighted to have nearly doubled assets under administration. “We are encouraged that new and existing promoters continue to choose our fund administration and custody services,” he says. “In line with trends in the Guernsey fund industry, we are experiencing increased diversification of fund structures and assets types. Whilst conventional equity and bond funds remain important, structured products, fund of funds and the alternative assets classes of private equity, property and hedge funds continue to be important elements of Guernsey’s fund mix; sectors we are strongly committed to servicing. This evolution of different fund types requires expertise, experience and agility to meet the administrative demands created by increased sophistication of fund product, the need for reporting transparency and focus on regulatory compliance and corporate governance; services which our Guernsey office is well placed to deliver.”

Royal Bank of Canada is the new leader in terms of assets under custody in Guernsey, servicing US$ 16.5 billion assets. Barings (US$ 8.1 bn) and Credit Suisse (US$ 7.7 bn) are the next largest.

“The numbers posted across all participants clearly indicate that the Guernsey funds industry is vibrant, globally competitive and well positioned to see continued growth in the future,” says Ron Nutter, VP and Global Head of Corporate and Institutional business, Royal Bank of Canada. “The assets under administration growth in the alternative investments sector is a clear indication of the confidence in the professional skill set and knowledge base in Guernsey custody and fund administration participants, and Royal Bank of Canada is proud to be viewed and recognized as a local provider leader in this sector.”

The largest promoter of funds of hedge funds domiciled on the island is Financial Risk Management (FRM) with US$ 12.4 billion assets under management. The largest promoter of private equity/venture capital funds is Permira, with US$ 11.7 billion assets under management domiciled in Guernsey.

Among professional firms, KPMG is still the largest auditor of Guernsey serviced funds, auditing 310 funds, although the gap has narrowed with PricewaterhouseCoopers (292 funds). “We are delighted to retain our position as the leading auditor of locally serviced Guernsey funds, as well as acting for many funds established but not serviced from Guernsey,” says Ashley Paxton, Partner, KPMG. “The funds industry in Guernsey is very buoyant and we are pleased to be able to play our part in advising on the tax, regulatory and accounting aspects of the establishment and operation of these funds as well as acting as auditor to a great many of them. We are especially pleased to have participated on the working party for the development of Guernsey’s new streamlined fund approval regime which we believe will enhance Guernsey’s position as a leading center for the offshore funds industry.”

Finally, Carey Olsen now offers legal advice to 508 funds, with Ozannes following in second place with 384 funds. “The combined market share ranking as compiled by Fitzrovia, the leading independent investment research company, reveals that in terms of the numbers of sub-funds serviced in Guernsey, Carey Olsen now undertakes 51.2% of the business carried out by law firms in the island,” comments Steven Hunt, Director of Marketing, Carey Olsen Group Services. “These results demonstrate our commitment to the industry”.

Lipper Ltd, a subsidiary of Reuters, acquired Fitzrovia in October 2004.