Jersey, the largest of the Channel islands, hopes to tap into regional investors’ growing interest in diversifying their investments.
The value of offshore Jersey funds invested in asset classes such as private equity, property and commodities rose 17 per cent in the first quarter from the same period last year, according to Geoff Cook, the chief executive of Jersey Finance.
The non-profit company was founded in 2001 to market Jersey’s financial industry.
Investors have been focusing on Europe, where asset prices remain depressed as the continent struggles to recover from the global financial crisis that began in 2008, according to Mr Cook.
As a result, the collective value of alternative funds based in Jersey had grown to £225 billion (Dh1.26 trillion) at the end of the first quarter this year, he said.
“There’s been a really big surge from Asia and the Middle East in investing in Europe,” said Mr Cook, who was in Abu Dhabi to promote Jersey as an offshore financial centre. “We saw that surge pick up in 2014 and we’ve seen it continue.”
He said Jersey Finance had helped the UAE by sharing information on setting up offshore financial centres such as the Dubai International Financial Centre and the Abu Dhabi Global Market.
Abu Dhabi’s financial free zone on Al Maryah island will be a fully-fledged financial centre that includes offices, shops and residential, hotel and leisure facilities.
Mr Cook said Jersey Finance enjoyed a good relationship with the UAE’s central bank as well as the government and regulatory authorities. “We have had knowledge sharing over the years,” he said.