The Fintech Ecosystem in Jersey: Interview With Amy Bryant
Amy Bryant is the CEO of Jersey Finance, a not-for-profit organisation established in 2001 to support startups in Jersey's finance sector.
She joined the organisation in 2011, and since January 2014 has served as its Chief Operating Officer. In September 2017, she became the company's current leader.
Before Jersey Finance, she was a Senior Associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in the Channel Islands, where she advised clients on international structuring and tax-related matters.
In this interview, Amy discusses Jersey Finance's annual demo days, the island's fintech ecosystem, and financial technology-related opportunities.
Here's what she had to say:
Amy Bryant (Q&A Interview)
What did the recent fintech demo day involve and was it a success?
Returning in 2021 as a physical event, Jersey Finance’s Fintech Demo Day was designed to showcase fintech products and thought leadership trends in the areas of productivity, regulatory technology and innovation.
The day was a real success and brought together more than a dozen specialist fintech firms from Jersey’s thriving and vibrant fintech community to provide demonstrations, talks, and information on products and solutions, to members of the Island’s finance community.
Jersey is an International Finance Centre with a global client base and so fintech is of vital importance in keeping us connected while also realising our digital aspiration ‘to be the easiest international finance centre to do business with remotely in a digital world’. Events like our Fintech Demo Day are just one of the ways in which we aim to keep Jersey at the forefront of the digital space.
What inspired Jersey to get involved in fintech?
As a forward-thinking international finance centre, Jersey has been quick to recognise the opportunities presented by fintech and has consequently worked hard to develop an attractive proposition for innovative start-ups and established businesses alike.
The collaborative approach of the Island’s government, regulator, financial services industry and active digital sector, as well as its growing talent base supported by an on-island digital skills academy, has created the ideal environment for fintech to thrive.
Add to that the Island’s 100% full fibre point-to-point network – giving Jersey the fastest broadband connectivity in the world, according to independent rankings - and it is clear to see the significant role the jurisdiction can play in the fintech space. We see fintech as an integral part of our future financial services proposition.
Where do you see the most significant opportunities for Jersey moving forward as an international finance centre?
The landscape for financial services is currently being re-shaped by two major trends - digital technology and sustainable finance. Significantly, these trends are intertwined. Fintech plays a substantial role in the growth of sustainable finance while sustainable finance is accelerating innovation in fintech.
Jersey has long recognised the significance of both of these trends. Notably, Jersey Finance launched a long-term strategy and vision early in 2021 aimed at setting the Island on a path to being the leading sustainable IFC in the markets it serves by 2030. We certainly see a symbiotic relationship between the fintech and ESG sectors and a clear role for IFCs like Jersey to play in the growth of both.
As the financial industry continues to evolve, sustainability and digitalisation have become significant trends. How do you see the two trends merging?
IFCs have a vital role to play in the global transition to a world where fintech and sustainable finance go hand in hand and evolve together. Reputed jurisdictions, like Jersey, that can support the fintech industry will be able to empower their sustainable propositions significantly and, in turn, provide the driving force for innovation in financial technology.
The twin opportunities of sustainable finance and fintech will, undoubtedly, require quality IFCs to be nimble, adaptable and innovative - attributes Jersey has a long history of.
What excites you the most in the field of financial technology right now? And how do you anticipate things to play out by 2030?
Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and distributed ledger technology (DLT) are presenting transformational opportunities for financial services businesses. When embedded into ESG solutions, for instance, both technologies are capable of providing insights that allow investors to verify the sustainability of business practices or supply chains.
This interplay between financial technology and sustainable finance will clearly continue to develop as we edge closer to 2030 and forward-thinking IFCs will need to play a supportive role if they wish to remain relevant.
In which ways do you observe fintech enhancing competitiveness and user experience?
What we’re hearing and seeing is that financial services firms are largely using fintech solutions in one of two ways, either to enhance the client experience through providing better or innovative customer engagement or to drive operational efficiency. Both of which ultimately enhance a business’s competitiveness. For Jersey the majority of our IFC clients are remote, they live or operate in other jurisdictions, therefore Jersey is a jurisdiction of choice, not a necessity, and fintech is a key lever in our value proposition.
What opportunities do you see in the wealthtech and regtech verticals?
Jersey has long had a reputation for excellence when it comes to financial services. When combined with the Island’s high standards of regulation - backed by a number of independent bodies, including the OECD, IMF and World Bank – it is not hard to see why Jersey is primed to support the wealthtech and regtech sectors.
Jersey service providers are already adopting regtech in order to stay ahead of the curve regarding compliance and reporting requirements, particularly in relation to sustainable finance.
One of the ways in which we are on track to realise these ambitions is through the adoption of AI. AI is improving the ability of financial service providers in leading jurisdictions to meet compliance needs, while also driving down process costs.
When it comes to wealthtech, Jersey’s significant book of business in private wealth – Jersey manages more than £1.1trn of assets in trust and other holding vehicles - is creating ample opportunity to support the growth of the sector.
Jersey, as an IFC known for its facilitation of cross-border investment through its expertise in areas such as fund governance, fiduciary and administration mean it is significantly invested in the role wealthtech can play in enhancing efficiencies and ease of business.
Disclosure: This article is an advertorial and monetary payment was received from Jersey Finance. It has gone through editorial control and passed the assessment for being informative.