Since the initial publication of the Panama Papers, the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) has been closely monitoring developments and any relevant connections between Jersey financial services practitioners and the Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca or any other subject material that has so far emerged into the public domain from the Panama Papers publication.
The JFSC, as quoted in the media has relied primarily on self-disclosure by licensed and regulated financial firms in Jersey as there has been a high level of awareness amongst the regulated community of their obligations in this respect under both local anti-money laundering legislation and the relevant Codes of Practice issued by the JFSC. The Codes set requirements for conduct of business in the jurisdiction with a clear expectation for open and transparent reporting to the JFSC of significant matters.
This process has yielded a relatively small number of such relevant connections to date, all of which are being scrutinized carefully. Some are very historic and none to date suggest significant evidence of misconduct or failure to identify correctly persons for whom Jersey financial practitioners are acting, or other important anti-money laundering information such as source of wealth and purpose of business being conducted.
The level of attention globally generated by the Panama Papers matter, linked to further anticipated public disclosures covering worldwide financial dealings over the coming days, suggest that the authorities in Jersey should be as well prepared as possible to offer further detailed comment on any arising matter for this jurisdiction. Accordingly, the JFSC has now set out a more structured request for information from financial services firms regulated by the JFSC in order to be as fully sighted as possible on material connections to Jersey which may require further follow up, scrutiny or possibly in what it would anticipate to be rare cases a level of formal investigation.
This request should not be read as an indication that we expect Jersey to be any more linked to the developing Panama Papers situation than has until now been the case with the few connections made to date. Nonetheless, the JFSC is of the view that a comprehensive and clear understanding of all such connections to Jersey would be timely and relevant in the current situation, above all to be assured that the conduct of Jersey financial practitioners is as expected and that any such connections are set in a relevant context given current high levels of global media attention.
John Harris, Director General, commented:
“We realise that in a fast moving and demanding situation such as this, flexibility is required and two of the JFSC's key objectives, are aiming to protect the reputation of Jersey in commercial and financial matters and in so doing pursuing the Island's best economic interests. These aims will always guide our actions and we are monitoring the developing events very carefully and will take any appropriate action needed.”