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Press Release - 16 March 2000

Joint Press Release Issued by the UK Home Office and Treasury

Government Welcomes Measures to Tackle Financial Crime in the Crown Dependencies

Improvements in financial regulation and the policing of financial services in Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man will help secure their future as top division offshore financial centres, Home Office Minister Lord Bassam said today.

All three Islands have published details of the steps they are taking to give effect to the conclusions of the Edwards Report on Financial Regulation in the Crown Dependencies, which was published in November 1998.

The Edwards Report's recommendations aimed to improve financial regulation and counter money laundering and financial crime in the three Crown Dependencies. The great majority of recommendations in the Edwards Report have been accepted directly by the Islands, or achieved by alternative means.

Commenting on the Islands implementation reports, Lord Bassam said:

'The Islands are continuing to improve and modernise their financial regulation by reforming internal domestic legislation and local practices. It is essential for a healthy economy that the Islands continue to maintain and develop systems of regulation that demonstrate the integrity of offshore financial services.

'The programme of reforms set out in the implementation plans clearly demonstrates the Islands' willingness to take forward the issues raised by the Edwards Report in a positive and constructive way.

'The Islands, like us, understand the need to keep their laws and systems under review in the light of developing standards of regulation. The Edwards Report was an essential part of that process and I am extremely pleased with the Islands' progress to date and look forward to seeing it maintained in the future.'

Welcoming the reports, Treasury Minister Melanie Johnson said:

'Improving financial regulatory standards and tackling financial crime are top of the UK agenda in promoting international initiatives to improve standards in offshore centres.

'The welcome positive response to the Edwards Report will contribute to that agenda. It will be important in securing recognition for the Islands by the wider world as centres which comply with high international standards of financial regulation. This will maintain and enhance their reputation and continued ability to do business worldwide.

'The UK Government strongly supports these efforts and wishes to see them succeed.'

The implementation reports highlight progress in a number of areas in meeting the recommendations of the Edwards Report:

  • Increased resources devoted to regulating and policing their financial systems and measures to increase the independence of the regulators.
  • Enactment of all crimes money laundering legislation.
  • A commitment by the Guernsey authorities to abolish the so-called 'Sark Lark', and require that in future company directors undergo a fit and properness test.
  • Measures to regulate company and trust service providers.

All three Crown Dependencies have committed themselves to comply with international standards of regulation of their financial services industries; keep their regulatory frameworks under review; and to respond to any changes in international standards.


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