Claire Machin, Group Director and Head of Private Wealth in Jersey was invited to take part in Jersey First for Finance's celebrating 60 years of finance special edition. Read Claire's career reflections below.
As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of Jersey’s finance industry, several of its long serving professionals reflect on their careers and the changes they have witnessed as the jurisdiction has adapted and continues to evolve, to retain its position as one of the world's most respected international finance centres.
I joined the industry in 1993 having decided not to head off to university at the very last minute. This was a big decision at the time with many of my school friends heading off the island to undertake university courses but my attention was grabbed already by a finance company and the prospects it could offer me to work and study at the same time.
The finance company was Abacus Financial Services – the trust arm of PwC – and they had attended various schools and colleges to market the business and introduce the students to the financial services industry. Based on this, I joined Abacus and haven’t looked back since.
I studied the CGI qualification through to professional level and do not feel like I missed out by getting into the industry straight from school. Eighteen seems young to head into the industry but more and more opportunities are available to join the finance arena from school and we encourage both school leavers and graduates to join our teams.
I have since worked in several senior positions prior to joining Suntera Global as a Manager in 2010 and was appointed to the board of Suntera Jersey in January 2017. In September 2019, I was also appointed as a Group Director of Suntera Global and am the Head of Private Wealth in our Jersey office. I am supported by a team of six private client directors who each head up their own private client teams.
I consider myself to be conscientious and a real people person, both of which bode well in our industry where client relations are paramount. I work closely with each individual client to ascertain their needs and meet them as we are more than a service provider, we are a partner and have worked with most of our clients’ long term so really feel we know them well. Being a people person is also key to leading my directors and being a role model to all our Jersey staff.
One of the highlights of my career was when I won the Citywealth Trustee of the Year award for the Channel Islands and Isle of Man in January 2019 and I am honoured to have been shortlisted recently for their Woman of the Year - Leadership - Financial Organisation (CEO/Board Member) award.
Another highlight since I joined the industry has been the enhancements to Jersey’s trust law. Whilst the law has been the backbone of the wealth management industry since its introduction, there is always scope to tweak it in order to make it more attractive for potential clients. The introduction of the Foundations Law in 2009 was another milestone and so was the more recent Charities (Jersey) Law, both legal innovations which have served as a platform for increasing philanthropic activity.
From a client perspective too, it is a very different ‒ far more regulated ‒ environment, for financial services. Fortunately, Jersey has a history of strong regulation and an excellent legal system. They are among the key building blocks in our wealth management proposition and sit alongside our political and economic stability, tax neutrality, global connectivity, ability to innovate in response to market demands and of course our many very experienced finance industry professionals.
The infrastructure created by the 13,000 strong workforce, who work for some of the world’s leading banks, fund and corporate services providers; some of the largest offshore law practices and professional service firms, as well as a range of experienced and long-established trust and wealth management firms, has ensured the perfect environment to support the ambitions of global investors, so I have no doubt that we will continue to overcome future challenges and seize opportunities.
Scrutiny of financial services has been a feature of the wider global industry, especially during the last 20 years but Jersey has been able to negotiate these hurdles and ultimately obtain endorsement for the quality of its regulatory regime time and again from influential global organisations.
I have also witnessed the increasing global nature of the private client market which has led the industry in Jersey to reach out to new regional markets. Many firms in the trust sector have amalgamated or invested in strategic expansion to bolster their global office network and in so doing enhanced their private wealth offering.
Over the years, I have had the pleasure of working with many experienced and successful mentors in the industry who have greatly added to my personal success and enjoyment of the business.
It is a real honour and pleasure to have grown up in Jersey and had the opportunity to represent the Island in our industry and to have seen the jurisdiction grow and develop and remain at the forefront of international finance centres.
GROUP DIRECTOR, HEAD OF PRIVATE WEALTH IN JERSEY