The IMF’s Executive Board initiated its offshore financial center (OFC) programme in July 2000, to help members identify gaps and reduce potential vulnerabilities in their financial systems, and improve the coverage of statistics on activities of OFCs in financial markets. Dependent territories of members are covered by virtue of their relationship to the member, and the IMF also provides policy advice and technical assistance to non members.

The assessment component of the program evaluates financial regulation and supervision in jurisdictions with significant financial activity and few previous assessments of standards, following a request from the jurisdiction.

The statistical component assesses the adequacy of statistics with a view to encouraging wider participation in the Fund’s Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey (CPIS) and in the Bank for International Settlement’s (BIS) international locational banking statistics, and to help OFCs improve their national macroeconomic statistics. Both the CPIS and the BIS international locational banking statistics contribute to identifying the role of OFCs in global finance.

In response to an invitation from Senator Walker, President of the States of Jersey’s Finance and Economics Committee, an IMF team will be visiting Jersey between September 11-25 to evaluate the regulation of financial services and anti-money laundering defences. The same evaluation team reportedly also will conduct an evaluation of the Isle of Man (October) and Guernsey (November).

According to a news releases issued by the Financial Services Commission, the team will examine Jersey’s regulation of banks, funds, insurance, securities and trust company business, in addition to its anti-money laundering defences. They will benchmark Jersey against standards published by international standard setting bodies such as the Financial Action Task Force on money laundering and the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

The Chairman and staff of the Jersey FSC have participated with these bodies in the process of setting standards and developing evaluation methodologies. Staff of the Jersey FSC have participated as experts in IMF led evaluations of other centres as well.

The IMF team will discuss regulatory standards with staff of the Commission and, in addition, will meet representatives of the finance industry and may choose to visit individual institutions.

As part of their examination of Jersey’s anti-money laundering defences, the team will meet the Attorney General and the Head of the Joint Financial Crimes Unit.