In recent weeks I have worked in Guernsey and Jersey and I am rather fond of both places – not least because they have rather strict AML regimes, and you know how I feel about taking AML jolly seriously. Despite their best efforts, both G and J are frequently the target of finger-pointing by larger jurisdictions, who call them “offshore” as an insult rather than as a geographical observation, and who make no secret of the fact that they consider the islands to be afloat on a sea of dodgy money. This is, of course, entirely erroneous, and those of us living in the UK, with the billions being laundered here each year, Shud No Better.
That said, none of us is perfect, and both islands – along with their northern cousin, the Isle of Man – could put yet more effort into improving their international reputation. I speak of the Corruption Perceptions Index. I like this index, as regular readers will know: it is well-researched, clearly presented, promptly delivered – and does what it says on the tin. It does not pretend to measure corruption, which is all but impossible to do: instead, it records perceptions of corruption and ranks accordingly. In the latest iteration – published in January 2019 – there are 180 countries in the CPI. This means that, depending on how you count disputed territories, there are at least seventeen countries missing – and among them are Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
This is a shame for all three as – I imagine – were they to be included in the CPI, they would score well. Whatever others might say about them, no-one has suggested that they are riddled with corruption (or at least, not in my hearing – and I’m always listening…). Scoring well on the CPI is a fillip to international trade, not least because it reassures those who do risk assessments in the financial and related sectors that money flowing through you is more reliable, and that your PEPs can be trusted not to pilfer from the public purse. So what to do? Well, the CPI is in fact a composite index of thirteen source “surveys and expert assessments” by such august institutions as the World Bank and the Economist Intelligence Unit – this is to give a broad view of the world and to retain objectivity. And to be included in the CPI your jurisdiction has to appear in at least three of the thirteen sources. J, G and IoM appear in only two – bah! If I were running the show in any of the three, I’d look at getting my island appraised quick smart by a third survey or expert assessment – and then I’d appear on the CPI (in a good, high position) and (even better) be able to blow a raspberry at the other two islands.