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Advisers bemused as Channel Islands miss out on top rating

Advisers have hit out at the European Union for its decision not to place Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man on the white list of countries with top anti-money-laundering standards.

The British Crown dependencies have been placed on the “inter- mediate list” of financial centres which “may meet compliance regulations”.

Thornton Associates managing director Sharon Sutton, who is based in the Isle of Man, says: “This is disappointing and seems unjustified, given the regulation we operate under here.”

Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man all fell short on the EU draft anti-money-laundering list despite Jersey getting a 76 per cent compliant rating from the International Montetary Fund after its last visit in 2003.

The list deems countries such as Russia, Argentina and Mexico to have a higher level of control on money laundering than the British Crown trio.

Local authorities claim they have conquered transparency problems that had affected the regions in the past through work undertaken with the Treasury regarding compliance rules.

Offshore law firm Ogier partner and head of private client & trusts Steven Meiklejohn says: “There is some disappointment but there is also the feeling from the island that both Jersey and Guernsey will be upgraded following the results of the IMF’s recent visit later this year.”

Sutton says: “IFAs operating here are as equally qualified as advisers in the UK in terms of regulation from the FSA so it is not a case of lower-quality dealing. It seems that we have been tarred with the same brush as some of the other offshore jurisdictions who are less vigilant on compliance.”

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