Financial services – Jersey senator may quit early

The government’s attempt to ‘clean up’ regulation of the financial services business in the Channel Islands claimed its first victim last week.

The chairman of Jersey’s newly created financial services regulator, senator Frank Walker, said he could be forced to quit his post in the next few months, following criticism by the Home Office that his other role, as president of the island’s finance committee, caused a conflict of interest.

Walker’s deputy, Richard Syvret, the first director-general of the financial services commission, has said he will retire at the end of the year.

Walker’s almost certain early departure follows critical comments made by Andrew Edwards, the former Treasury director conducting a Home Office review of the finance laws of the Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

Edwards, who is due to report in the autumn, criticised Walker’s dual role – as chief regulator he would oversee decisions made by the island’s main financial services committee, which he chairs.

‘He has indicated the presidency of finance and economics and the chairmanship of the FSC being held by the same person might not be seen as total independence for the commission,’ said Walker.

Walker is a key player on Jersey’s political scene and it is unlikely he would consider relinquishing the presidency of the finance committee, which has political responsibility for the island’s #230bn finance centre activities.

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