2019 Budget – My initial thoughts, Michael Crowe Chief Executive, Finance Isle of Man

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A Budget of Confidence

What does this mean to Finance Isle of Man?

The 2019 budget shows support for enhancing on-Island communication, connectivity, transport infrastructure and environment which will help strengthen the Island’s reputation as a great place to live, work and visit and fits well with Finance Isle of Man’s own aim to promote and develop the Isle of Man’s significant financial and professional services industry and ensure its recognition as an international financial centre of excellence. In turn this will aid delivery of long-term sustainable economic growth to the Isle of Man.

I was very encouraged to also see some of Finance Isle of Man’s on-going and future projects mentioned within the budget, such as our continued innovation around Digital ID&V, potential new savings products and the on-going Isle of Man for Life campaign [a private/public sector partnership which promotes the life insurance and wealth management industry globally with strong messaging around the Isle of Man’s strength, security and stability] which we will continue to progress throughout 2019.

Uncertainty around Brexit is an ongoing potential threat but also may present opportunities to innovate and diversify. Grants from the Business Improvement Scheme will give support to on-Island businesses for transitions required for Brexit.  A top-up of the Brexit Fund to £2.5 million which will be very welcomed by industry as businesses explore options to continue to deliver their services post Brexit.

We are a highly regulated and well-regarded jurisdiction and as such continue with a zero tolerance approach to financial crime, it is therefore encouraging to see the increase in Customs & Excise’s budget ensures the Division is prepared for the UK’s exit from the EU and that the recommendations of MONEYVAL are fully incorporated into every day activity. In further support of our international obligations, this budget will establish the International Cooperation & Asset Recovery Team on a permanent basis allowing them to be resourced to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

Minister Cannan also announced a National Insurance Holiday Scheme aimed at attracting new working residents to the Island and to encourage the return of Manx-educated students which will attract more investment into the Island and grow our economy. The announcement follows the launch of the Department for Enterprise’sLocate Isle of Man strategy,’ which outlines plans for promotion of the Island as a special place to live and work in order to grow the number of economically active residents by 2021. We will look to work closely with Locate as we look to fill skills shortages across our industry by highlighting that the Island is a a diversified international financial centre offering a wide range of career options and a great place to live and work. The associated incentives for both employees, [for example, a relocating young professional taking a role with the financial services sector under the new scheme earning a £30,000 salary will take home £27,450 in their first year of living in the Island – £3,650 more than their UK counterparts earning the same salary who would keep £23,800.] and employers [who can still benefit the ‘Employee Relocation Incentive’ which provides employers funding of up to 20% towards an employee’s first year net salary, capped at £10,000 per position].

Investment in both on and off-island focused enhancements will not only increase our reputation with visitors but also the Island’s already high quality of life. On-Island, the budget promises considerable investment into a Douglas Promenade Walkway, initiatives to support the development of infrastructure, healthcare, schools, heritage and transport & communication links. Off-Island focused enhancements include, facilitation works to develop the Isle of Man Ferry Terminal in Liverpool and plans to develop the Airport Technology Gateway which will see the creation of a high quality landscaped business park at the airport.

I am confident that this budget gives us more tools to support the 400 plus strong financial and professional services companies that call the Isle of Man home and highlighting the Isle of Man as an international financial centre of excellence, an award winning jurisdiction and a committed member of the international finance community.


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