Another year has flown by, a year impacted by external events. I would like to share our highlights from 2022.

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We were very positive at the beginning of the year, looking forward to a return to relative normality in the world, with the economy growing again after the end of many pandemic related restrictions. Sadly, normal is not a word anyone will ever use to describe 2022.

Conflict in Europe led to a significant reset in international relations, economic upheaval, and turmoil on the energy markets. That, coupled with other ongoing international Covid and economic issues, have highlighted the fragility of international supply chains. Turbulence in the UK has not helped either. All in all we have seen energy prices soaring, interest rates increasing to levels not seen for a generation and general market instability. All of which has impacted us here on the Island, from a personal and corporate perspective.  

Turning to our activity in 2022, Finance Isle of Man has three principal roles – working with stakeholders to support new projects and new initiatives; promotion of our diverse sector; and ensuring that we feed into all relevant areas of IoM Government policy. Despite the tensions in the world we have been pleased to deliver significant successes in each of these areas.

In terms of new projects our principal focus has been on Fintech, and more specifically Insurtech. The Insurance sector is the largest component of the Manx economy, so it made sense for us to base our first Fintech project in that sector.

While this project commenced in 2021, 2022 saw significant steps forward, most visibly in the launch of the Insurtech Accelerator Programme in September. This has brought a cohort of seven international scale up businesses to the Island to work with our Insurance community. We are already seeing really positive business ideas coming out of the programme, and business solutions which could easily extend far beyond just insurance. 2023 will see the conclusion of the accelerator programme, but we are already looking at options for the future and the possibility of a second cohort later in the year.

Our next priority is to successfully launch the Fintech Innovation Challenge – a collaboration between Digital Isle of Man, Finance Isle of Man, the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority and supported by Deloitte. Global participants are invited to enter the competition by providing solutions to specific problems in order to support the growth and application of Fintech across the Isle of Man. This is a unique opportunity for participating teams to work with government, the regulator and businesses in a leading digital hub, and scale up solutions, ready for the global market.

Another project we are developing is around Employee Benefits, building on the Island’s fantastic reputation in the International Pension industry.  The Isle of Man is home to leading providers of International Pension Plans and insurance related group protection products, employee share plans, international payroll and employee wellbeing specialists. Additionally, there are companies from all economic sectors with international HR and employee benefits concerns across the globe.

In August 2022 a new branch of the International Employee Benefits Association has been formed in the Isle of Man reflecting the importance of international employee benefits in the jurisdiction. The official launch event was held on the 20th of October with IEBA Chairperson Issiah Sakhabuth attending to officially launch the local branch.

In addition to the IEBA branch we have also established the Employee Benefits Isle of Man Cluster; this includes a wide-ranging group of companies operating in this sector. The main objective of the Cluster is to promote the Isle of Man as a centre of excellence for all aspects of employee benefits.

2022 promotional activities were largely focused on UK and international visits and events. Our programme included London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Singapore, Bahrain, Switzerland, South Africa and Dubai. All of our events have been planned and delivered with the input and co-operation of industry stakeholders and we are looking forward to a wider programme in 2023.

Looking at South Africa in a little more detail. Over the past 18 months we have been working with a group of local businesses with significant interest in South Africa, they have collectively built a regular programme of events known locally as the Indaba. As this group grows so does the scope of activity in South Africa, and in October Chief Minister Alfred Cannan accompanied the Indaba delegation and was a keynote speaker at several events highlighting the many reasons to do business in the Island.  It was great to be able to support in this way and we look forward to two more Indaba roadshows in 2023.

In terms of supporting development of Government policy and priorities relevant to our sector, possibly the most challenging aspect of 2022 domestically has been the significant increase in job vacancies within our sector. We are pleased that Tynwald has supported a new economic strategy that will have as a focus efforts to grow the working population. We have fed into multiple aspects of the proposed workforce and skills strategy, and will continue to support our sector in this important area.

Other activity on the policy front has included co-ordinating an industry working party to support a Treasury project to update the Island’s Insolvency legislation and regulations. Key policy aspects were recently subject of public consultation, and we look forward to significant progress in 2023.

Looking at the latest data we can see that our Financial and Professional services sector has been able, largely, to weather recent storms and I’m pleased to see that Financial and Professional Services now accounts for 48% of GDP.

So, as one year comes to an end, another begins. We are an Island of innovation and I am confident that our sector will continue to evolve and grow. Finance Isle of Man remains committed to supporting our sector and promoting the Isle of Man on the international stage. I look forward to new projects, new opportunities and new partnerships in 2023.


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