Weekly Client Update – 6th October 2023

Market Update

FTSE 100: London’s FTSE 100 is up 0.34%.

European markets: European markets are higher today with shares in Germany leading the region. The DAX is up 0.64% while France’s CAC 40 is up 0.44%

US markets: The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 116.07 points, or 0.35% to 33,666.34. The S&P 500 added 0.59% to 4,299.70 — just shy of the key 4,300 level. The Nasdaq Composite jumped about 0.83% to 13,201.28.

Asian markets: Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Hang Seng gained 1.68% and the Shanghai Composite rose 0.10%. The Nikkei 225 lost 0.26%.

Emerging markets: Gamer Pakistan Inc., the Pakistani-based esports company, is preparing for its inaugural initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq exchange. This marks a significant milestone for Pakistani entities. The company intends to present 1.7 million shares with a price range of $4 to $5 per share, with the goal of raising up to $8.5 million and attaining a valuation of $128 million.

Island could lose millions after Jersey Reds’ collapse

The Island stands to lose millions of pounds a year in sports tourism revenue following the collapse of Jersey Reds, it has emerged – as questions grow over why the club was not given further government funding.

A former politician who held responsibility for sport and is now the chair of the Jersey Sports Council, Steve Pallett, said the government – which pumped hundreds of thousands of pounds into the club in recent months – should be ‘careful about writing it off’ given the potential economic benefit to the Island. And a travel expert has said the loss of Jersey Reds was ‘going to hit the visitor economy’.

On Thursday morning the club announced that it had ceased trading and that liquidation ‘appears inevitable’ after talks with current and future investors fell apart. Later that day, Assistant Economic Development Minister Lucy Stephenson, who has responsibility for sport, revealed that the government had recently provided Jersey Reds with £370,000 in emergency funding.

She explained that the grants were issued to buy Jersey Reds time to find private investment, but that the government ‘could not commit’ to giving them more money due to other demands on the public purse ‘and in fairness to other sports and businesses in the Island’.

Mr Pallett said his heart went out to the players, coaches, staff and other affected individuals. ‘It is going to have a huge impact. Like everybody else I’m disappointed and shocked that it has happened so early in the season,’ he continued, although he noted that the club had been ‘near’ to similar situations in the past. He acknowledged that £370,000 was ‘a lot of money’, but stressed that the grant should also be viewed in the context of its economic benefits.

Robert Mackenzie, managing director of CI Travel Group, said the government needed to make ‘absolutely sure’ that it was not possible to keep Jersey Reds going ‘until they are able to realise further funding’ – although he acknowledged that this may have been the case.

‘It is clear that, at the end of the day, Jersey Reds brought thousands of visitors to the Island,’ he explained. ‘To lose that business, it is going to hit the visitor economy. ’In a statement, Visit Jersey said: ‘The Jersey Reds have played an important role in attracting sports tourism to the Island, have helped to raise Jersey’s profile internationally, and offered a valuable experience that was enjoyed by visitors and Islanders alike.’

Chair of the Jersey Reds, Mark Morgan, previously said that research suggested the club’s value to the Island was around £5m per year. This, he explained, included the tax-paying staff they employed, GST on events and alcohol sold, as well as the value generated through players and visitors travelling to and from the Island and enjoying local hospitality. An independent report carried out several years ago – and referenced in the 2020-2023 Government Plan – placed the figure at ‘up to £2.1 million a year’.

Pro and anti assisted dying groups react to debate delay

Opposing sides in the debate about whether Jersey should move ahead with plans to introduce assisted dying have given a mixed response to news that a further States Assembly debate on the matter has been delayed.

Health Minister Karen Wilson announced on Monday that the debate on the proposed new law, supported in principle by States Members in November 2021, would now take place during the third quarter of 2024, rather than in February as originally planned.

Deputy Wilson’s decision was welcomed by opponents of assisted dying – Our Duty of Care Jersey and the Jersey Dying Well Group – but these organisations also questioned whether the minister was “only now fully understanding the scale and implications of the topic”.

More trenchant criticism came from End of Life Jersey, the body which has lobbied extensively for a change to the law in recent years. Chairman Michael Talibard said: “I am very disheartened and disappointed by this, why the minister thinks she has the right to obstruct the will of the Assembly. “Her first bad decision was to set up the so-called ethics review – this has always been about ethics, which were part of the debate, opinion polls and the establishment of a citizens jury.”

Mr Talibard said the minister was “already widely seen as obstructing a legitimate democratic process”. He added: “I know from my exchanges within the Assisted Dying Coalition that this view is shared all around the British Isles, by My Death My Decision, the Humanists, and many other bodies – it seems to me that she lacks the courage and the competence needed to do her job.”

The opposing view was expressed on behalf of Our Duty of Care Jersey and the Jersey Dying Well Group by the latter group’s chairman, retired GP Dr John Stewart-Jones, consultant psychiatrist Dr Rachel Ruddy and GP Dr Andreas Melchior.

In a statement, the trio said: “The decision is an important and welcome development as it allows more time for politicians, especially the 21 newly elected States Members who played no part in the previous discussions, to properly understand the complexities of introducing assisted suicide and euthanasia into healthcare.”

“Since the vote in principle in favour of assisted dying in November 2021, there have been significant amounts of new information of the growing harmful effects of introducing this into law, especially in Canada, which legalised medical assistance in dying by euthanasia and assisted suicide in 2016.

Since then, there has been a continual erosion of the so-called safeguards that were initially set in place – this is especially relevant to Jersey, as the proposals closely mirror the Canadian “twin-track” approach for terminal and non-terminal illnesses.

Jersey motor neurone disease charity delighted by funding for nurse

Reinstated government funding for a specialist motor neurone disease nurse has come as “a relief” to the charity which previously paid for the role.

The Health Department withdrew funding for a nurse in March this year, with Motor Neurone Disease Association Jersey stepping in. The position, first created by Health in 2020, has become increasingly vital as the number of MND patients increased with the pandemic, going from around four or five patients in the Island five years ago to a peak of 17.

There are currently 13 Islanders with motor neurone disease – a rapidly progressing, fatal disease that affects nerves to the extent that muscles no longer work. Patients have a failing body but their brain is not affected. After initially promising funding until the end of the year, the government later made the decision to make financial support permanent.

Health Minister Karen Wilson said: “I can assure patients that funding for the motor neurone disease nurse specialist will be permanently awarded. The MND nurse is a hugely important clinical role and highly valued by patients, families and carers. I am committed to ensuring patients with MND are supported and I hope my statement provides additional reassurance for patients in that regard.”

The future of the role had remained uncertain, with MNDA Jersey meeting with States Members twice this year to discuss the future of the role. The nurse “was being told week to week whether she was still in the role”, according to Don Connolly, chair of the charity.

The government funding, which starts from November, was drawn from existing budgets, according to the Health Department. This increase in MND patients since the pandemic reflects UK trends, although experts do not know the cause, according to Mr Connolly.

“It’s such a devastating disease,” Mr Connolly said. When the specialist MND nurse was introduced, “the care of the people in the Island was just transformed”, he said. The role has been filled since the start by Pat MacFarlane, who Mr Connolly described as having “such compassion towards patients and perfect expertise … that we really felt we couldn’t lose her”.

“Having a specialist nurse who can go directly to people’s homes was vital and a huge source of comfort to people with the condition”, Mr Connolly said.

Assistant Health Minister Malcolm Ferey said: “We are delighted to have secured funding to support this incredible service. We realise how vital this support for Islanders with motor neurone disease is, and we are happy that we can continue this great work with the support of the MNDA.”

Direct flights between Jersey and the Isle of Man to be trialled

Direct flights between Jersey and the Isle of Man are to be trialled by Blue Islands from next month. The airline yesterday announced that the service, which will see flights operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 November until 7 December, follows “engagement with the local business community”.

The chief executive of Blue Islands, Rob Veron, said that if the trial was successful, a full scheduled service could be launched “early in 2024”.

“We’re excited to trial direct flights to the Isle of Man. Through surveys and discussions with key businesses in each island we have some insights into the likely market requirement. The next stage in assessing the viability of such services is this five-week trial,” he explained.

“Blue Islands is committed to providing services that bring strategic benefit to the islands. We’re launching this trial with a number of cornerstone corporate partners, who have each taken an advance allocation of seats, enabling us to explore the longer-term viability of a year-round service. We thank everyone who has provided feedback and the organisations that have committed to purchase seats in advance. This is a unique collaboration that ensures the viability of the trial, which we hope will enable a longer-term scheduled service.”

Joe Moynihan, the chief executive of Jersey Finance, said that numerous Jersey firms had “well-established connections with the Isle of Man” and that improved connectivity could benefit the Island. We keenly await the results of this trial of the route’s long-term viability,” he added.

Matt Thomas, the chief executive of Ports of Jersey, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Blue Islands to launch an Isle of Man service, providing valuable connectivity to link our two islands. “We really appreciate the input from key stakeholders who have explained how valuable this service would be to our business community and look forward to the trial being successful.”

Identity card day-trip travel for French people extended

A scheme allowing French people to visit the Island on day trips using their national identity cards has been extended to the end of next summer, the Home Affairs Minister has announced.

Deputy Helen Miles said the decision was made following “a significant increase” in day trips being made from France to Jersey since the launch of the pilot programme in April. The initiative, initially due to conclude this year, was introduced to combat a marked drop in the number of French visitors following Brexit, after which anyone entering the Island from France was required to show a passport.

Last year, External Relations Minister Philip Ozouf said the number of visitors from the country had dropped off a “cliff edge” as a result, noting that only about 50% of French nationals owned passports. However, under the scheme – which will now be in operation until 30 September 2024 – they are allowed to use their identity card to visit Jersey on a day-return trip.

Deputy Miles said: “We have seen a significant increase in day trips from France to Jersey since the launch of the scheme in April 2023.

“Our aim is not only to boost our local economy and ferry operators but also to foster our cultural and historical connections with France.”

In April, Deputy Miles revealed that the initiative was the product of lengthy conversations with the UK government, involving Deputy Ozouf, an external relations team in London, as well as a UK-based Common Travel Area team in “daily contact” with Jersey Customs and Immigration.

Deputy Montfort Tadier – president of the Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie Jersey Branch – described this week’s news as “positive”. “It is reassuring to know that we have the flexibility to make this type of decision,” he added.

“If we show that we have the ability to control our borders and know who is coming in and out, that may offer some reassurances to the UK authorities. ”In a statement, the government yesterday said that all passengers arriving in Jersey were subject to “robust immigration controls”.

They added: “Jersey Customs and Immigration Service has ensured that safeguards are in place with the ferry companies to account for all travellers, recognising the importance of protecting the integrity of the border as a member of the Common Travel Area. “It’s important to note that while this scheme is in place for French nationals, all other travellers are required to use a valid passport for travel.”

Jersey set for potentially record-breaking blast of heat

Jersey is in for a blast of potentially record-breaking hot weather. Following the warmest September since records began in 1894, temperatures are set to soar again this weekend, giving Islanders a couple of bonus beach days in an unseasonably balmy autumn.

It follows a late heatwave in southern Europe which has seen highs of over 30°C in recent days. Although meteorologists do not attribute individual weather events to climate change, the unusually warm weather will be seen by some as another example of the rapidly rising global temperatures.

Simone Phillips, duty forecaster at Jersey Met, said: “We have high pressure over us at the moment and that will shift towards eastern Europe and will pull up a lot of warm air from the Continent. “We are looking at highs of about 24°C on Saturday and 25°C on Sunday, although it could be a couple of degrees either side of that.

“It looks like the temperatures will be staying in the 20s at least for the start of next week.”

If temperatures are higher than currently forecast this weekend, the temperature record for October – 26.9°C set on the first day of the month in 2011 – could be broken.

“There is a chance that we could break the record. I wouldn’t say it’s probable, but the chance is there,” said Ms Phillips. Following the end of an often cool and wet meteorological summer on the last day of August, Jersey has seen days of warm and often sunny conditions, with last month’s average temperature of 19.6°C sitting well above the long-term September average of 16.6°C, and 0.8°C above the previous record set in 1949.

The extra warmth also helped to keep sea temperatures about 1°C higher than average, peaking at close to 20°C.