Weekly Client Update – 8th December

Market update

UK markets: The FTSE 100 index opened up 18.77 points, 0.3%, at 7,532.49. The FTSE 250 was up 57.82 points, 0.3%, at 18,676.56, and the AIM All-Share was up 1.82 points, 0.3%, at 722.68.

European markets: In European equities on Friday, the CAC 40 in Paris was up 0.5%, while the DAX 40 in Frankfurt was up 0.2%.

US markets: In the US yesterday, Wall Street ended higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.2%, the S&P 500 up 0.8%, while artificial intelligence optimism sent the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite up 1.4%.

Asian markets: Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Shanghai Composite gained 0.11%, while the Nikkei 225 led the Hang Seng lower. They fell 1.68% and 0.15% respectively.

Emerging markets: This year, numerous individuals express apprehensions regarding investing in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) tracking broad emerging markets. While some cite fundamental concerns related to Chinese stocks, others emphasise national security issues. Notably, bipartisan legislation has been introduced to address potential threats. Coincidentally, on the 82nd anniversary of the Pearl Harbour attack, a new ETF associated with these concerns commenced trading on the Nasdaq.

Memorial service held a year on from tragedies

A memorial service was held on Thursday evening at the Town Church to remember the 13 Islanders who died in twin disasters which hit Jersey a year ago.

Family members and friends of those who lost their lives in the sinking of the L’Ecume II trawler and explosion at Haut du Mont sat alongside dignitaries, emergency services personnel and others affected by the tragic events of 8 and 10 December.

The Bailiff, Sir Timothy Le Cocq, said that the Island had “mourned together” in the wake of the tragedies and that it was important to come together to remember the lives lost and support those left behind. “Each of us knows why we are here.

We have either suffered a great personal loss, are supporting those who have, or we are responding as a community, showing solidarity with our friends, neighbours and fellow Islanders who were hit by two tragedies in December 2022,” Sir Timothy told the congregation.

The service, led by the Dean of Jersey, the Very Rev Mike Keirle, also featured readings by Chief Minister Kristina Moore and the Constable of St Helier, Simon Crowcroft. States Members, government staff and emergency services workers are all set to take part in minute silences at various locations across the Island at 12pm on Friday and on Sunday.

Plans to make it “less convenient” and more expensive to park in St Helier town centre

The government has announced plans to “make the Island a little less about the car” and “manage down” driving in the town centre – by making it “less convenient” and more expensive to park.

Speaking following the release of a report on sustainable transport policy, Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet said it would be “naïve to believe that everyone will be able to give up their car” but that it was necessary to “find ways of ensuring that remaining ones are able to park without having to visit or pass through the centre of town”.

Commuter parking, Deputy Binet explained to the JEP yesterday after he had tried to find a parking space, could be moved to the ring road and the outskirts of town to reduce the dominance of vehicles in the centre of St Helier .And parking in these outskirt areas would be incentivised through differences in pricing .

New figures in the government report, entitled “Sustainable Transport Policy: Next Steps”, also reveal that there are 4.7 million passenger journeys a year across the bus network and currently 2,247 electric vehicles in Jersey, as the Island attempts to slash its carbon emissions to “net zero” by 2050.

Setting out its sustainable transport priorities for the next three years, the government has also committed to the publication of a new road safety strategy in 2024, making it easier to cycle and walk in town, and creating more accessible, safer, covered waiting areas for bus users.

Writing in the report, Deputy Binet said: “Suitably combined, these measures should help make our island a little less about the car and more about an increased choice of transport – travelling sustainably and enjoying a less noisy, less congested, less frustrating network; one which supports communities, the local economy and a healthier population.”

However, there is currently no funding earmarked for implementing the so-called ‘priorities’ – and Deputy Binet described them as “more longer term” and “concepts at this moment in time”. On parking, the report states: “We will be using the provision, pricing and restrictions on parking to manage down demand for travel by car.

On whether the priorities had funding, Deputy Binet said: “We’re trying to get some proper budgets together, and we are looking to the Climate Emergency Fund as a possibility, but this is all ongoing.”

He said that there would be “various consultations” with Islanders before changes were made – and the report commits to supporting “where possible” the newly formed Parish of St Helier Roads Committee’s Parking Working Group. More detailed plans for changes to parking in St Helier will “form the basis of another report, hopefully, in the not-too-distant future”, he said.

He also reiterated that work was under way “to ensure that evidence-based decisions can be taken to facilitate the use of e-scooters; a task that will also involve the development and adoption of appropriate legislation”. “Hopefully, they can soon become a safe and accessible means of transport,” he added.

Politician’s controversial decision to dismiss major St Helier development quashed

A politician’s controversial decision to dismiss plans for a major development in St Helier has been quashed. Developers Le Masurier had submitted plans to transform 2.5 acres of land it owns between Broad Street and Commercial Street. The firm’s application for “Les Sablons” was refused by the Planning Committee last December – a decision the company appealed against, making its case to an independent planning inspector earlier this year.

The inspector recommended that the appeal should succeed, and planning permission should be granted, but Assistant Environment Minister Hilary Jeune rejected the advice. In an unusual move, Chief Minister Kristina Moore criticised Deputy Jeune’s decision, saying she was “extremely disappointed” to learn that the project had been rejected, particularly given that it has been recommended for approval by an independent planning inspector.

In a statement released today, the government said that the Deputy’s decision had now been quashed. “The Minister for the Environment has conceded the appeal and therefore the decision to dismiss the planning application appeal for the development of Les Sablons has been quashed and will now be remitted back to the Minister for the Environment for further consideration.”

Low take-up of Jersey’s EV hire scheme

A scheme which provided additional credit for subscribers to use when hiring electric cars, vans or bikes performed “very much under target”, the Assistant Environment Minister has revealed.

During a quarterly hearing of the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel yesterday, Deputy Hilary Jeune, the minister with responsibility for tackling climate change, said that only 71 Islanders had used the scheme, a figure which fell far below the target of 500.This was despite the government spending £5,000 on marketing, a sum which Deputy Jeune described as “substantial” .

Deputy Steve Luce, chair of the panel, described the figures as a “really serious shortfall in our expectations” and demanded answers from the assistant minister. Under the pilot scheme, the government had partnered with EVie, the on-demand, shared mobility platform, to provide additional credit for subscribers to use on electric car, van and bike hire, with the aim of encouraging Islanders to make more use of low-carbon methods of transport.

Between August and November last year, Islanders could purchase £25 of credit and receive an extra £75, giving them a total of £100 (£50 from government and £25 from EVie).The credit, which lasted for a month, could be used for trips in many of EVie’s cars and vans, and on the yellow e-bikes.

Deputy Jeune said that it was “too early” to identify the reason for the scheme’s poor take-up but that analysis was needed to assess what could be improved.

She added: “It’s important to remember this was only a trial, and a test, to see the appetite of the Jersey public to a subscription-based model. “We need more analysis to know whether that means it’s too early for changes of habit like this among the wider Jersey public. ”

A total of £25,000 from the Climate Emergency Fund was allocated to the scheme, along with £12,500 in credit from EVie.

Jersey’s Soup Kitchen returns next week to celebrate 25 years of fundraising

The Soup Kitchen celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, returning to the Royal Square next week to raise much-needed funds for a local homeless charity Carol singers will entertain the crowds on Tuesday and there will be over 37 soups on offer, with all money raised at the annual event donated to the Shelter Trust.

These include chicken, lobster with sweetcorn, cauliflower curry with coconut, and cream of winter cajun chicken They will be created by community groups and some of the Island’s top hotels and restaurants The event has to date raised more than £220,000 for the charity, which supports an average of 600 homeless people a year.

It is hoped that the funds raised this year will take the 25-year total to £250,000.Founder Michelle Cuthbert said: “When I look back at the birth of the Soup Kitchen in 1999, with five soups on a table in the Royal Square, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that it would grow so quickly and raise as much money and awareness of the homeless as it has.”

Dr Karen Kyd, wife of the Lieutenant-Governor, will serve the soup donated by Government House and open the Soup Kitchen by cutting a silver ribbon in celebration of the event’s anniversary. The Soup Kitchen is sponsored by LGT Wealth Management and organised by Shelter Trust supporters. Soup and bread will be on offer from 10.30am to 2pm and can be purchased for a minimum donation of £3.

Air Search team called to help locate milk container

The Channel Islands Air Search team helped track down a large milk container that was lost at sea this week. Seven containers fell overboard from a ship passing near Alderney in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Six were retrieved shortly afterwards, while the final one was located and recovered near the island thanks to the help of the volunteer aerial search team. John Fitzgerald, of the CIAS, said that the last container, which measured nine metres by three metres, could not be seen from the sea, so the search and rescue crew were asked to take to the sky to help find it by Guernsey’s Coastguard, following a request from French maritime safety body CROSS Joburg.

“As it posed a risk to shipping, we were asked if we could look in the area generated by the search-and-rescue software used by the maritime agencies,” Mr Fitzgerald explained. The team scanned an area of around 90 square miles to the south of Alderney, and located the box within 30 minutes.

“The crew found it quite quickly and reported its position to CROSS Jobourg,” Mr Fitzgerald said. “They sent a small vessel to attach a beacon so that it could be tracked until a suitable vessel could collect it.”

J99 registration plate and vintage car yours…if you have deep pockets

A vintage red Mustang convertible would always be likely to turn heads… even without an equally eye-catching number plate. Offers north of £200,000 are being invited for the classic Ford, which dates from 1964, and its accompanying registration: J99.

With two-figure “J-plates” having sold on several occasions for sums ranging between £73,000 and £103,000 between 2017 and 2021 – and on one occasion fetching £139,000 last year – it seems that the opening price could be realised.

The vendor, who is conducting the sale via a JEP advertisement – but who did not wish to be identified – said he believed the Mustang, one of the first of its type built between 1964 and 1966, could have commanded £80,000 had it been sold with a “normal” plate.“J99 should be an attractive plate for the right buyer,” he said.

“Having two digits the same should add extra appeal – 99 would be a good plate for an ice cream van, although it might be out of reach, unless they put the price of a cone up to £25.”

Having collected rare registration plates since the 1970s, the vendor said he had owned J99 for more than 40 years, and the Mustang, which has automatic power steering and disc brakes, since the late 1990s.

The record price for a registration plate at auction was achieved in 2020, when J4 – a plate that once belonged to the Lieutenant-Governor – was sold for £380,000.Bids for the car and its J-plate should be sent to J179, PO Box 582, JE4 8XQ.