Guernsey, Europe's largest captive centre, is the venue for RISK 2000. The conference will be held in the island's capital of St Peter Port on 28 September 28, and about 200 delegates are expected to attend.
RISK 2000 is one of a new breed of conferences which focus on fulfilling their aims in as short a time as possible. Delegates will, if they so wish, be able to pack three different elements into the one day so that they need spend only a short time away from the office for a large potential return.
While RISK 2000 is aimed, naturally enough, chiefly at the risk industry, it is by no means shutting its doors to those outside the world of risk and insurance. On the morning of the conference, an “introduction to captives” forum is being held, which should be edifying for those outside the industry who want to learn more about it.
This reflects the efforts made by the conference organisers, the Guernsey Insurance Company Management Association (GICMA), who are trying to expand their membership and make their association more inclusive. It also emphasises the ethos behind GICMA that, as well as being a voice for the captive industry in the island, it also sees itself as an educator, and in time a lobbyist for the island's interests. “The challenge for Guernsey,” said Malcolm Cutts-Watson, the incoming GICMA president, “is to develop the skills-set necessary for innovative financial product design. This will require closer liaison with Guernsey's other financial sectors and will create opportunities for all parties.”
At the introduction to captives forum, delegates will learn all the fundamentals about captives, including formation, regulation and domicile issues, captive accounting, taxation and what the future holds for them in the island. The forum will also cover developments in protected cell companies (PCCs). The wealth of expertise in Guernsey means that newcomers to the industry wanting a crash-course in captive insurance should come away with a good grounding in the subject.
The morning captives session is, however, just one part of a full day. The conference proper starts after lunch with a programme that is designed to be stimulating, informative and busy. The keynote speaker is Jeremy Meyrick-Jones, director of group risk management at BAe Systems, who will be addressing delegates on the change in risk culture within BAe and the benefits that it has reaped. Speakers on two other “hot” topics, alternative risk transfer (ART) and what opportunities and dangers may exist for the risk industry within Eastern Europe will follow, before the conference is concluded with a debate that goes to the heart of risk management. In “Is the traditional risk manager doomed?” delegates will be asked to participate in a discussion about what the future holds for the risk manager. Gordon Dickson of Glasgow Caledonian University will speak for the motion, arguing that the internal auditor is likely to take on much of the risk manager's work. Mark Butterworth, group insurance risk manager for Prudential plc and the immediate past chairman of the UK association of risk managers (AIRMIC) will argue that the adaptable risk manager can continue to thrive.
At RISK 2000, the industry will make the most of the networking opportunities that are available and doubtless much of the talk will be about the future. Most people working in captives in the island are bullish about the next few years. Mr Cutts-Watson sees PCCs as the key. “They are low-cost vehicles for insurance risk securitisation and other transformer transactions. If Guernsey is to continue to thrive, then it must offer a broader range of products, beyond just captives.”
PCCs fit the bill exactly, being relatively cheap, easy to establish and flexible in design and application, and Guernsey has seen significant new business as a result of introducing its PCC legislation. The island is now home to 107 cells administered through 22 PCCs and this has been achieved in just three years.
Once the business of the day is completed, delegates and guests will move from the conference centre to the St Pierre Park Hotel where the popular annual GICMA dinner is being held. Diners will need no assistance to network here and, with the acclaimed Simon Rose as the after-dinner speaker, the day should finish well.
All three parts of RISK 2000 should underline the importance of the industry to the island - 29 different captive management companies (and a number of self managed operations) with, between them, over 380 clients under management with gross assets of over £8 billion and rising. More importantly perhaps, the conference will play its part in keeping Guernsey's risk industry on track and hopefully will be the start of even better things to come.
Tel: +44 (0) 1481 246700.