Jersey recognised as an approved jurisdiction by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange
On 13 October 2009, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange ("HKSE") announced that Jersey incorporated companies can now be listed on the HKSE, as Jersey is now considered to be an approved jurisdiction for such purposes. Jersey being recognised in this way presents an excellent opportunity for investors wishing to take advantage of the benefits of using a Jersey company, as summarised below, and also gives a great opportunity to raise capital in the Asian markets.
Jersey joins a select group of jurisdictions which are recognised as an approved jurisdiction by the HKSE.
In considering whether Jersey should be an approved jurisdiction, the HKSE had to be satisfied that a Jersey incorporated company offers at least an equivalent standard of shareholder protection to a Hong Kong incorporated company. Jersey shareholders' rights and corporate governance in general are substantially similar to those for a UK incorporated company and the Takeover Code applies to Jersey incorporated companies and now applies on a statutory basis following the introduction of the Companies (Takeover and Mergers Panel) (Jersey) Law 2008.
Jersey is already recognised as an accepted jurisdiction for both a primary London Stock Exchange ("LSE") listing and a listing on the AIM market of the LSE as well as other stock exchanges including New York and Euronext in Amsterdam. This further recognition should also work to promote dual listings.
The advantages and benefits of using a Jersey incorporated company for listing are as follows:
- Jersey is a well recognised, well regulated and politically stable international finance centre.
- The flexibility and speed of the Jersey regulatory regime is second to none - Jersey companies can be incorporated within 4 hours using the "fast track" incorporation process. The incorporation process and enquiry stage with the Jersey regulator is assisted by the more personal service afforded by a smaller jurisdiction where issues can be discussed face to face.
- Company friendly tax regime - No death duties, capital gains tax, gift, inheritance or capital transfer taxes are levied in Jersey. In addition no stamp duty is payable on the transfer of shares in a Jersey incorporated company. A Jersey incorporated company is subject to a zero rate of corporate tax (provided it is treated as resident in Jersey and does not fall within the category of bank, utility company or other regulated business).
- A person not resident in Jersey is not liable to Jersey income tax on dividends or interest paid by a Jersey company.
- The Companies (Jersey) Law 1991 (as amended), provides a great deal of flexibility, for instance AGM's can be called on 14 days notice, the making of distributions have been simplified, financial assistance rules have been removed, treasury shares have been introduced and companies are now able to use the PLC moniker.
- Shares in a Jersey incorporated company may be held and traded in an un-certificated form. Jersey shares settle through CREST in the same way as a UK incorporated company..