‘Purported’ underscores the anxiety
Thursday 31st October 2013, 4:00PM GMT.
GUERNSEY’S deputy chief minister was wheeled out in the States yesterday to update members on the difficulties that the Channel Islands Stock Exchange finds itself in on the wrong end of a hostile investigation by the financial services regulator.
It was him rather than the chief minister who is, to put it mildly, conflicted.
As a statement, however, what the DCM delivered was a damp squib. Deputies have been better – and more promptly – informed by reading this newspaper.
Nevertheless, what was said reinforced the potential harm that the CISX affair holds not just for the exchange and the regulator but also for government itself.
The exchange was facilitated by the predecessor to the Policy Council, which retained a special share in order to ensure it never turned around and bit them. So ministers assumed the responsibility through that share to protect the island’s wider interests and, as the statement said, ‘The Policy Council’s over-riding interest in the CISX is one of reputation.’
Whether it has exercised any duty of care in that regard is clearly debatable. But what is not at issue is the man elected via a swift rule change to represent the island at the highest level – and presumably at times of most need – cannot do so in this matter.
He also faces but is not answering questions about what he did or did not do about fairly basic governance issues at the exchange while a director (and thus with an obligation to ask the right questions) and/or while a commissioner and then chairman of the regulator supposedly overseeing the conduct of the CISX.
The statement by his deputy yesterday referred to the ‘purported’ damning report on the CISX which led to it closing and then reopening to new business and which we ran last week.
If he or his Policy Council officers really haven’t read it, copies can be provided.
But the DCM’s wording is significant: there are an awful lot of people in high places desperate not to be holding the parcel when the music stops and when the Guernsey Financial Services
Commission finally completes its investigation.