Addressing an event organised by the Isle of Man Fund Management Association, Mr Bell pointed to 28 years of unbroken economic growth and the impressive performance of many new and established business sectors. He added that creating the right environment to stimulate further dynamic growth was 'at the very top' of the Isle of Man Government's priorities.
'We are committed to driving investment to the Island, allowing entrepreneurs to flourish and enabling the whole Island to be seen as an enterprise zone for incubating new business. In short, we intend to be an ally of business.'
The annual Funds Luncheon at the prestigious Clothworkers' Hall in London was attended by key business contacts, lawyers, financial advisers and brokers. The audience heard that the continued success of the Island's financial services sector helped to underpin diversification into new areas such as the shipping and aircraft registries, clean technology, e-business and high-tech manufacturing.
The Chief Minister also emphasised the Isle of Man's positive contribution to the UK and wider global economy and its efforts to strengthen ties with potential partners in Europe, China, the Middle East and Russia, among others.
'The Island is well positioned to foster the UK's growth strategy and to strengthen the UK's commercial relationships with emerging economies. We recognise the importance of global co-operation and the need for countries, large and small, to develop even closer working relationships.'
The Chief Minister highlighted the value of the funds industry to the Manx economy and outlined the steps being taken by the Isle of Man Government to ensure the successful managers of tomorrow are supported today, including grants for new funds businesses and a flexible regulatory approach. He also underlined the Island's status as a co-operative and responsible country that provided political stability, and a long-standing policy of positive engagement with international standards.
'The Isle of Man has much to offer, not just the funds sector but business as a whole. We have a highly-skilled and professional workforce, a world-class telecoms infrastructure, a simple and competitive tax system and pragmatic, business-friendly regulations. The Island is an ideal location for doing business, not just at the heart of the British Isles but also on the doorstep of Europe.'
The Funds Luncheon also heard from international investor and entrepreneur Jim Mellon who provided an insight into the direction of investment markets and effective strategies in a volatile market.