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Looking for an offbeat European holiday? This island has its own rules, language and vodka



It’s an island that is closer to France than to England — yet it is part of the British Isles. 

It’s home to miles of tunnels built during World War II — but by German rather than British soldiers.

And it has lower taxes than the U.K. and its own financial rules.

The island of Jersey, in the English Channel, is only five miles long and nine miles wide but has plenty for visitors to see, according to Amanda Burns, CEO of tourism agency Visit Jersey.

“We pack quite a big punch,” Burns told CNBC by phone. “What’s really interesting is … the geological uniqueness of the island, through to the history and the heritage,” she said.

Located about 120 miles from England — and 14 from France — Jersey attracts visitors who travel to the island via ferry or a short flight.

Quirky Jersey

Though English is mainly spoken, Jersey has its own language, which isn’t used anywhere else in the world. Jerriais, sometimes known as “Jersey French,” developed over several centuries and is still used on the island.

A recent tourism campaign that highlights Jersey’s quirks has made the island’s mainland European influence a point of attraction.

“Curiously Brit…(ish),” is how the campaign describes the island — “the air of British familiarity gives way to a curiously continental feel,” it continues.

Visitors are also encouraged to explore Jersey’s food, such as the island’s potatoes, called Jersey Royals.

The potatoes can be bought only in Jersey or on mainland Britain. Although there’s no official connection with Britain’s royal family, Jersey Royals had Protected Designation of Origin, or PDO, a label given by the EU to food products that have the strongest links to the place in which they are made. Since Brexit, the potatoes have been placed in a similar U.K. program.

Jersey Royal potatoes are available only in Jersey and the mainland of the United Kingdom.

Source: Visit Jersey

Jersey business owner Marcus Calvani founded a company on the odd-shaped Jersey Royals that don’t pass selling standards — he makes vodka with them, bottled under the name Fluke.

“It takes 11 kilos of Jersey Royals to make one bottle,” Calvani said. “It’s got a beautiful mouthfeel that’s … kind of silky and viscous. And the weird thing you get from it is a slight honeydew melon vanilla on the nose.”

Calvani borrowed the name from the potatoes’ original moniker: Jersey Royal Fluke, named when farmers were experimenting with growing the vegetable in the early 19th century, after the decline of cider orchards. Bottles will be available in the upscale department store Harrods later this year, priced at around £50 ($61) each.

Is Jersey part of the U.K.?

The short answer is no — but it is a “British Crown Dependency.”  

  • The relationship is explained on the British Royal Family’s website as follows: “There are three island territories within the British Isles that are known as Crown Dependencies; these are the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey which make up [the] Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man. The Crown Dependencies are not part of the United Kingdom, but are self-governing possessions of the British Crown.”
  • The Channel Islands formed part of the Duchy of Normandy in the 11th century — Normandy being a region in northern France — ruled by Henry I from 1106. Today, Queen Elizabeth II is referred to as the Duke of Normandy on the islands.
  • Jersey is self-governing, with its own rules and administrative systems. While it is not part of the United Kingdom, the British government does have responsibility for defending it as well as maintaining international relations.

History and Hogwarts

Jersey became a Crown Dependency in the year 1290, not long after Mont Orgueil Castle, on the island’s east coast, was constructed.

Burns described it as a “Hogwarts kind of castle,” referring to the fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter franchise. It sits above Gorey Harbour, which Burns called a “spectacular and iconic location.”

The 800-year-old Mont Orgueil Castle in Jersey, with The Moorings (blue building) in the foreground.

Source: The Moorings, Jersey

There are also ancient sites on the island, and in July, the Prince of Wales was named patron of La Cotte de St. Brelade, a settlement in southwest Jersey that was inhabited by Neanderthals up to 250,000 years ago.

More recently, Jersey was occupied by the Germans during World War II — the only part of the British Empire to be taken over by the Nazis — who built underground tunnels that travelers can visit.

The tunnels were created to protect the Germans from Allied air raids, and parts are open to the public between March and October.

Friendly competition

Another quirk of the small island is the good-humored competition between its east and west sides, according to hotelier Iselin Jones, who with her husband Matthew runs The Moorings Hotel and Restaurant, close to Mont Orgueil Castle.

The harbor at St. Aubin, Jersey on the southwest of the island.

Source: Visit Jersey

“The island is very much divided into ‘easties’ and ‘westies,’ so people either love the east or people love the west,” she said. “It’s really the natural environment that’s different. The west is very much [about] the wide-open barren sand dunes … whereas the east is a lot more cliff paths and woodland areas.”

St. Ouen’s Bay, which spans much of the west coast, is popular with surfers, while Plemont Bay, in the north, reveals a sandy beach at low tide.

Jersey, which gets much more sunshine than the mainland, traditionally has attracted families wanting a bucket-and-spade beach vacation and seniors looking for a relaxing stay. But Visit Jersey is also keen to entice “moment makers,” or younger visitors who tend to document their trips on social media, said Burns.

Jersey is known for its seafood, such the oysters seen here at St. Ouen’s Bay.

Pierre Longnus | The Image Bank | Getty Images

They reach “an aspirational audience,” Burns said. “The size of that audience is much greater, but actually, the competition is more intense as well.”

Fluke’s Calvani, who operates several food and drink outlets in Jersey, said the types of travelers coming to Jersey is changing.

“We’ve seen some younger, short stay, urbanite kind of visitors,” he said. “And I think they’re loving it: they eat well, they go to a spa, play a bit of golf … do two or three nights and then go back to their [city] flat.”

Food and drink

JB’s Brewhouse, a Craft brewery and barbecue smokehouse, is one of Calvani’s restaurants that attracts visitors from further afield, he said.

“The Americans that come into JB’s find it highly entertaining that we’re smoking like Texan cowboys, but eating tiny little cows from Jersey,” he said.

Business owner Marcus Calvani runs JB’s Brewhouse, in St. Helier, Jersey, a bar and restaurant that sells Texas-style barbecue.

Source: Be Served Group

Burns said younger visitors also like to visit Faulkner Fisheries, started by Jersey resident Sean Faulkner in 1980, for summer barbecues with local scallops, lobster and oysters.

On the island’s west coast is The Atlantic Hotel, part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection, whose Chef Will Holland is something of a celebrity, having made appearances on British TV cooking shows.

The Portelet Bay Cafe serves pizza and seasonal dishes to those who make the trek down its cliffside steps. And St. Helier, the largest town on the island, is home to Bohemia Restaurant, which has held a Michelin star for 17 years.


Jersey is often thought of as a tax haven — residents pay only 20% income tax, compared with up to 45% in the U.K.

The island also has a “high value residency scheme” for those who “comfortably” earn more than £725,000 (about $875,000) a year, according to the Jersey’s government website. For those in the program, income above this level is taxed at 1%.

There is also no business tax payable in many sectors, though exceptions include financial services firms, taxed at 10%, and utility companies, taxed at 20%. That contrasts with the U.K., where corporation tax is currently 19% for all businesses.

Jersey cows are famous for the rich, creamy milk they produce.

Matt Porteous | Digitalvision | Getty Images

The finance industry employs about a quarter of the island’s working population, according to the business agency Locate Jersey.

Still, the cost of living “can be high when compared to other countries,” according to the island’s governmental website. The average price of a home on the island was £660,000 in the first quarter of 2022, compared with a U.K. average of £277,000, according to Statistics Jersey.

Costs are problematic for Calvani, who provides housing for some of his staff members.

The marina at St. Helier, Jersey’s financial center. The island is known for its tax incentives for residents and businesses.

Ian Gethings | Moment Open | Getty Images

“We’ve just brought in three new staff from Kenya,” he said. “These guys have got great education, great years of experience [but] housing them is the major problem.”

After working with the likes of Disney during stints in the United States, he said he views Jersey as being one huge “theme park.”

“You’ve got two entry gates, in the airport and the harbor … bed and breakfasts and hotels, you’ve got a main retail center of St. Helier [and] masses of attractions,” he said.

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Sister Patricia Daly, 66, Dies; Took On Corporate Giants on Social Justice



For years, Sister Pat and other environmentalists had urged ExxonMobil to take significant steps to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from its operations and products. In 2007, she proposed a resolution that called on that energy giant to set a firm date to report on its progress.

“We’re the most profitable company in the history of the planet,” she told Rex Tillerson, then the company’s chief executive (and later secretary of state in the Trump administration), at the company’s annual meeting, “but what will be our long-term health when we are really faced with the regulatory and other challenges around global warming?”

She added: “We are now, this company and every single one of us, challenged by one of the most profound moral concerns. And we have the wherewithal to respond to that.”

The proposal won 31 percent of the ballots, or about 1.4 billion shares, the largest tally for an ExxonMobil climate-change resolution. If not an outright victory, it was a page in a decades-long narrative that led ExxonMobil to put a climate scientist on its board in 2017. Three executives who recognized the urgency to address climate change joined the company’s board in 2021, nominated by a tiny activist hedge fund, Engine No. 1.

“The arc of her work led us to those victories by working from the inside and the outside,” John Passacantando, the founder of Ozone Action, an anti-global warming group, and a former executive director of Greenpeace, said in a phone interview.

In 1999, Vanity Fair named her to its Hall of Fame, applauding her as one who “translates belief into commitment and never backs down from a fight.”

Mary Beth Gallagher, who replaced Sister Pat as executive director of the Tri-State Coalition in 2017, said Sister Pat had not become frustrated when her resolutions were routinely voted down.

“She lived in hope,” Ms. Gallagher said. “We never talked about winning or losing. It was about raising consciousness and educating. If we’re not asking these questions, who will?”

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Families can make a tax-free rollover from 529 plans to Roth individual retirement accounts starting in 2024



Maskot | Maskot | Getty Images

Americans who save for college in 529 plans will soon have a way to rescue unused funds while keeping their tax benefits intact.

A $1.7 trillion government funding package has a provision that lets savers roll money from 529 plans to Roth individual retirement accounts free of income tax or tax penalties.

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The House passed the measure Friday and the Senate did so Thursday. The bill heads to President Biden, who’s expected to sign it into law.

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The rollover measure — which takes effect in 2024 — has some limitations. Among the largest: There’s a $35,000 lifetime cap on transfers.

“It’s a good provision for people who have [529 accounts] and the money hasn’t been used,” said Ed Slott, a certified public accountant and IRA expert based in Rockville Centre, New York.

That might happen if a beneficiary — such as a child or grandchild — doesn’t attend a college, university, vocational or private K-12 school, or other qualifying institution, for example. Or, a student may receive scholarships that mean some 529 funds are left over.

Millions of 529 accounts hold billions in savings

There were nearly 15 million 529 accounts at the end of last year, holding a total $480 billion, according to the Investment Company Institute. That’s an average of about $30,600 per account.

529 plans carry tax advantages for college savers. Namely, investment earnings on account contributions grow tax-free and aren’t taxable if used for qualifying education expenses like tuition, fees, books, and room and board.

Retirement plan changes in the omnibus spending bill

However, that investment growth is generally subject to income tax and a 10% tax penalty if used for an ineligible expense.

This is where rollovers to a Roth IRA can benefit savers with stranded 529 money. A transfer would skirt income tax and penalties; investments would keep growing tax-free in a Roth account, and future retirement withdrawals would also be tax-free.  

Some think it’s a handout for the rich

However, some critics think the rollover policy largely amounts to a tax handout to wealthier families.

“You’re giving savings incentives to those who can save and leaving behind those who cannot save,” said Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

A 2012 analysis conducted by the Government Accountability Office found the typical American with a 529 account had “much more wealth” than someone without: $413,500 in total wealth for the median person, about 25 times the amount of a non-accountholder.

You’re giving savings incentives to those who can save and leaving behind those who cannot save.

Steve Rosenthal

senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center

Further, the typical owner had a roughly $142,000 annual income versus $45,000 for other families, the GAO report said. Almost half, 47%, had incomes over $150,000.

The new 529-to-Roth IRA transfer provision doesn’t carry income limits.

Limitations on 529-to-IRA transfers

While the new tax break primarily benefits wealthier families, there are “pretty significant” limitations on the rollovers that reduce the financial benefit, Jeffrey Levine, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant based in St. Louis, said in a tweet.

The restrictions include:

  • A $35,000 lifetime cap on transfers.
  • Rollovers are subject to the annual Roth IRA contribution limit. (The limit is $6,500 in 2023.)
  • The rollover can only be made to the beneficiary’s Roth IRA — not that of the account owner. (In other words, a 529 owned by a parent with the child as beneficiary would need to be rolled into the child’s IRA, not the parent’s.)
  • The 529 account must have been open for at least 15 years. (It seems changing account beneficiaries may restart that 15-year clock, Levine said.)
  • Accountholders can’t roll over contributions, or earnings on those contributions, made in the last five years.

In a summary document, the Senate Finance Committee said current 529 tax rules have “led to hesitating, delaying, or declining to fund 529s to levels needed to pay for the rising costs of education.”

“Families who sacrifice and save in 529 accounts should not be punished with tax and penalty years later if the beneficiary has found an alternative way to pay for their education,” it said.

Are 529 plans already flexible enough?

Some education savings experts think 529 accounts have adequate flexibility so as not to deter families from using them.

For example, owners with leftover account funds can change beneficiaries to another qualifying family member — thereby helping avoid a tax penalty for non-qualified withdrawals. Aside from a kid or grandkid, that family member might be you; a spouse; a son, daughter, brother, sister, father or mother-in-law; sibling or step-sibling; first cousin or their spouse; a niece, nephew or their spouse; or aunt and uncle, among others.

Owners can also keep funds in an account for a beneficiary’s graduate schooling or the education of a future grandchild, according to Savingforcollege.com. Funds can also be used to make up to $10,000 of student loan payments.

The tax penalty may also not be quite as bad as some think, according to education expert Mark Kantrowitz. For example, taxes are assessed at the beneficiary’s income-tax rate, which is generally lower than the parent’s tax rate by at least 10 percentage points.

In that case, the parent “is no worse off than they would have been had they saved in a taxable account,” depending on their tax rates on long-term capital gains, he said.

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Goldman grumbling grows for banking giant to sack CEO David Solomon



The knives are out for Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, and this time the people brandishing them aren’t the usual suspects — his junior staffers annoyed that they have to work late or come into the office several times a week.

Solomon’s problems are more serious and existential, I am told, and how he handles what can best be described as a revolt in some quarters of Goldman’s middle and upper management ranks could determine how much longer he stays in his job.

Solomon, 60, took the job in 2018 and was always somewhat of an odd choice to run the white-shoe investment bank that usually cultivated its leaders from within. He cut his teeth at a decidedly un-Goldman-like venue: the scrappy investment bank Bear Stearns (ultimately one of the causalities of the 2008 financial crisis).

He joined Goldman in 1999, as a partner, no less, because his deal-making chops allowed him to skip layers of management.

In other words, Solomon is an outsider at a firm with a wickedly insular culture. He has a quirky side gig as a DJ in the summer Hamptons party circuit. He’s also not one for small talk, and doesn’t consult with a lot of people before handing down his edicts. 

“He doesn’t breed a lot of love,” said one former Goldman executive who knows Solomon well.

Lots of people at Goldman don’t like him, and they’re letting their views be heard both internally and with pals at rival firms.

Solomon as a DJ
Solomon is an outsider at a firm with a wickedly insular culture.
David Solomon/Instagram

For the record: I’ve met Solomon and like him for his no-BS style. And until pretty recently, the numbers show him doing a great job. Goldman was running on all cylinders in deals and trading. Even as the market corrects, shares are up about 60% since Solomon took over as CEO in 2018 compared to around a 44% rise in the S&P during that time.

Goldman is still the top M&A shop, even widening its market share over rivals in that important business line. Solomon was the first among his fellow CEOs to see the downturn and enact significant layoffs to cut costs.

Still, the grumbling about Solomon is spreading to the managing director and partner class. High-priced Wall Street talent don’t call all the shots at any firm, of course. But Goldman’s MDs and partners have historically been a powerful force when the board decides the fate of current management, which makes Solomon’s hold on his job increasingly precarious as more and more of them defect from his camp.

David Solomon as a DJ
Solomon was the first among his fellow CEOs to see the downturn and enact significant layoffs to cut costs.
David Solomon/Instagram

Here’s how they’re building a case against him: Goldman’s longtime archrival investment bank Morgan Stanley now easily dwarfs Goldman in market value, $144 billion to $116 billion, continuing a trend that predates Solomon. That comes amid a slowdown in banking deals, Goldman’s bread-and-butter business, and Solomon’s home turf.

Morgan’s CEO James Gorman deftly expanded the firm’s wealth management operations, which provide steady revenues. Solomon’s effort to diversify was an overindulgence in something called Marcus, a digital retail bank launched by his predecessor Lloyd Bankfein that Solomon made his baby. So far, it’s been a disaster, so much so that Solomon has been forced to scale back, possibly on the way to winding it down.

Goldman, meanwhile, has missed targets in its recent earnings announcements, and more downward surprises could be in store as markets continue to wobble. Bonuses are down, in some places cut in half, albeit from the nosebleed levels of 2021.

Goldman Sachs headquarters
The grumbling about Solomon is spreading to the managing director and partner class.
AFP via Getty Images

Traders did well in 2022 because Goldman’s are particularly adept in profiting off turbulence, but part of their pool is being diverted to bankers to keep them in-house until the deal slowdown ends.

Since Solomon is a banker, he’s also being accused of favoritism, which in truth is a pretty lame charge, since bankers often subsidize trader bonuses when the markets aren’t profitable. Still, the Goldman trading department is powerful and can spark management change, as it has done in the past.

There’s also a question about Solomon’s allegiance to Goldman’s stand-alone culture. In its 153-year existence, Goldman has operated on the assumption that it would be the acquirer in any major strategic acquisition. Solomon’s experience at Bear, then one of the most transactional places on Wall Street, means he could be looking for a deal and not one that keeps Goldman in charge.

Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman deftly expanded the firm’s wealth management operations, which provide steady revenues.
Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman deftly expanded the firm’s wealth management operations, which provide steady revenues.
AFP via Getty Images

At a time when most Goldman insiders believe he needs to do a “transformational deal,” i.e., something big that allows it to better compete against Morgan Stanley and super banks like JP Morgan, there is speculation that Solomon might allow Goldman to be swallowed whole by, say, a big asset manager or bank if the price was right.

As best I can tell, this grumbling, though real, doesn’t immediately threaten Solomon’s job. Then again, there is something to be said for keeping your producers happy.

Jack Welch, the legendary CEO of General Electric, was a notorious screamer and demanding beyond belief. Yet Welch knew how to nurture his people.

Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch
Jack Welch was a notorious screamer and demanding beyond belief. Yet Welch knew how to nurture his people.
Getty Images

“Jack could chew your ass, then put his arm around you and make you feel great,” one of his longtime executives, Bob Nardelli, once told me.

It’s why so many other talented execs chose to stay around under Welch, abuse and all, and left when his successor took over, watching GE implode from the outside.

Maybe it’s a good time for Solomon to take a page from Welch and start hugging it out.

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