View from the Top


Published on

Richard Coles, of Cayman Finance, shows
how the Cayman Islands are staying on top
as a financial centre

Published in: Economy & Finance
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View from the Top

  1. 1. I f ever one reads an attack on the Cayman Islands it can usually be guaranteed to come from one of three sources: 1) Hollywood. Thank you Tom Cruise, do not come back any time soon. 2) Much larger countries whose economy comes under the head- ing of ‘basket case’. Yes, USA and UK, I’m thinking of you. 3) Ultra Left bloggers who want to see a uniform (and very high) rate of tax levied throughout the world. We in the Cayman Islands financial community have learned to live with these barbs, and are content to stand by our track record of fiscal probity and efficien- cy. Our current regulations recognise that Cayman ve- hicles trading in onshore ju- risdictions are subject to the laws and regulation of those jurisdictions. Indeed, the Cayman Islands government announced in September that we are now in compli- ance with all nine essential elements of international tax transparency and information standards as set by the OECD’s Global Forum. Top financial centre None of this comes as any surprise to those of us who work in Cayman. Indeed, last year the leading finan- cial magazine The Banker named the Cayman Islands as the top specialised financial centre for the second year running. By an increased margin, this placed us above jurisdictions such as Bermuda, Jersey, Guernsey, Malta, Gi- braltar, Monaco and Cyprus. Another jurisdiction, Ireland, also tried to claim that there was an exo- dus of hedge funds from Cayman to the Emerald Isle. They were quickly disabused of this canard when it was pointed out that the Cayman fund industry was growing to the tune of 95 new funds per month. According to The Cayman Islands Monetary Au- thority (CIMA), the total number of regulated funds stands at 9,409. This June 2011 figure comprises 8,857 reg- istered funds, 424 administered funds and 128 licensed funds. One commentator noted: “For the institutional investors and managers, the well understood path of the Cay- man fund – non bureaucratic, quick set-up times, high-quality service providers and its solid reputation - is preferred.” It has also not escaped the notice of canny global investors that Cay- man is well placed in terms of the EU AIFM Directive and is compliant in the relevant issues. Add all of this to the hated 50% tax rate in the UK and Capital Gains Tax at 28% and it is hardly any surprise that more and more UK business peo- ple are looking to the Cayman Islands with a view to incorporating here. It’s not all about hedge funds on Cayman. Company registration fig- ures jumped by 1.15% in the first six months of 2011 from 91,206 to 92,251. As of June 2011, 16 Class A banks and 231 Class B banks were licensed by CIMA. Class A insurers stand at 29 and of captive insurers there is a total of 725. Staying on top Is everything in the garden rosy? Of course not. We in the finan- cial community must tackle a few niggling problems. We need to provide 25- year security of tenure for financial professionals wish- ing to establish operations in Cayman. The signs are good on this front, thanks to the vision of Premier McK- eeva Bush. We must continue to combat misinformation generated by high-tax advocates concerning tax evasion and money laundering. We must resist European bureau- crats who are pushing for us to adopt direct taxation. I don’t think we need lectures from them how to run an economy. Lastly, we ensure that our regula- tions continue to interface with the onshore entities with whom we deal with on a daily basis. Incidentally, the weather’s great, the beaches are world class and we speak English. What more do you want? WWW.AFMMAGAzINE.COM 0 60 60 9 View from the topRichard Coles, of Cayman Finance, shows how the Cayman Islands are staying on top as a financial centre RichaRd coles chairman, Cayman Finance “wearenowincompliancewith allnineessentialelementsof internationaltaxtransparency andinformationstandards” - Richard Coles Featurereportcaribbean report cayman islands cayman 009_ASIACarib11_CaymanFinance.indd 6 12/10/2011 10:45