Cayman imports fall by 2% in 1st quarter 2017

August 10th, 2017

The total value of all goods imported into Cayman in the 1st quarter of 2017 was CI$ 207.8 million, which is a drop of some CI$ 4.3 million as compared with the same period last year.

According to officials from the Economics and Statistics office, the decrease was due to a 6.1% reduction in the total value of non-petroleum products, which make up almost 89% of all imports into the country. The fall in imports of machinery and road vehicles, chemical and related products, and other commodities fell significantly.

The quarterly trade statistics bulletin reported a 4% increase in food imports and a massive 50% increase in petroleum and related-products, due in part to another increase in the price of oil on the global market.

However, this was not enough to offset the decline in other goods. With import duty a significant source of government revenue, the fall in the value of goods could have an impact on the public purse for those first three months of the year to the tune of more than $1 million.

Cayman has the Least Complex Tax Jurisdiction worldwide

August 2nd, 2017

In accordance with TMF’s Financial Complexity Index 2017, the Cayman Islands is the least complex jurisdiction as regards taxation and accounting requirements.

TMF’s Financial Complexity Index 2017 ranks 94 jurisdictions across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, and the Americas. The Cayman Islands is ranked 94th, which means that this territory has simplified tax reporting requirements and has low rates of tax.

Other least complex jurisdictions are Jersey (90th), Hong Kong (91st), the UAE (92nd), and the BVI (93rd).

The most complex jurisdictions are Turkey (1st), Brazil (2nd), Italy (3rd), Greece (4th) and Vietnam (5th).

Small Cayman businesses concerned over cost of finance

July 31st, 2017

According to the president of the Cayman Islands Small Business Association (CISBA), financial institutions are setting up entrepreneurs for failure because of the cost of loans. This was one of a number of issues that Dawn McLean-Sawney raised with the new minister for commerce, Joey Hew.

McLean-Sawney said small businesses need better concessions on loans to make payments viable.

Other difficulties the small business sector faced included the following:
– inadequate funding,
– too much red tape,
– securing venues to set up businesses,
– challenges based on definitions of micro (1-3 employees) and small (4-10 employees) businesses in provision of employee benefits.

Also, the small business sector needed more incentives, including a reduction in fees such as Customs and Trade and Business Licence fees, and encouragement for more women, especially single mothers, and retirees to be able to become small business owners.

CISBA, which currently has 120 members, was created to advocate for policies that are beneficial to local small businesses as well as to support and promote entrepreneurial spirit.

New Cayman financial services minister to advocate for offshore sector

July 26th, 2017

The new financial services minister of the Cayman Islands began her work as a voice for Cayman’s offshore sector during the recent visit to the United Kingdom for the Brexit meetings with the overseas territories. Tara Rivers was also advocating for the financial services industry, which she now has responsibility for in the new coalition government.

Rivers discussed Brexit, beneficial ownership and the EU screening process with both UK officials and industry leaders. Also, the minister visited the Embassy of China in order to discuss regulatory cooperation and China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative.

According to an official release, “The Cayman Islands has always engaged with UK Government and industry on matters of bilateral and global importance”. Rivers emphasized the focus on “reinforcing the strength of our financial services framework by clearly addressing the legacy myths that affect our reputation among political leaders”.

Rivers was not alone in advocating for Cayman’s lucrative offshore sector, as Scott remained in Britain for two weeks, where he engaged with the international press as well as financial sector stakeholders in London.

“Cayman Finance, in conjunction with the Ministry of Financial Services, is constantly working to ensure we maintain strong and beneficial relationships with key international figures in the financial services industry,” Scott said. “It is important for us to keep reminding these stakeholders of the Cayman Islands’ role as a premier global financial hub and the ways in which we benefit developed and developing countries around the world. We are always grateful for the Cayman Islands Government’s support in these ventures.”

“The combined efforts of Cayman Finance, the Cayman Islands Government and our regulator, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, ensure that our financial services products and services are consistently delivered to meet or exceed our international clients’ expectations through excellence, innovation and balance,” Scott said. “We are extremely proud of the work that the Cayman Islands does both locally and worldwide, and will always seize the opportunity to spread our message around the globe.”

CIMA announces new appointments

July 11th, 2017

The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) has promoted two staff members to top positions within the organisation, as of 1 June 2017.

Suzanne Sadlier, who has been a reinsurance specialist at CIMA since joining the authority in April 2015, was named deputy head of the Insurance Supervision Division, and Judiann Myles, who had a three-year tenure as the deputy head of CIMA’s Policy and Development Division, was appointed deputy head of the Compliance Division.

“As the authority continues to highlight the quality of expertise amongst our employees, we are extremely pleased to fill these important top positions from within our organisation”, Cindy Scotland, CIMA managing director, said. “With a combined proven track record for successfully leading large-scale initiatives, experience in strategic planning and technical operations within financial regulation, each of the aforementioned appointments certainly add value to CIMA’s management team, and its overall structure,” she added.

Cayman-registered beneficial owners accessible to UK

July 4th, 2017

In the beginning of July, the new legislation came into effect in the Cayman Islands that will allow UK law enforcement authorities to access details of the beneficial owners of all financial entities registered in thejurisdiction.

The new technology-based system enhancement to the beneficial ownership regime will allow those with legitimate rights or reasons to have access to do so in a more efficient and timely fashion, with speed being the crucial point. The information is not in a central public register but this is a platform allowing direct access to the RCIPS Financial Crimes Unit so they can respond to requests.

Officials said a system had been in place for more than 15 years that provided beneficial ownership information to the United Kingdom and other countries through legal means, but the new system will increase the speed in which that information is provided.

However, the government has insisted that the system is not very different from the process in place for many years but the efficiency improvement satisfies the UK’s demand for immediate access in criminal cases.

“Financial crime is a serious global problem that requires a unified global response,” Rivers said. “As a jurisdiction, the Cayman Islands continues to play a significant role on international regulatory issues and for implementing global practices to fight financial crime; we have been recognised for decades as a strong international partner in combating corruption, money laundering and tax evasion.”

The UK wanted to have this access back in 2015. As a result, Cayman and the UK agreed in April 2016 to improve the exchange of beneficial ownership information, as outlined in a document called the Exchange of Notes and Technical Protocol. All UK Overseas Territories entered into similar agreements. Since then, Cayman has passed amended legislation, new regulations and guidance notes for industry in order to provide the legal framework upon which the system was enhanced.

Four year AML/terrorist financing plan announced in Cayman

May 29th, 2017

Following the shortcomings identified previously by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and in Cayman’s regulatory regime to address emerging threats and vulnerabilities in the financial sector, the attorney general Samuel Bulgin said a strategy has been developed ahead of the next FATF review. In a short statement the government’s chief lawyer, Bulgin said that significant progress had been made on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing but more work needed to be done before that review which will take place later this year.

He said: “The government recognises the need to take ongoing measures to update the AML/CFT regime to address the full range of risks relating to money laundering, the financing of terrorism and proliferation to the Cayman Islands and to communicate its strategy to relevant stakeholders”.

Responding to the threats and vulnerabilities identified in the recently published National Risk Assessment (NRA), a 4-year Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing Strategy has been developed. According to Bulgin, the strategy will ensure that the jurisdiction has a “robust, adaptive and responsive AML/CFT framework, consistent with international standards, and effective in maintaining the integrity of the Cayman Islands’ financial services system”.

Cayman Hedge Fund conference attracts 530 delegates

April 26th, 2017

GAIM Ops Cayman, one of the largest financial conferences on Cayman’s events calendar, opened on April 24 at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.

The leading 3-day conference for hedge fund operations and compliance is bringing 530 delegates from the industry to Cayman for presentations, workshops and networking sessions. The delegates are mostly senior executives, managers and investors in the hedge fund industry by more than 120 speakers.

Sheelah Kolhatkar, author of the newly released book “Black Edge,” on the largest insider trading investigation surrounding hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen and his fund SAC Capital, will discuss what can be learned from government’s focus on insider trading cases over the last eight years.

Cayman Islands not eligible for 10 Island Challenge funding

April 25th, 2017

The Cayman Islands could still be involved in entrepreneur Richard Branson’s Ten Island Challenge, though the jurisdiction is not eligible for grant funding from the renewable energy initiative.

According to Kurt Tibbetts, Infrastructure Minister, the government of the Cayman Islands has been holding regular talks with experts from Mr. Branson’s program, which provides guidance and financial support to island nations that commit to converting to green energy. There is no financing available to Cayman through the initiative, he said. One of the benefits of being associated with the Ten Island Challenge is that several of the countries that are part of that receive grants.” Mr. Tibbetts said: “The Cayman Islands is not considered to be a part of that, so anything we need then to do we have to ask how much it costs.”

Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell first revealed ambitions for the Sister Islands to be part of the challenge in June last year, highlighting the possibility that they could eventually transition to 100% reliance on renewable energy sources. “The vision for Little Cayman and the Brac is that they would be branded as part of the Ten Island Challenge,” he said at the time.

When announcing the Caribbean Transitional Energy Conference to be held in Cayman in May, Mr. Tibbetts said that there is still the ambition for the Sister Islands.

The Dart group, now one of the major landowners in Little Cayman after purchasing Point of Sand, The Paradise Villas hotel, Hungry Iguana restaurant and another 600-acre property in the last few years, is also interested in helping bring renewable energy to the island.

Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is an English business magnate, investor and philanthropist.

CIMA stars creating online payment system

April 12th, 2017

The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) has announced the launch of a fee payment section of the Regulatory Enhanced Electronic Forms Submission (REEFS) system for authorised financial services industry users.

The payment section is being rolled out in 2 phases:

– Phase 1, now underway, allows authorised users to view all applicable due and overdue fees and historical payments. Users can also track relevant fees and sort by groups, such as fee category, due date and covered entity.

– Phase 2, which is expected to take place during the third quarter of 2017, will allow all authorised users to make online payments. To guarantee a smooth transition, users will be provided with the necessary training and guidance on the new fee payment module. This will include instructions on assigning fee payment roles and work flows.

CIMA Managing Director Cindy Scotland said :“Although there is still work to be done before its final stages, I trust that this new service will allow the Cayman Islands to maintain its position as a leading jurisdiction within the global financial services industry”.