Archive for the ‘Cayman government’ Category

New Cayman financial services minister to advocate for offshore sector

Wednesday, 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.”

Cayman-registered beneficial owners accessible to UK

Tuesday, 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

Monday, 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 Premier in London to promote offshore sector

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Premier Alden McLaughlin will be promoting the Cayman Islands, including its offshore sector, in London.

The delegation left on March 1 and will return to Grand Cayman on March 8, 2017.

Premier has been invited to deliver an address at a conference at Blackstone Chambers, entitled, “Current Issues in Rule of Law and International Trade and Development”. Also, he will be attending the event hosted by the well-known barristers chambers, to meet with the overseas territories minister, Baroness Anelay, and other British officials.

The conference will be chaired by Blackstone Chambers’ Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC, who advised the PPM during the shaping of the Cayman Islands 2009 constitution. Other guest speakers include Michael Llamas, Attorney General of Gibraltar; Justice Angelica Nussberger, Section President and German Judge on the European Court of Human Rights; and Justice Catherine O’Regan, former member of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and Director of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights at Oxford.

According to McLaughlin, the conference would give him “an opportunity to say what the Cayman Islands has done in respect of having an advanced bill of rights, an independent judiciary, anti-corruption provisions and how our government has worked to enact and enforce laws against money-laundering and tax evasion”.

LA to tackle a dozen offshore laws

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

The financial services minister will be dominating the legislative agenda of the Legislative Assembly with almost a dozen offshore laws set to be debated by legislators ahead of evaluation by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) later in 2017. The Government of the Cayman Islands is expected to deal with a significant amount of business over the next few weeks before the LA is prorogued ahead of Nomination Day next month and the formal launch of the campaign for the General Election.

Wayne Panton’s ministry has prepared eleven bills, mostly relating to the regulatory framework surrounding new financial services vehicles, and to improve the business environment. Laws such as the Companies Management (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2017; the Companies Amendment (No. 2) Bill, 2017; and the Limited Liability Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2017 are related to creating the framework for the internal beneficial ownership registers in line with Cayman’s beneficial ownership information exchange agreement with the United Kingdom.

Laws such as the Cayman Islands Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) Bill, 2017, which introduces a new business structure designed to increase the attractiveness of the Cayman Islands to professional service providers, are designed to support new financial services vehicles. The Foundation Companies Bill, 2016 is designed to introduce a new type of company that that offers trust and estate planners to what was described as a more satisfactory structure.

The Limited Liability Companies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2016; the Trusts (Amendment) Bill, 2016; the Exempted Limited Partnership (Amendment) Bill, 2016; and the Tax Concessions (Amendment) Bill, 2016 are designed to delegate the authority of Cabinet to the Cabinet Office for processing tax concession certificates.

Also, the minister is bringing an amendment to the Trade and Business Licensing Law to clarify and extend the Trade and Business Licensing Board’s functions and exemptions for the agricultural sector and to remove the requirement for police clearance certificates for those with an interest in listed or regulated companies, provide proper classification for pay day loans, and allow utility bills to be substituted for bank references.

Last, but not least, and certainly the most controversial, is the Legal Practitioners Bill, 2016, which was deferred for further public consultation from the last meeting. Intended to modernise the regulation of the practice of law, it will also address the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations ahead of the assessment.

The bills, which can all be found on the government gazette’s website, are as follows:

– the Companies Management (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2017;
– the Companies Amendment (No. 2) Bill, 2017;
– the Limited Liability Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2017;
– the Cayman Islands Limited Liability Partnership Bill, 2017;
– the Foundation Companies Bill, 2016;
– the Limited Liability Companies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2016;
– the Trusts (Amendment) Bill, 2016;
– the Exempted Limited Partnership (Amendment) Bill, 2016;
– the Tax Concessions (Amendment) Bill, 2016;
– the Legal Practitioners Bill, 2016;
– the Trade and Business Licensing Amendment Bill, 2017.

New Cayman finance bill proposes more reporting

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

The Government of the Cayman Islands has gazetted a list of amendments to the Public Management and Finance Bill that covers important changes when it comes to the reporting of how government is spending public cash. The Public Management and Finance (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2016 is expected to be debated in the Legislative Assembly when it meets again in January 2017 and the new law will see government departments reporting their financial circumstance to parliament on a quarterly basis.

The amendment bill is now open for public discussions. It is aimed to provide a clear and simple process for pre-election financial updates and government unaudited quarterly reports that can be presented to the LA and to streamline the provision of annual reports.

The bill covers changes to transactions where no appropriation is required for improving transparency, and the proposed bill aims at more clearly defining the functions of the minister of finance, the financial secretary, the chief officer of finance and the director of internal audit, chief financial officers, and other senior public officials involved in the financial aspects.

Finance Minister Marco Archer spoke recently about his desire to pay off more of government’s debt in addition to the regular payments being made. However, paying more off a debt would see Cayman lose control of its finances again, which Archer has said is a significant barrier to improving the governments financial situation.

Cayman Economy grows by 3%, surpassing predictions

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

Statistics released by Cayman Islands Government indicates that the local economy grew by around 3% in the 1st 6 months of 2016, surpassing predictions and reflecting the best growth rate in the country since before the economic crisis.

The forecast GDP growth for 2016 has now been adjusted from the expected 2.1% forecast by the finance minister during the budget to 3% because of the improved performance in the 1st part of the year. The government purse is also fuller than expected as the stronger economy has boosted revenue by 9.7%.

According to the latest numbers from the Economics and Statistics Office, the Cayman Islands Government expects to end the fiscal year with a surplus of $127.5 million, which is 10.8% higher than the CI$115.1 million the administration achieved in 2015. The finance ministry has also been getting on top of the government’s debt, which at the end of June was down 3.7% from last year to CI$501.3 million.

Following the release of the figures, Finance and Economic Development Minister Marco Archer said: “I am pleased to note that growth in the first half of 2016 improved on the 1.3% growth for the same period in 2015”. He added that it also exceeds the initial GDP forecast for the year of 2.1%, and is the highest growth rate since 2007.

The main boost to the economy, however, may be bad news for the environment as it is based on a growth in construction, quarrying and consumption. The semi-annual growth was due in large part to an 11.4% growth in construction, while wholesale and retail trade grew by 7.6%.

Growth in the financial services sector, which still accounts for the bulk of Cayman’s earnings, was considerably more modest. Financing and insurance services grew by 3.6%, which the ESO said down to the domestic lending activity of commercial banks rather than the offshore industry. While visitor numbers are still growing, the hotel and restaurant sector declined by just over 1%.

The GDP estimate for 2015 shows that the local economy was where the growth was concentrated. “The 2.8% growth exceeded the 2% advance estimate for the year based on early indicators,” Archer said. “Moreover, it was broad-based as all sectors in the economy turned in positive growth rates. This augurs well for the increased diversification of our economic base.”

Cayman to have another great year for tourists

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

At the end of September almost 300,000 overnight guests had already visited Cayman this year, setting the tourism sector on track for another great year.

2015 was the best year since the Department of Tourism began keeping official records and this year is likely to come very close to those numbers. Speaking at the Cayman Islands Tourism Showcase 2016, Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell said that he believed the numbers in 2016 will exceed the 385,378 guests that came to Cayman Islands in 2015.

There were breaking arrivals for June and July, so Kirkconnell said the “tremendous growth” in the sector is continuing despite fierce competition. According to him, the government of the Cayman Islands had to keep the tourism momentum going as the economy is still heavily dependent on the sector, which provides some 12,000 jobs, or a quarter of the labour force.

The minister also spoke about the progress on the enhancement of the airport, which, in contrast to the cruise port, has much broader support across the entire community.

Tibbetts begins process to create utilities regulator

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

The minister responsible for planning and public works began the process of dealing with a bundle of legislation in order to pave the way for the much-anticipated utilities commission.

The government hopes that this commission will not only act as the umbrella regulator for the technology, power, fuel and water sectors but also serve as a watchdog for consumer protection. The new commission had its genesis in broad public concerns, which were adopted by the government that the two bulk fuel suppliers in the Cayman Islands have not been transparent about their prices and that consumers are getting a bad deal. Now, the idea has broadened to create a new regulatory and competitive regime for all local utilities providers.

Planning, Lands, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure Minister Kurt Tibbetts, who has responsibility for all the utilities, presented three other bills alongside the Utilities Regulation and Competition Bill, which will begin the process. He stated that several more pieces of legislation regarding the water sector would be brought in January 2017.

Financial Ministry brings key bills ahead of CFATF review

Monday, September 12th, 2016

The financial services minister will be presenting another 4 bills at the forthcoming meeting of the Legislative Assembly in order to ensure Cayman successfully clears next year’s Caribbean Financial Action Task Force’s (CFATF) mutual evaluation process and improve the financial sector’s regulatory framework. The 4 legislative pieces are intended to maintain Cayman’s adherence to international standards and will give greater powers for law enforcement and regulatory agencies to police the sector and cooperate with international counterparts.

The draft bills will be debated in October. They provide greater clarity about the type of businesses that have a responsibility to adhere to the international standards.

The bills are as follows:
• the Monetary Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2016;
• the Auditors Oversight (Amendment) Bill, 2016;
• the Companies Management (Amendment) Bill, 2016;
• the Non-Profit Organisations Bill, 2016.

The Monetary Authority bill will allow the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) to implement an administrative fines regime as a mechanism to ensure the industry’s compliance with laws and regulations that support the jurisdiction’s anti-money laundering regime and international standards.