Archive for the ‘Cayman legislation’ Category

Small Cayman businesses concerned over cost of finance

Monday, 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.

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”.

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 listed as 2nd worst tax haven

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

The Cayman Islands has been listed as one of the worst corporate tax havens in the world in a new report examining the impact that tax-dodging corporations have on the world’s poorest people. Published by the international charity Oxfam, the report lists Cayman in second place behind Bermuda because of the zero-rated corporate income tax and what the charity said is a lack of cooperation with international efforts against tax avoidance.

But Oxfam stated in the report that there is a destructive race to the bottom on corporate tax.

Also, it said that the growth in the use of tax havens means countries are finding it harder and harder to tax income from capital. Government coffers are declining and the burden of tax has shifted toward poorer workers and small businesses and away from powerful conglomerates and the world’s high net worth individuals.

Oxfam names on-shore countries as well as offshore financial centres, such as Cayman and Bermuda, but the charity is calling on world governments and corporations to facilitate much more transparency over who owns what and who pays tax where on their earnings and profits. The charity also raised concerns that in the country-by-country reporting between government authorities the information is still not public. This means developing countries cannot access the data.

Responding to this latest critical report, Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton accused Oxfam of making errors on its list and of exploiting misinformed public opinion, as part of an agenda to influence the public policy of G20 countries.

Panton said that the report “may be detrimental to the overall shared goal of combating criminal behaviour and addressing income inequality”. He claimed that Oxfam’s overriding error is their failure to differentiate between capital flows and profit shifting.

To engage in profit shifting, a jurisdiction must attract significant multinational corporations, or MNCs, he explained. “Cayman does not have this type of business. We do, however, receive capital flows that are used to the benefit of other jurisdictions, via investment projects”.

Cayman Finance https://www.cayman.finance/, the local body representing the offshore sector, has described a recent Oxfam report on tax havens as “the same purposefully misleading rhetoric pretending to be research that Oxfam has published and republished for years”. Cayman Finance said the analysis was biased and “intentionally inaccurate and misleading information”, as it accused the global charity that has been helping the world’s poor and vulnerable people for well over 70 years of advancing an agenda and harming countries they do not ‘like’ in the process.

Cayman Finance CEO Jude Scott claimed that the Oxfam report was “alarmism” that was “unsupported by the facts”.

He said that international policymakers recognise the “vital role the Cayman Islands plays in the global economy”, as he advanced the idea that Cayman connects law-abiding users and providers of investment capital and financing around the world, which benefits both developed and developing countries.

“Oxfam continues to use a misleading and overly simplistic definition of what a tax haven is. Its assertion that a zero tax jurisdiction is a key criterion in defining a tax haven is simply not correct. Cayman Finance believes that any criteria used should be transparent, objective and meaningful,” Scott said. ‘Tax haven’ is a place providing shelter for illegal or inappropriate transactions and a jurisdiction that engages in practices that supports or conceals transactions relating to tax evasion, which is illegal. So, the Cayman Islands is not a ‘tax haven’, he said. “The Cayman Islands is an efficient and effective tax neutral jurisdiction that does not add additional taxes and has been recognised for decades as a strong partner in combatting global financial crime including money-laundering, terrorism financing, corruption and tax evasion. The Cayman Islands has gained the reputation of a transparent jurisdiction by meeting or exceeding globally accepted standards for transparency and cross border cooperation.” He said this jurisdiction provides a tax neutral platform that allows parties domiciled in countries that have differing laws, regulations, tax rules and customs to do business with each other.

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.

Small Cayman Island holds USD 265 billion in treasuries

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

According to Bloomberg, a Caribbean financial centre favored by hedge funds is now the 3rd-biggest foreign owner of United States’ government debt.

More hedge funds are domiciled in the Cayman Islands than anywhere else in the world. According to data the US Treasury Department released on May 16, the Cayman Islands held $265 billion of Treasuries as of March, up 31% from a year earlier. It was the 1st time that the United States released details of bond holdings among OPEC and Caribbean countries, and it came in response to a Freedom-of-Information Act request submitted by Bloomberg News.

Bloomberg says that the stockpile makes this offshore tax haven the largest holder after China and Japan, which, being the world’s 2nd- and 3rd-biggest economies, each own more than USD 1 trillion of Treasuries.

About 60% of the world’s hedge-fund assets are domiciled in the Cayman Islands, according to a 2014 report by consulting firm Oliver Wyman & Co. The report also says that “a robust regulatory regime and no or low entity-level taxation allowed the Cayman Islands to build a long-lasting reputation as a global hedge funds hub”.

Cayman to join effort aimed to share company details

Friday, May 13th, 2016

The Cayman Islands has become the latest financial center vowing to join an initiative aimed at sharing details on company ownership in order to make it tougher for tax cheats and criminals to avoid detection.

According to the statement made by the Cayman Islands’ financial services ministry, it will join an effort with a view to develop a “global standard” for the sharing of beneficial ownership registers. So, it will be easier to identify people hidden behind shell companies.

Following a leak of documents from a Panama-based law firm, in April, the EU’s 5 biggest economies agreed to share company ownership information as well as urged others to do so. The “Panama Papers” leak has put tax evasion at the top of the international agenda.

Cayman Finance supports Enhancements to Cayman’s Beneficial Ownership System

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Cayman Finance said it supported the Cayman Islands Government in its announcement made on April 11, when the signing of an agreement by the Cayman Islands and the United Kingdom on the enhancements to its existing beneficial ownership system was announced.

This was revealed at a media conference in Grand Cayman by the Cayman Islands Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin and Chief Officer, Dr Dax Basdeo.

Mr Jude Scott, Cayman Finance CEO said Cayman Finance appreciated working in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Government to bring a high level of expertise to negotiations with the UK. He expressed his pleasure that the UK Government has recognised that Cayman licensed corporate services provider verified beneficial ownership system is a world class system that provides for due diligence know-your-customer checks which are vitally important to proper law enforcement authorities and is superior to other proposed systems. He added: “Whilst there are already agreements in place that allow UK law enforcement agencies to request and obtain beneficial ownership information for the Cayman Islands, we have agreed to an enhancement to that system which will help the UK law enforcement agencies access that information with the utmost urgency, but in a way that is also appropriate for our jurisdiction. This is not a public central register.”
Mr Scott said that beneficial ownership information details will remain with the corporate service providers managing them and information will be accessed via a central technical platform. The enhancements are in line with global standards and the position of the UK.

He said that for over 40 years the Cayman Islands had played a leading role in the fight against illegal activities and tax evasion. “Industry and government have worked side-by-side to implement a legal infrastructure that promotes effective transparency and cross border cooperation with law enforcement that meets, and in some cases exceeds, international regulatory standards and comparable regimes in G20 countries,” he commented.