Archive for February, 2008

Cayman to undergo SNA Survey

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

The Cayman Islands is undergoing the Annual System of National Accounts (SNA) Survey throughout February and March 2008. Some valuable results are anticipated by the Economics and Statistics Office (ESO).

According to ESO Director Maria Zingapan, the survey is of national significance, and its results will help in determining the economic position of various sectors in the Cayman islands. She also stressed that all local businesses and non-government organisations should participate. The 3-page questionnaire covers such issues as fixed assets, expenses, earnings, total employment, etc.

The collected data will help the ESO calculate Cayman’s GDP and assess its macro-economic performance, as well as will provide substantial benefits for both the business community and the whole society.

Zingapan explained that the SNA is widely used internationally as a tool for comparing economic performance across countries and periods and across economic sectors in a single period. Governments and international agencies appreciate SNA information.

CIMA says Cayman Fund and Insurance Sectors maintain success

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

According to the latest quarterly report released by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA), Cayman is the jurisdiction that remains at the head of the offshore funds world, and that the Cayman Islands maintains its position as the 2nd-largest offshore insurance domicile. CIMA’s report shows that the banking sector also held its own.

The Investments and Securities Division (ISD) evidenced a net increase of 1 288 funds authorized during 2007. This is an amount that brought the total number of active funds registered, administered or licensed in the jurisdiction to 9 413 as at December 31, 2007. This is an increase of 16% over the 2006.

The statistical update published in the report showed that in 2007 Cayman continued to be the 2nd-largest offshore domicile for captive insurance companies. The number of Cayman-domiciled captives increased in 2007.

It was indicated in the quarterly report that North America kept on being the predominant location of the risk covered by Cayman captives. It is worth noting that 90% of captives covered risk in that location as at December 2007. Another 3% covered risk in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Assets held by Cayman captives at the end of 2007 totalled almost USD 33 billion, which is an increase as compared to USD 29.6 billion the previous year. Total premiums amounted to USD 7.5 billion at 31 December 2007, as compared to USD 7 billion as at December 2006.

As regards the banking and trust sector, the report by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority showed the data as of 31st December 2007. So, at that time there were:
19 Class A banking licences active;
261 Class B licences;
1 Class B restricted licence;
64 Nominee Trust licences;
7 Money Services Providers.

Regarding the Fiduciary Services sector, CIMA reported that at the end of 2007 there were:
51 Unrestricted Trust licences;
87 Restricted Trusts licences;
21 Nominee Trust licences;
69 Company Trust licences;
7 Corporate Services licences.

To attract venture capital, CAIN wants more innovation

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Currently, the venture-capitalist group that works with the Cayman Islands Investment Bureau, the Cayman Angel Investor Network (CAIN), has approved just one business proposal seeking investment.

The 12-member group was founded 2 years ago in order to aid Caymanian entrepreneurs. The group represents various sectors and provides an alternative source of funding to entrepreneurial ventures that operating in Cayman.

CAIN has reviewed many proposals, however, most of them have lacked the qualifications required by CAIN.

According to CAIN chairman Winston Connolly, the Cayman Angel Investor Network expects to see more proposals using technology like the Internet or taking advantage of Cayman’s tax-free status, or expanding on such services as independent directorships and corporate administration.

CIMA Managing Director urges finance sector to go even further

Friday, February 15th, 2008

At a recent finance industry conference, the Managing Director of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA), Cindy Scotland, told that the current instability in the financial markets of the world serves as the perfect opportunity for self-examination and improvement of financial services offering in the Cayman Islands.

Scotland presented a keynote speech to the 6th annual Campbells Cayman Fund Focus Conference, the theme of which was “Stress Testing Cayman Funds”.

She observed that it is time for the Cayman Islands’ fund industry to do some introspection taking into consideration the internal and external pressures the industry faces (for example, the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, the credit crisis, and high profile fund collapses).

Scotland said that Cayman remains the leading centre for fund registrations, as at December 31, 2007, however she emphasized that there are always areas to be enhanced. According to her, “The Cayman funds industry – in fact the entire financial industry as it is now so highly interrelated – must seriously examine itself to identify what it can do from within to strengthen itself against shocks such as are currently being experiences worldwide”. She noted that, in particular, the funds industry has a great opportunity to demonstrate leadership as regards self-regulation. So, it is time for the industry to exercise the capacity for innovation in order to develop and adopt the best worked-out standards that would be relevant particularly to this jurisdiction.

Regarding the regulatory issues, he suggested that Cayman remains up to international scrutiny. She also reminded that the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) assessed the jurisdiction as having good compliance, meeting 38 of the 40+9 anti-money laundering recommendations, which is above the average of 26 for FATF member countries.

Cayman Islands being targeted by online scams

Monday, February 11th, 2008

In the end of January 2008, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) Financial Crimes Unit (FCU) warned businesses in Cayman to be cautious because of credit card scams. The warning was caused by a report from a local company that received suspicious communication from overseas.

As to the process of the credit card fraud, businesses get contacted by overseas companies that intend to buy goods or services, and often the orders are higher than those usually dealt with and they could be seen as a great luck for the victim’s business. The businesses targeted by scams are often accommodation providers asked for bookings for businessmen visiting a conference or seminar. The bill is paid with a credit card, then booking and request that the refund be sent in cash via a money transfer agency are canceled by the fraudster.

According to the RCIPS, it can be difficult to identify fraudulent communication from genuine one, however there are some distinctive features of the requests to help determine if further investigation is necessary.

The RCIPS warned the public to be cautious when receiving a letter or e-mail from a person:
– who offers money for doing basically nothing, other than claiming a large amount of cash;
– who originates from a foreign country (especially Nigeria and other African country, as well as China, Russia, the Middle East and Europe);
– who says the sender wants you to act urgently;
– who involves money tied up in some bank account, will or hidden vault;
– who proposes to simply send you a cheque (which will turn out to be forged);
– who asks you to keep the whole matter confidential.

People receiving suspicious emails are asked to report such cases.

Cayman Customs Bill postponed until February

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

Bills aimed mainly at reorganising the coding system of goods attracting Customs duty were put off to the next meeting of the House that will be held in February. The House adjourned January 23 until February 15.

Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson asked for the postponement of the Customs Tariff Bill, 2007 – the principal bill and companion legislation; the Customs (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2007; and the Customs (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill, 2007, at the Legislative Assembly. The postponement allows the Customs Department to go on discussing the contents of the bill with local merchants.

According to Jefferson, the Customs Tariff Bill mainly regards not a change in import duty rates, but a change to the coding of dutiable commodities.

Jefferson said that the new bill will be more substantial than the existing Law, and it requires continuing talks between Customs and Cayman merchants.

Continued growth in Cayman financial sector reported by CIMA

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

Recently, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) released CIMA’s Year in Review, 2006-07 report, in which the Authority disclosed details of its operations for the financial year ending on June 30, 2007 as well as indicators of Cayman financial sector’s performance.

CIMA reported the growth in financial services regulated by it during the 2006-2007 fiscal year and led by the investments and securities and insurance sectors.

The number of funds, fund administrators and securities investment businesses increased by 16%, from 9 233 at June 2006 to 10 742 at June 2007. Accounting for the largest portion, funds increased by 14% from 7 845 to 8 972 entities.

Insurance licences, comprising domestic insurer licences, captive licences, insurance managers, brokers and agents, grew from 882 to 923 – by a total of 4.6%.

The number of banking and trust licences in the banking sector declined by 4%, mainly due to continuing consolidations worldwide. However, the assets and liabilities of licensees went on increasing. Total international assets booked through banks in Cayman stood at USD 1.8 trillion at June 30, 2007, which is up 28% as compared to USD 1.4 trillion at June 30, 2006. Liabilities at June 30, 2007 totalled USD 1.8 trillion, which is an increased from USD 1.3 trillion at June 30, 2006.

The Year in Review mentioned CIMA’s cross-border assistance and involvement on regulatory issues. It included processing 156 requests for assistance from overseas regulatory authorities as well as the negotiation of memoranda of understanding for exchange of information with the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC).

The report also outlined CIMA’s performance against its 2006-007 strategic goals, work plan, and its operational support and administrative activities.