Archive for April, 2008

Project management chapter to attract investors

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

A bid is being completed by project managers to establish a local professional chapter in the Cayman Islands. The chapter is expected to make Cayman attractive for investors and businesses.

Project management, which suggests planning and managing resources to achieve a plan, has become a recognised profession since the US-based Project Management Institute (PMI) that has 260 000 members and 251 chapters worldwide was established about 40 years ago.

President of the Cayman Islands Project Management Association, Patrick Cimolini, and a group of project managers are applying for establishing the Cayman chapter of PMI. They hope that it will be set up by the middle of 2008.

According to Cimolini, it might offer people more confidence in investing in Cayman and doing business there. The Cayman Islands already can boast of good professionalism in the legal, accounting and engineering areas, and project management will add up to an image of professionalism of Cayman.

It should be noted that Cayman’s project managers are now on the 3rd step of a 5-step process to become chartered.

CIMA and UK’s FSA sign agreement

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) and the United Kingdom’s national regulator of financial services and markets Financial Services Authority (FSA) have signed a memorandum of understanding.

The memorandum of understanding for the exchange of information and investigative assistance was signed on February 21, 2008. This document is the latest cooperation agreement between the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and a UK regulator, and it provides a formal basis for cooperation between the two organizations.

According to CIMA, the agreement is similar to 11 others signed with overseas financial regulators. It outlines the types of assistance that can be requested and given by Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and the UK’s FSA. These types include discussing issues of mutual interest; providing or verifying information; obtaining specified information and documents from other parties; arranging and conducting inspections of financial services providers, and others.

Recently, CIMA implemented an agreement with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner of Washington State. Also, CIMA has cross-border agreements with the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC); the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US; the Bermuda Monetary Authority; the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions in Canada; the Central Bank of Brazil; the Isle of Man Financial Supervision Commission; the Bank of Jamaica; the Superintendency of Banks of the Republic of Panama; and a multilateral Memorandum of Understanding with 8 Caribbean regulators.

Cayman Chamber of Commerce welcomes advise on next census

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson has recently announced that members of the business community will be able to express their opinions in the questions to be included in the national census that is planned to be conducted in 2010.

The Chamber of Commerce was asked to nominate a representative that would become the head of a Census Advisory Committee. The Financial Secretary said that including one of the members in the advisory committee would ensure that the needs of the business community were addressed in the census questionnaire that is related to data required for future decision-making. According to Jefferson, the Census Advisory Committee will convene in May 2008.

The last census was held in 1999, and it consisted of 71 questions. The Chamber of Commerce was not represented on the advisory committee, however, it played an important role in publicizing the survey.

It was approved by the Cabinet in February that the planning, preparing and implementing the next population and household census will be be held in October 2010.

“Early approval of the census by Cabinet is important in view of the required two to three years of preparation for the census,” Jefferson said.

The census will be varried out by the Economic and Statistics Office (ESO), and it aims at obtaining a total count of residents in Cayman as well as to determine their demographic, social and economic characteristics.

How strict should directorship regulation be in Cayman?

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

As in the hedge funds industry the demand for independent directors grows, there is increasing debate on directorship regulation. It is debated how much control is appropriate for directors and whether the hedge funds industry can oversee itself.

According to experts, the rising demand for independent directors has been driven partially by investors who call for good corporate governance. Investor confidence has been recently and is continuing currently to be hurt by recent corporate failures. Independent director professionals suggest that the industry has to be proactive in maintaining the Cayman islands’ reputation as a successful jurisdiction for hedge funds.

The Cayman Islands Directors Association (CIDA) was formed in April and this means that the maturation of the emerging industry of independent directors is in process. The CIDA aims at promoting a code of conduct for the profession.

Although the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) does not specifically oversee directors, many professionals providing services of company manager, offshore mutual fund administrator, trust company or insurance company are already regulated.

Moody’s recognizes economic resilience of Cayman

Friday, April 11th, 2008

According to the international ratings agency, Moody’s Investors Service, Cayman’s maintenance of its favourable government foreign currency bond rating illustrates the economic resilience of this offshore jurisdiction in the face of uncertainty that surrounds the US economy as well as in the face of recent natural disasters and.

In a report on the Cayman Islands’ macroeconomic performance published by Moody’s in March, it was noted that Hurricane Ivan caused the devastation by in 2004, and that Cayman was able to bounce back from disaster – which kept intact the jurisdiction’s Aa3 government foreign currency bond rating. It should be noted that this rating is the highest in the Caribbean, and 2nd only to Bermuda.

The report covered the Cayman Island’s 2007 performance, stating that economic growth has stabilized to approximately 4% over the previous 2 years, after 6.5% growth was posted in 2005 during the period of reconstruction after the hurricane.

In accordance with Moody’s report, while there are signs of deceleration in the construction sector in Cayman, financial services and tourism are growth drivers that comprise around 70% of GDP.

The report stated that despite the ongoing global financial crisis, the jurisdiction continues to play its role as a leader in the offshore industry and accounts for about 80% of the world’s mutual fund registrations. “In 2007, new mutual fund and company registrations remained in the double digits, and data for January 2008 shows the same trend continuing”.

Record membership announced by CIFSA

Monday, April 7th, 2008

The Cayman Islands Financial Services Association (CIFSA) started April with the announcement that, with 5 new companies signing on, it has grown to a record membership number.

AON Cayman National, Chris Johnson Associates, efg Wealth Management, Santander Bank and Stuarts Walker Hersant have joined CIFSA and brought the association’s membership to 43 organisations – 37 from the private sector and 6 association members.

Managing director of Aon Cayman National Insurance Brokers, Peter Popo, said that the company is pleased to become members of the association as CIFSA made important contributions “to improve the international perceptions of the financial-services industry and we look forward to supporting their continued success”.

According to a CIFSA director and a partner at Deloitte, Jeremy Smith, “the recent success of CIFSA’s increased membership shows that it is not only the mission of CIFSA, but that of the entire industry, to continue to communicate the integrity and strength of the financial services industry in the Cayman Islands”.

CIFSA was founded in November 2003 and is funded by its private sector members.

On April 16, 2008, the association will host a business luncheon with David Aaronovitch – British journalist and current affairs broadcaster, who will talk about the impact of economic nationalism on the international economy, as evidenced in the politics of the UK, the EU and the US.

CPI basket expands in Cayman Islands

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

To reveal more in-depth information as regards what households in Cayman are spending their money on, the Cayman government has uses a new expanded basket of goods and services in the latest CPI (consumer price index).

On March 26, 2008, the new CPI basket was revealed by Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson to a Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Mr. Jefferson explained that the Economic and Statistics Office (ESO) had adopted 12 major categories (rather than the previous eight) to determinine household expenditure.

The old system, which has been implemented in 1994, was based on a household income and expenditure survey from 1991, while the new CPI basket is based on a household budget survey that was carried out by the Ministry of Health in 2007 as part of the National Assessment of Living Conditions.

It is worth mentioning that the Chamber and business community have been repeatedly expressing their concern over using the outdated cost-of-living basket, as businesses use CPI statistics for forecasting future average price levels and consumer expenditure.

The updated system is based on the more recent survey. Under new method, housing and utilities take up the largest weighting at 391 per 1,000 (almost 40%), which compares with the previous weighting of 311. Also, the new system adds 2 categories – miscellaneous goods and services, and recreation and culture, as well as splits transport and communications into 2 separate sections. According to Jefferson, the new system added new items such as mobile phones and Internet expenditure in communications that were not included into the 1994 basket.

It is also important that Jefferson denied that there had been any political interference in the work of the ESO and rejected a call by the president of the Chamber, James Tibbetts, that an independent statistics office, free of direct government control, is to be established.