Archive for March, 2009

Cayman establishes Tax Cooperation with 7 countries

Friday, March 27th, 2009

On March 19, 2009, the government of the Cayman Islands announced that the comprehensive tax information assistance will be extended as it establishes such cooperation with 7 new countries. This was done under provisions in the Tax Information Authority Law introduced in 2008, which do not require a bilateral treaty.

The following countries – Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Slovak Republic – now can request tax information from Cayman under this unilateral mechanism. These can be requests made in relation to both civil/administrative and criminal tax issues.

According to the Leader of Government Business, Kurt Tibbetts, the jurisdiction was one of the 1st ones to commit to OECD standards for transparency and exchange of information in tax issues. That commitment has been upheld by working with OECD and non-OECD colleagues with a view to design effective standards. He also noted that the 1st treaty was tax information agreement with the United States that was signed in 2001.

It is worth noting that the unilateral mechanism is complementary to the jurisdiction’s bilateral negotiation program. The latest development in that area was concluding negotiations with the Nordic countries for a series of bilateral agreements, including tax information agreements.

CIMA signs Memorandum of Understanding with Brazilian Regulator

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

As an attempt to strengthen its commitment to cooperating and sharing information with international regulatory counterparts, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) has recently signed the Memorandum of Understanding with a major Brazilian regulator. This was the latest establishment of formal ties with foreign regulators. The CIMA signed the document with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Brazil (the Comissão de Valores Mobiliários).

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by CIMA Managing Director Cindy Scotland and Chairperson of CVM Maria Helena dos Santos Fernandes de Santana.

This was CIMA’s second Memorandum of Understanding with a Brazilian entity, the previous one was established with Banco Central Do Brazil (Brazil’s Central Bank) in March 2006.

Scotland said, “Brazil is one of the largest emerging economies in the world – one of the BRIC nations – with significant prospects for growth and development and I believe this MoU has an important role to play in bolstering economic opportunities between the Cayman Islands and Brazil.”

Cayman Islands talks on agreements with Nordic countries

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

The Cayman Islands and the 7 Nordic countries – Finland, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, Denmark, Faroe Islands, and Iceland – have concluded technical negotiations on bilateral agreements. The documents to be signed include tax information agreements. The negotiations took place at a meeting between the respective delegations that was held in Copenhagen on March 5-6, 2009.

These were the 2nd-round negotiations, but the 1st-round had taken place on April 17-18, 2008 in the Cayman Islands.

Cayman Minister for International Financial Services Policy, Alden McLaughlin expressed his pleasure see these agreements with Nordic Group partners because this proves that much can be achieved if parties approach negotiations in a fair manner. He also said that the Cayman Islands is going to continue this trend, involving arrangements for the provision of information on tax matters. McLaughlin added that such arrangements signify that the jurisdiction does not trade on secrecy or illicit tax activity.

The 7 tax information agreements are to be signed in April 2009 in Stockholm.

IMF assesses Regulatory Regime in Cayman Islands

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

From March 2 until March 13, a team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was conducting an assessment of the supervision and regulation of the Cayman Islands financial sector. The team stayed in Grand Cayman.

The IMF delegation was hosted by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA).

The review of the assessment is an update on the 2003 IMF Assessment that was published in 2005. It will not contain a separate review of the anti-money laundering regime as the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) covered this in 2007. The summary of the CFAFT Report will be included in the IMF report

During the stay in Cayman Islands, the IMF delegation led by Effie Psalida, the Deputy Division Chief, Monetary and Capital Markets Development, IMF met with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, government officials, and representatives from the financial services sector.

Final Draft of Cayman Constitution tabled by Kurt Tibbetts

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

On February 11, 2009, Kurt Tibbetts, the head of the Caymans Islands’ government, tabled the final draft of the new Cayman Islands Constitution in the Legislative Assembly. This draft has been the subject of 5-month of discussions. The constitutional talks were aimed to draft a version that provides greater autonomy for the Cayman Islands.

The constitutional talks between the delegates from the Cayman Islands and the United Kingdom’s Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) started on September 29, 2008 and concluded on February 5, 2009. As a result of the discussions, a final draft of the new constitution has been published on the Cayman’s constitution website.

The public will vote on the final draft of the new constitution during a referendum that will be held in May 2009.

Hong Kong Representative named by Cayman Shipping Registry

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Aiming to further expand its global network, the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry (CISR) has named its 1st representative in Hong Kong. The representative is Mr Martin Chu who is establishing a new location for the shipping registry. Mr Chu joined CISR as its Business and Technical Consultant, Far East.

Hong Kong is the 9th location in the world where CISR has representation.

In 2008, Ms Evelyn Soon was named as the 1st CISR representative in Singapore. Mr Yoshinori Uno has been the CISR representative in Tokyo for several years and attracted many large commercial vessels to the Cayman flag.

Cayman and Malta sign Memorandum of Understanding

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

On February 18, 2009, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) oficially established bilateral ties with the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA).

The 2 financial services regulators signed the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding at a signing ceremony at CIMA. It should be noted that this agreement boosts the number of Memoranda of Understanding signed by CIMA with international counterparts to 14.

This memorandum will govern cooperation and the exchange of information between the regulators that actually had been taking place on an informal basis.

On behalf of the MFSA, the document was signed by Chairman and President Professor Joseph Bannister. According to him, this was just a matter of formalising the relationship. He said, “We have always had good relations with Cayman and exchanged information freely. Information has always been provided to us when required regardless of whatever sector of the financial services industry it has been.”