Traveling to the British Virgin Islands for the first time since the territory was devasted by Hurricane Irma last September is an eye-opening experience for those familiar with what was once a flourishing, high-end tourism destination.
It is difficult to see a bright future for offshore financial centers amid media attacks, international tax information exchange, initiatives to curb cross-border profit shifting by multinational companies, anti-tax avoidance measures, transparency efforts that erode financial privacy and more extensive compliance rules.
Major political events in recent times, from Brexit to the U.S. presidential elections, have been framed in the context of a debate between “open” and “closed” rather than “left” or “right.”
In May 2017, a George Town pharmacy housed in CTMH Doctors Hospital received a shipment that just a year prior would have been unthinkable. That month, Professional Pharmacy Services legally purchased 12.96 liters (3.42 U.S. gallons) of cannabis oils from Canada’s CanniMed Therapeutics.
The twenty-third edition of the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI 23) ranked the Cayman Islands as the 22nd best financial center in the world out of 110 total jurisdictions. Cayman’s ranking improved nine places over the last year and was the highest among all U.K. Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.
The Cayman Islands has been linked to many cross-border legal disputes, but few span the number of jurisdictions or the amount of time as an ongoing case in the United States that is pitting a British Virgin Islands-based attorney against a U.S. district court.
Had the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit taken place in early January instead of February, all the talk about investment risks and threats to the economy would have been about geopolitics.
As the sharing of false or misleading “news reports” on social media has become a global issue, after accusations that Russia tried to influence votes in the United States, Britain and France, technology companies like Facebook and Twitter have been hit with considerable criticism about their impact on society and on the journalism industry.
The British government announced a new public register that from 2021 will require overseas companies that own or buy property in the U.K. to identify their beneficial owners to tackle money laundering through property transactions.
Government officials in the Bahamas are attempting to stay abreast in the competition for attracting international investors and businesses. The island nation recently passed the Commercial Enterprises Bill, which makes it easier for foreign companies to land there and obtain permits for non-Bahamian workers.
On Dec. 5, the EU Council agreed, after long debate, haggling and horse trading, on a blacklist of 17 countries that the European finance ministers consider uncooperative in tax matters. They also voted on a commitment list of 47 countries that would be deemed uncooperative, according to the EU’s own criteria, had they not agreed in writing to remedy their shortcomings by the end of 2018.
Not least since the Panama Papers, media around the world have tirelessly repeated allegations that offshore financial centers are secrecy havens that enable financial crime.
With the looming decision by the European Union over which countries to put on a tax blacklist, Cayman should look elsewhere for new business says local attorney Anthony Travers.
A greater number of women may sit on the boards of Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 companies, but that does not mean women are achieving seniority.
Even for a jurisdiction used to an ever-changing regulatory landscape, the end of 2017 particularly tumultuous time for the Cayman Islands financial services industry.
For a country like Cayman whose currency is tied to the U.S. dollar and therefore to the whims of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s monetary policy actions, the Cayman Investment Summit had a decidedly gloomy message: the U.S. dollar-led global currency system is in urgent need of reform and central banks have essentially no power to affect monetary or economic goals.
There are two forces holding down long-term interest rates in the U.S. currently, despite above-trend economic growth which might otherwise point to higher rates. The first is the U.S. Federal Reserve’s balance sheet expansion, or quantitative easing as it is known in the markets. The second is a pronounced slowdown in measured and expected inflation over the course of 2017.
After Hurricane Ivan ravaged the Cayman Islands on Sept. 11-12, questions persisted for days about whether the island’s financial services industry would also be devastated.
Government officials and industry professionals have long stressed the importance of regulatory compliance for their firms and for the wider financial services industry in the Cayman Islands.
Addressing the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen delivered a striking tone on the inflationary debate. Reiterating the “mystery” surrounding the recent low inflation readings, the chairman’s candid remarks did very little to stir markets.