There are very serious economic and financial implications for the British Virgin Islands as a consequence of the United Kingdom’s decision to impose public registers of beneficial ownership on the Overseas Territories.
When late last year, Cayman avoided being placed on an EU tax blacklist by committing to remedy, before the end of 2018, what the EU called a lack of economic substance of Cayman-based entities, few knew what exactly the Cayman Islands government had promised to do.
The reversal of trade liberalization and a return to the average tariffs of 1990 would depress the world’s long-term living standards by about 14 percent worldwide and as much as 15 to 25 percent in the most affected countries.
2017 can be characterized as a year that should be celebrated. The world’s economy enjoyed synchronized global growth, with all major developed economies reporting positive GDP growth.
The Cayman Islands is facing somewhat of a dilemma. Although its regulatory regime is not tailored to cryptocurrencies, token offerings or distributed ledger technology, Cayman became home to the world’s largest initial coin offering this year.
With constant threats of blacklists, gray lists and other financial sanctions, the Cayman Islands and other British Overseas Territories have a long-standing contentious relationship with international bodies such as the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Moderate growth in the U.S. in the context of a wider global slowdown led by reduced consumer demand is going to impact Cayman, especially in the tourism sector, according to Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Stifel Fixed Income.
Even for jurisdictions that are used to moving goalposts in terms of international regulatory pressure, the passing on May 1 of a cross-party amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill in the House of Commons, effectively ordering British Overseas Territories to establish public registers of beneficial ownership, was unique.
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.