Cayman Islands: A Year in Review: Cayman Finance

Charged with the protection, promotion, development and growth of Cayman's financial services industry, Cayman Finance has had one of its most successful years to date. From interviews on the UK's BBC World, the 3rd annual New York breakfast briefing, representation at a number of significant industry conferences and collaboration with government on new legislation and regulatory issues, Cayman Finance has made significant strides in maintaining the Cayman Islands' position as a world-class, premier global financial hub.

The Panama Papers disclosure brought international financial centres into the media cross hairs again, but while other jurisdictions may have been challenged by this situation, the strength of our industry, along with its overall growth this past year, demonstrates the confidence our clients have in the Cayman Islands.

The UK government's proposed publicly accessible central register of beneficial ownership information, the London anti-corruption summit, together with Brexit, meant much of our focus was on the United Kingdom this year. Jude Scott, Cayman Finance CEO visited London in May and November to ensure Cayman's financial services industry was represented to discuss these important issues with key stakeholders.

Cayman was able to demonstrate to the British government that its system for collecting and sharing beneficial information, via a non-public central platform, only accessible by Cayman law enforcement officials and including verification by licensed corporate service providers, was a substantially better option than the proposed public register.

Cayman agreed to an enhancement to its system which will help the UK law enforcement agencies access that information with the utmost urgency, but in a way that is appropriate for Cayman and its clients. The British government acknowledged the many steps already taken by the Cayman Islands to implement international automatic exchange of tax information protocols, such as the OECD Common Reporting Standard, and to adopt high standards with regard to tax transparency.

Our visit to London at the time of the Anti-Corruption Summit was important in terms of promoting Cayman's role as a strong partner in combatting money laundering, terrorism financing, corruption and tax evasion. We sent a strong signal that we were open to further enhancements to our legal infrastructure to promote even greater transparency with law enforcement – but any such enhancements must apply to all financial centres around the world.

 In London, Jude Scott was interviewed by the BBC World, Sky News and other mainstream financial media.

Following the UK's vote to leave the EU, Cayman Finance worked to communicate that Cayman would do its part to ensure the success and stability of the global financial economy in a period of uncertainty. Cayman's own political and economic stability, its sophisticated and comprehensive legal system and stable and business-focused government means the Cayman Islands is in a strong position to face any change.

A two week visit to Europe and the UK in November was undertaken to promote the Cayman Islands financial services industry and its role within Europe, the United Kingdom and the global financial economy. Mr Scott's visit coincided with the Joint Ministerial Council meetings held in London, as well as an EU debate about a potential new tax blacklist. Government, industry and media stakeholders in Europe play critical roles in creating the rules and perceptions that impact our industry and jurisdiction. Cayman Finance organised this trip to help them further understand how we facilitate international trade and investment while adhering to the highest international regulatory standards.

Domestically, Cayman Finance continues to build on the message of the positive contribution of our industry to the Cayman economy, particularly when it comes to developing young talent and investing in our next generation of financial services professionals in Cayman.

We are proud to report the successful conclusion to our second year of the Cayman Finance Student Education and Work Experience Programme after nine weeks of workshops and mentor sessions and a four week long work placement component.

The programme was developed in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs and the Ministry of Financial Services, Commerce and Environment with the goal of educating young Caymanians on the importance of the financial services industry, as well as creating pathways for those who are interested in pursuing careers in the industry. In its pilot year in 2015, the programme was available exclusively for Year 12 students in the government dual-enrollment programme in Grand Cayman. This year the programme was expanded to include Caymanian students in private schools, as well as students from Cayman Brac. In total, 68 students completed the workshop and mentor components, with 64 students accepting work experience placements at 29 different organisations. Cayman Finance partnered with the CFA Society on a local radio show Money Sense for a series which ran for a few months. Each segment focused on a different industry which explained what their industry does, how Caymanians can get involved, what their society does for the community, how it contributes to employment, what skills are needed to get involved, why it is important to Cayman.

Supporting the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce Career Expo, Jude met with students about the local financial services industry and the numerous career pathways available within it, including those in accounting, law, IT, marketing, human resources and operations.

Cayman Finance is proud to serve as the industry voice for the largest pillar of the Cayman Islands economy and looks forward to continuing our work in 2017 to fortify the Cayman brand and the brand of our financial services industry, both internationally and domestically. Following are just some of the highlights of what was an eventful and productive year.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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