The tax transparency drive led by the world's largest
economic powers is effectively helping to drive business to
Bermuda, according to a top lawyer with an international
Steven Rees Davies, corporate partner with Appleby
Bermuda, said the fact that Bermuda had kept pace with
international regulatory changes allowed the island to
differentiate itself from less advanced offshore
"Bermuda has earned an excellent reputation for
regulatory standards because of the high standards the Bermuda
Stock Exchange and the Bermuda Monetary Authority have put in
place, which has positioned the island as a blue-chip jurisdiction
that companies want to do business with," Mr Rees Davies
"And these companies are seeking a jurisdiction with a
reputation that matches theirs. Some have come to us saying they
want to move from another jurisdiction to Bermuda because they are
becoming more sensitive to risk."
Appleby announced last month that it had advised on a $200
million public offering and listing on the BSX of British
Virgin Islands-based Waterloo Investment Holdings Ltd, which
has hospitality, banking and investment interests in the Caribbean
and Central America. Also advising on the deal was the Bermuda
office of Estera, an offshore management and
administrative services firm formed by a spin-off from Appleby
Waterloo was the latest in a string of debt and equity
listings on the BSX by international companies that the
two firms have advised on over the last 18 months, with a listing
value of $453 million.
The listings include Madison Point Holdings SA
(Luxembourg), Hawley Group Ltd (BVI), Normandy Ltd
(Bermuda) and ABM International (Holdings) Ltd (UK).
Sherman Taylor, Estera Bermuda associate director, said:
"We are absolutely seeing a rise in the number of inquiries
and in addition to that, an uptick in the number of requests to
carry out instructions."
Much of the interest is coming from Europe and Latin
America, he said. Official recognition of the BSX by the Irish
tax authorities, announced in January this year, had helped to
boost interest in listings from Europe.
The island had a reputation for innovation in financial
services, exemplified by it emerging as a world leader in
insurance-linked securities over the past six years.
"Bermuda is open for business and the BSX is always
open to listen to what people want," Mr Taylor added.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development, a club of rich countries, has led international
efforts to clamp down on secrecy jurisdictions and improve tax
transparency. This had created problems for some
financial centres, but for Bermuda, it had created opportunities,
Mr Rees Davies said.
"Bermuda has never had secrecy laws, so the move
towards greater transparency is simply promoting what we already
do," Mr Rees Davies said.
"The Bermuda Government has been excellent in securing
tax information exchange agreements and has been fully
involved with the OECD in working towards the goal of tax
Prospects were good for Bermuda's future, Mr Rees
Davies added, although much could change in the world with the
ongoing process of Britain's departure from the
European Union and elections in the US and Bermuda also
"A lot is going on in the world and locally that will
affect everybody's view," Mr Rees Davies said.
"But we in Bermuda are well positioned for whatever the future
brings. We have put ourselves in a place in which we can provide
people with what they may be missing elsewhere.
"From our perspective, it's a positive
Article first published in the Royal Gazette October
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