Cayman Islands: a respectable offshore and banking centre

Cayman is the largest offshore banking centre in the world and second largest insurance base after Bermuda, with assets worth $20 bn. Trusts and mutual funds are another growing sector of the economy of the Cayman Islands. In 1997 Stock Exchange was opened on the Cayman Islands.

The main advantages of Cayman are stable commercial infrastructure and flexible regulation rules. At the same time, this jurisdiction is respectable and, therefore, quite expensive. Currently there are more than 73,000 companies registered in the Cayman Islands. The types of company which may be registered in Cayman under the Companies Law are Ordinary Resident Company, Ordinary Non-Resident Company, Exempted Company and Exempted Limited Duration Company.

The law that generally governs companies' activities in the jurisdiction is Companies Law 1961 (as amended, in 1990 and 1995). It is based on English law and allows companies limited by shares, companies limited by guarantee, and unlimited companies. In practice, only companies limited by shares are registered.

Cayman trusts do not have to be registered, but must be licensed under the Banks and Trust Companies Law 1995. This rule, however, does not apply to individuals. Like companies and limited partnerships, trusts can be exempt, but must then be registered with the Registrar of Trusts and pay a fee in the amount of CI$400 (CI$100 annually thereafter). Then, a 50-year undertaking is given by the Governor to the Trustees, that no taxation will be imposed on the trust. The law governing trusts in the Cayman Islands is the Trusts Law 1996, which is based on English trust law.

Cayman Islands have very much developed banking industry, with 340 banks and deposits more than US$1 trillion. Cayman banks must obtain a licence under the Banks and Trust Companies Law 1995. The licences are divided into two classes: Class A licence gives permission to conduct both local and offshore business activities; only about 30 banks hold it. All the rest banks hold Class B licence, permitting only offshore business with only very limited transactions with Cayman Islands residents. Being able to provide asset protection, private banking is a major component of offshore industry.

Cayman has not joined the Hague Convention. There are some specific provisions for the non-recognition of foreign judgements and the exclusion of forced heirship.

There is no exchange control in the Cayman Islands. The Caymanian dollar is fixed against the US dollar at CI$1.00 to US$1.20.

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Cable & Wireless has announced that its principal operations in the Channel Islands, the Caribbean, Panama, Macau, and Monaco are expected to invest more than USD 400 million in Caribbean telecommunications development.
According to 2nd quarter figures released by the CIMA, more than 10 000 investment funds have been registered in the Cayman Islands, which is a key milestone achievement by Cayman financial services industry.
Following the US Senate hearing held on July 24, the US Congress intensified its attention to offshore finance.
Mr Carlyle McLaughlin Jr. has been appointed as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the (CIMA). This appointment will become effective on July 27, 2008.
The largest offshore law firm in BVI Harney Westwood & Riegels, announced the merger with C.S. Gill & Co, a firm based in the Cayman Islands. The office of the merged firm is expected to be opened on September 1 in George Town, Grand Cayman. Kieron O'Rourke, the head of investment funds sector of the BVI firm, and fellow partner Tim Clipstone will relocate to Cayman from Harney's BVI office.
The CIFSA has responded to a recent report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the UK's House of Commons that was looking for corrections as regards a misrepresentation of the standards of regulation within the UK's Overseas Territories mentioned in the report.
The Cayman government has announced that its legislature will shortly debate new legislation aimed to strengthen Cayman anti-money laundering defences.
The EU has revised a list of countries with satisfactory anti-money-laundering controls and excluded the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands from the "white list".
It has been recently revealed that CIMA was part of the CFATF team that evaluated the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regime of the BVI.
On May 12, 2008, the Cayman Islands Government and the Turks and Caicos Islands Government signed an agreement to develop Lands Registry in Turks and Caicos.
Project managers are completing a bid aimed to establish a local professional chapter in Cayman that is to make the jurisdiction attractive for investors and businesses.
Moody's Investors Service said that Cayman's maintenance of its favorable government foreign currency bond rating shows the economic resilience of this offshore jurisdiction in the face of uncertainty that surrounds the US economy.

12/04/2008 According to the announcement made by the Government of Belize on April 10, two important Memoranda of Understanding have been recently signed by the jurisdiction.

CIMA has broadened its network of agreements with overseas regulatory bodies by concluding Information Exchange Agreement with Washington.
Recently, CIFSA has made the following suggestion - although the Cayman Islands' service providers and the Regulatory Authority performs many activities to combat money laundering, certain international financial centres fail to recognise the Cayman anti-money laundering regime.
On February 21, 2008, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) and the United Kingdom's national regulator of financial services and markets Financial Services Authority (FSA) signed a memorandum of understanding.
The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority released CIMA's Year in Review, 2006-2007 report to disclose its operations for the financial year ending on June 30, 2007 and indicators of financial sector's performance in the Cayman Islands.
Deutsche Bank has been named as best private bank in the Cayman Islands in the Private Banking and Wealth Management Survey 2008 for the 2nd time.
US journalist John Fund has recently been invited by CIFSA to comment on US Congressional criticisms of the Cayman Islands and other offshore financial centres.
On November 16, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority celebrated its 10-year anniversary.
Two legal giants, Walkers of the Cayman Islands and Mourant du Feu & Jeune are engaged in merger talks, which could lead to the creation of the world's biggest offshore law firm.
CIFSA has welcomed changes to the insolvency legislation in the Cayman Islands that will soon be introduced. The changes include the licensing of practitioners and measures to help with cross-border insolvencies.
The Board of CIMA has approved the implementation of the new Basel II framework, which will be implemented in Cayman between 2010 and 2012.
Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson has told lawmakers that Cayman economy strengthens as in 2006 the jurisdiction maintained its international ranking of 6th place for total banking assets held by it, and the growth of the Cayman economy outpaced the growth of the United States.
On August 31, 2007, the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly passed the Freedom of Information Bill into law. This bill is to become law on January 1, 2009.
CIMA has released the report entitled "Look Forward Report: 2007-08", which describes the Authority's mission, goals and objectives, as well as indicates its strategies, tactics and work projects that will be undertaken during this fiscal year.
Two Cayman government agencies providing assistance to entrepreneurs and small business owners - the Cayman Islands Investment Bureau (CIIB) and the Cayman Islands Development Bank (CIDB) - are planning to work more closely together.
Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson said that in the next financial year (July 2007 - June 2008) strong growth of the Cayman economy is expected to continue. He predicted growth in GDP at 3.5%.
Recently, the Cayman Islands Financial Services Association (CIFSA), launched 4 years ago, reflected on its achievements in the promotion of an international image of financial services industry in the Cayman Islands.
In accordance with the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) provided by the City of London Corporation evaluating the competitiveness of 46 major financial centres located all over the world, the Cayman Islands is among the most competitive financial centres in the world. It has been ranked 16th in the list.
The Universal Postal Union has ranked overnight courier service of the Cayman Islands Postal Service as the 5th best in the world. So, Cayman courier service is among the best in the world, which is very essential for every offshore jurisdiction.
In March, the General Registry of the Cayman Islands Government enhanced Cayman Islands financial services offer by introducing an Arabic language facility. The facility is aimed to enable registration and other certificates to be issued with a company's name not only in English, but also in Arabic.
Cayman Islands-based real estate investor plans to invest $10 billion into the infrastructure of India. The investment will be made by Trikona Capital over the next several years. The company aims to solve the problems of India by being socially conscious.
The Cayman Islands Stock Exchange continues its growth, which was confirmed by Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson on March 5, 2007. He announced that the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange continues to be self-sufficient and profitable.
According the Cayman government, the Cayman Islands is going on maintaining its leadership position in international financial services and national economic performance and is moving ahead of its competitors. Cayman's ratings have been raised by an international credit rating agency and an independent provider of economic information, Moody's.
Butterfield Bank announced the record income for the Group for the full year 2006. Its net income reached $134.1 million. Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Limited made a great contribution to the performance of the Group as it has reached a record net income of $53.4 million, which is up 16.5% year on year ($7.6 million).
One of the most important annual conferences, Cayman Business Outlook 2007, took place in Cayman. It offered a glimpse of the Cayman future as it discussed numerous topics including how the US has positioned itself as the world's government in the 21st century and regional immigration trends influencing business.
Deutsche Bank has been awarded as the best private bank in the Cayman Islands in the Euromoney private banking survey 2007. Located in Cayman, Jersey and Guernsey, Deutsche Bank for the first time has been indicated in the top spot of the rating.
Maples and Calder, the offshore law firm, has acted as Cayman Islands counsel to the issuer, ADIB Sukuk Company Ltd. in establishing its USD 5 billion sukuk issuance programme. This is the 1st Islamic-compliant bond to be listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Limited announced providing a Gold mortgage as a  Butterfield Lifestyle Mortgages product. A 10% down payment, up to 25 years repayment term, a low interest rate and low bank fee are the conditions set for both existing and new clients.
Jersey has included Cayman Islands into the list of states and territories having an equivalent anti-money laundering legislation.
Government of the Cayman Islands announced the changes in the board of directors of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority. Dr Christopher Rose and Professor Willian Gilmore were appointed, and Dr Warren Coats was re-appointed for a three-year term.