Cayman Finance: The way forward

Read our article in the Cayman Financial Review Magazine, eversion

The appointment of Richard Coles in April as the chairman of
Cayman Finance marked not only a new chapter in the organisation but also a
renewed commitment to developing a closer working relationship with the Cayman
Islands government.

Coles taking over as chairman of Cayman Finance, the voice of
and for the country’s financial services industry, completes a major
restructuring, which was accomplished during a volatile few years for the
global and local economy. For the previous two years, Anthony Travers oversaw
the changes as the first chairman of the restructured organisation.

Travers’ efforts were invaluable in moving Cayman Finance
forward, and set the table for the way ahead. He navigated the organisation
through international criticism of Cayman’s financial reputation, persistently
defending the Islands’ position.

This emphasis on conveying the important messages that the
global community needs to receive remains a vital part of what Coles as
chairman will continue to develop. Rather than simply react to any specific
complaints, he will work to be as proactive as possible in delivering clear and
up-to-date facts about Cayman’s financial services.

“Over the last few years, Anthony Travers has worked
tirelessly to get our message out to the world and dispel long-held
misconceptions of the international community towards our industry. During my
time as chairman, I hope to continue to strengthen our public relations
efforts,” Coles said.

He also acknowledged the efforts of Cayman Finance’s first
chairman, banker Eduardo D’Angelo Silva, who was one of the founders of the
original Cayman Islands Financial Services Association, along with the late
Eric Crutchley, an industry leader and long-time local and international
banker.

“Without the determination and foresight of Eduardo D’Angelo
Silva in setting up CIFSA, and the many contributions of legendary industry
pioneer and co-founder Eric Crutchley, the Cayman Islands would have no unified
voice to promote and defend our industry on the international stage.

“Their vision and diligence enabled us to raise the profile
and the reputation of our financial services. I am honoured to follow their
significant lead and build on their work,” Coles said.

The new Cayman Finance chairman is uniquely qualified to
take up the mantle. His background points to a leader who will be equally
comfortable dealing with both the public and private sectors in promoting
Cayman’s financial services sector and its platform.

His resume is impressive. During a six-year period, he was
attorney general for the Cayman Islands, a member of Cabinet and the
Legislative Assembly, and a government minister appointed at the recommendation
of the UK government. In addition, he was acting governor of the Cayman
Islands. Previously, he was founding partner of a British firm of solicitors
and now has returned to private practice in Cayman.

Cayman Finance recognised his substantial qualifications
when he was voted in as chairman at the annual general meeting in April this
year. The board of directors that were newly or re-elected during that meeting
provide a unmatched supporting cast: Roy McTaggart, managing partner at KPMG;
Peter Cockhill, managing partner at Ogier; Nick Freeland, senior partner of
PricewaterhouseCoopers; Gonzalo Jalles, CEO of HSBC in Cayman; Mark Lewis,
managing partner at Walkers; Conor O’Dea, managing director of Butterfield Bank
(Cayman); David Roberts, managing director of Cayman Management; Dan Scott,
regional managing partner of Ernst & Young; Ian Wight, managing partner of Deloitte;
and Henry Smith, global managing partner of Maples and Calder.

On the public side, Cayman Finance welcomes the appointment
of Angela Piercy as the new head of communications at the Financial Services
Secretariat. Previously, she was chief information officer at Government
Information Services and her experience and contributions will be crucial as
the partnership solidifies between Cayman Finance and the government.

“Angela Piercy’s extensive experience with GIS makes her a
valuable partner as we look for opportunities to promote our sector. To
effectively take the financial industry’s message to the world, it is
imperative that Cayman Finance and government work together at a very high
strategic and tactical level,” Coles pointed out. “Towards that end, we will be
collaborating on a number of specific projects aimed at marketing Cayman
effectively both worldwide and locally.”

Among the possibilities is organising a series of overseas
road shows. These would allow members of Cayman’s financial-services sector,
both public and private, to meet their foreign counterparts in specially
arranged settings in which they could effectively and efficiently address any
misperceptions and/or inaccuracies.

Coles explained that while an important mission of Cayman
Finance is to ensure that Cayman’s financial-services industry is positively
and accurately portrayed on a global basis, the organiszation also promotes the
development of the sector by cooperation with both international and domestic
political leaders, regulators, organisations and media.

“Our mandate is to promote the integrity and transparency of
the industry. We will do that by taking a proactive stance in interacting with
the media through both local and international agencies. We need to communicate
clear and accurate messages about our financial services industry and its
regulation,” he stressed.

The key messages that Cayman Finance seeks to communicate
globally cover the range of advantages that Cayman’s political, regulatory,
legislative and financial climate offers over other jurisdictions.

These messages include:

  • Cayman is a well-developed international financial centre
    and a well-regulated domicile
  • Cayman is on the OECD White List of compliant jurisdictions
  • Cayman is committed to increasing tax transparency and
    fighting tax evasion on an international scale, having already signed 23 Tax
    Information Exchange Agreements.
  • The anti-money laundering regime in the Cayman Islands has
    outpaced international standards. The jurisdiction has long been involved in AML,
    and is a founding member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force,
    established in 1990 to implement measures to address the problem of money
    laundering.
  • No financial institution in the Cayman Islands failed in the
    global financial crisis

On a local level, Cayman Finance understands the need to
keep both individuals and businesses in Cayman informed on the work and
benefits of the financial-services industry to avoid any misunderstandings or
misinformation.

“As the representative of this important sector, Cayman
Finance must take the lead in addressing any inaccuracies that find their way
into the public domain. We need to be as proactive as possible. We cannot
afford simply to respond after a negative story is published. The idea is to
get out as many facts as possible out there so people can reach informed
conclusions,” Coles said.

“Toward this end, we will continue to work with our local
media partners on delivering appropriate and factual messages, to correct any
misconceptions, and cooperate with the foreign press to broadcast our messages
internationally.”

He explained that while it was clearly of paramount
importance that on the global level the integrity and transparency of Cayman’s
financial services are recognised, Cayman Finance also strives to ensure that
the sector’s many benefits on the domestic front are publicised.

“We need to demonstrate to the people of Cayman that the
industry is good for everybody rather than simply for the few working directly
in financial services, which is a commonly held, but incorrect, belief. The
industry was a major driver in the growth of the Cayman Islands and this has
led to the country’s overall economic success,” Coles said.

For example, the industry not only opens up jobs in such
sectors as accounting, finance, marketing, IT and human resources but also has
a knock-on effect by increasing employment prospects in real estate, car
dealerships, gas stations, grocery stores, construction companies and
restaurants.

In addition to correcting inaccuracies and dispelling false
impressions, it is also necessary to disseminate as much relevant information
as possible to the general public covering a range of financial issues, Coles
said.

He offered an example of local education efforts to
publicize the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and how it will affect US
citizens in Cayman. Under this regulation, which takes effect 1 January 2013,
all foreign financial institutions will be required to report to the Internal
Revenue Service any US citizens who hold accounts with them.

In April of this year, Cayman Finance worked with the Cayman
Islands Government to deliver important information on these legislative
changes through a free US tax seminar. Hundreds of people took advantage of the
opportunity to become better informed on this issue from a host of US- and
Cayman-based tax experts.

Following on from this very successful event, Cayman Finance
is again cooperating with government on creating a website containing valuable
information and offering access to resources to help navigate the upcoming
regulatory changes. In addition, there are plans to offer other seminars and
educational opportunities.

They will also utilise other forums that will provide public
relations opportunities. For example, Cayman Finance will be participating in
the Chamber of Commerce Business Expo scheduled for October this year.

Cayman Finance’s new chairman is certainly headed for a busy
year and he is embracing the challenges.

“The way forward is clear,” Coles said. “We must strengthen our
partnership with government to promote our industry, continually address any
misinformation or misconceptions and be the clearinghouse for the latest news,
as we fulfil our mandate to foster sustainable growth of financial services in
the Cayman Islands.”

For more information contact:
Lynne Byles
Cayman Finance
c/o Tower Marketing

T: +1 (345) 623 6700
E: lynne@tower.com.ky
W: www.caymanfinance.ky