This quarter, the focus of the ministry of finance (financial services) is on fostering mutual understanding between the Cayman Islands and the UK, and economic outreach to existing and emerging markets, with an emphasis on the insurance and funds sectors.
A visit from the director of the London Office, Lord Blencathra and three MPs from the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) will heighten their awareness of Cayman’s current programmes and initiatives, from both the public and private-sector perspectives.
In the UK, the APPG’s role is to build the relationship between the Cayman Islands and UK governments, and to develop an understanding of the Cayman Islands’ interests. The London Office assists the APPG by providing monthly updates on current issues.
During their visit, Lord Blencathra and the MPs will focus on small business and commerce, culture, biodiversity, tourism and the political and legislative system. Governor Duncan Taylor and Premier McKeeva Bush will host the delegation at various events.
Regarding governance matters, Lord Blencathra will attend a presentation by Dr Paul Sutton on the evolving social and financial relationship between the Cayman Islands, the UK and the European Union, and how potential changes to that relationship may affect the workings of Cayman’s government and civil society.
Dr Sutton is a consultant to the West Indian Commission, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Caribbean Council for Europe and the European Centre for Development Policy Management. Lord Blencathra and the MPs will also meet with top government officials during their visit.
From the private-sector perspective, meetings with Cayman Enterprise City, Dart Enterprises, Narayana Cayman University Medical Centre, Chamber of Commerce and Cayman Finance will inform Lord Blencathra and the MPs on matters relating to economic development and the business environment of the Cayman Islands.
Economic outreach efforts that will raise the profile of the Cayman Islands financial services over the coming months include the Risk & Insurance Management Society Conference and Exhibition (RIMS), the Brazil Offshore Investment Summit (BOIS), both in April, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Conference and the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), both in May.
The insurance sector will attend RIMS to raise its visibility and to reach out to potential new clients in the captive insurance sector. Government is collaborating with the Insurance Managers Association of Cayman to exhibit at this conference, which is the largest of its kind in North America.
Similarly, government aims to increase awareness of the jurisdiction’s strength in the funds sector by attending BOIS. The Ministry will exhibit during the four-day conference, from 24-27 April. Attending the summit is the latest initiative to build awareness of our financial services industry in emerging markets, with government embarking on this strategy with visits to India in 2010 and China in 2011.
The STEP Conference will be held at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman from 14-16 May, with more than 150 overseas attendees; it focuses on best practices for foreign and local trust practitioners.
Lastly, the CDB meeting is also significant in terms of the Cayman Islands’ regional profile, in particular since it will be hosted by government, and as the Cayman Islands Premier has chaired the board of governors since 2011.
The annual meeting is scheduled from 20-25 May at The Ritz-Carlton and, at the conclusion of the meeting, Premier Bush will hand over the chairmanship to his successor.
This year, CDB has incorporated into the agenda a strong focus on Cayman’s youth, through the Vybzing Youth Forum. The forum provides a platform for youth to be exposed to CDB’s mandate, role and function, and to learn about various issues that affect their lives.
The Ministry is engaging in such a high level of activity for the next two months because it recognises the importance of strong, respectful relationships with the UK, and the private sector. These relationships result in better understanding on all sides, which in turn supports a strong economy – and a strong economy pays dividends to all residents of the Cayman Islands.