The past few months have been the most active and intense period in the Association’s five year history. As the attacks on our jurisdiction’s financial services sector have grown in number, frequency and seriousness CIFSA has taken decisive new action in defense of the industry.
In March CIFSA announced the creation of its International Advisory Board and the nomination of Anthony Travers as the new Chairman of CIFSA. Mr Travers will be focusing primarily on international relations and generating a more positive opinion of the Cayman Islands in the minds of foreign lawmakers through a more targeted and forceful delivery of the facts surrounding the services we offer and contrasting that against jurisdictions that promote secrecy and tax evasion.
In April Eduardo D’Angelo P. Silva, the Vice-Chairman of CIFSA, represented the Association at the 7th Financial Due Diligence Conference in Miami. Approximately 270 attendees from 29 jurisdictions met to discuss current issues facing Offshore Financial Centres (OFCs). Indicative of the attention being focused on OFCs these days, 18 reporters from around the world were also in attendance. Mr Silva spoke on two panels at the conference and generated a large amount of positive coverage for Cayman in the international press. Links to various articles quoting Mr Silva can be found on the CIFSA website, www.caymanfinances.ky.
During May CIFSA formalised its relationship with prestigious Washington, DC-based lobbying firm Quinn Gillespie & Associates (QGA). The firm is headed by Jack Quinn, former advisor to Democratic leaders; Mr Quinn also served as counsel to many Democratic campaigns before forming QGA.
Mr Quinn will be speaking at a dinner organised by CIFSA on 7 July at the Ritz-Carlton where dinner attendees will hear first hand how Cayman is perceived in Washington, the challenges that we face, and about the strategies being used to address them.
Shortly after the 20 May election results, CIFSA, along with other industry representatives, met with the new Leader of Government Business and Premier Designate, the Hon. McKeeva Bush, to convey our members’ concerns and deliver to the new government our thoughts on the specific type of support the industry needs from the Cayman Islands Government in order to defend and grow the sector moving forward. The new government expressed its firm commitment and support to taking the necessary steps to ensure the continued success of the industry in Cayman and CIFSA looks forward to a close and productive partnership with the CIG.
CIFSA is currently developing an upgrade to its website presence in order to more effectively deliver its messages to an international audience and to continue the evolution of the website into a destination site for anyone seeking information or commentary on OFC issues and Cayman financial services in particular. The new site will feature an improved navigation structure and more powerful search and archive capabilities. One of the new features, an online blog or commentary from prominent members, will actually be unveiled on the existing site in late June. The new site is expected to be fully functional by mid-August. Formal announcements for both events will go out to the media and our members.
Our industry is currently experiencing the effects of two global events. The first being the global financial crisis after the collapse of the credit bubble, the second being the efforts of certain of our competitor jurisdictions to redirect new and existing business by capitalising on the publicity surrounding the Cayman Islands given our high profile in comments from the US government and the OECD.
CIFSA is stepping up to meet the increased challenges facing our offshore financial centre. New memberships are growing steadily and involvement by our members in key initiatives is also expanding rapidly. CIFSA’s voice is becoming stronger internationally and the weight of our messages continues to grow in direct proportion with the support and involvement of our members, the most recent additions being Baraud International, Cayman Free Press, The Cayman Islands Directors Association (CIDA), The Cayman Islands Insurance Association (CIIA), IFINA (Cayman) Ltd and Dart Finance Ltd Under the leadership of Mr Travers and Mr Silva CIFSA has developed a detailed, multi-lateral strategy to guide our industry through these difficult times. Through our combined efforts as an Association, and working more closely with government, we are confident that the best days still lie ahead for the financial services industry in Cayman.