Key initiatives to date to promote economic development in the Cayman Islands

Economic Developments for a Grave New World  

The Cayman Islands government has identified a crucial need to take action in support of the country’s current and future economic future with the objective of not only mitigating the impact of the global economic downturn on the Islands’ economy, but taking advantage of opportunities to position Cayman for success in the recovery and well into the future.
An important first step in this long-term strategy was the decision taken to create the Ministry of Finance, Tourism and Development, bringing together the talent, resources and policy initiatives from our two main economic sectors in way that seeks to create investment opportunities.
Under this fully-integrated Ministry, a number of key initiatives are in place to help drive economic growth and progress in the Cayman Islands.  They include the following:
–    Immigration directives that will make it easier for financial services firms to attract and retain top talent which will in turn help continue to drive business in that sector and keep the Cayman Islands at the forefront of the global financial markets, the specifics to date include:

  • A special subcommittee of the Business Staffing Plan board which focuses on financial services matters
  • A list of critical positions within the financial services industry which the immigration board shall designate as key under certain specific conditions
  • The Immigration Boards and Chief Immigration Officer are can grant three-year permits to certain professional categories and three- to five-year permits for other categories.
  • Preparations for a National Planning Initiative that will focus on the long-term sustainable development of the Cayman Islands, with an immediate focus on economic strengthening and diversification.
  • Upgrading of the former Cayman Islands Investment Bureau to a full-scale Department of Commerce and Investment with a mandate to support, advise and act on behalf of potential investment management firms considering Cayman.
  • Formation of the National Investment Council and Supporting Investment Advisory Board.
  • The NIC consists of members from the private and public sector to spearhead our national investment strategy.  The Council will report to a special Cabinet Committee, chaired by me and comprised of all five elected representatives. The members of the NIC are William Peguero, Michael Ryan, Jim O’Neal, Burns Connolly, James Bergstrom and Marcus Cumber. 
  • The NIC will be supported by an Investment Advisory Committee consisting of senior civil servants from immigration, planning, environment, employment relations, customs, tourism, financial services and agriculture. The IAC will provide technical input on all matters before the NIC, determine the criteria and standards for evaluation of projects, review applications submitted by investors and make recommendations to the NIC.

While the first order of business for the NIC is to evaluate options for economic diversification, this will be done with a view to support and strengthen our existing economic pillars. The development of new industries and new opportunities must create the necessary linkages to allow Caymanian entrepreneurs to thrive.
–    Working in conjunction with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority to focus specifically on the needs of the financial services industry, specifically supporting CIMA’s previously-announced development of a rolling 5-year strategic plan, currently in the initial stages, which seeks to elevate our status as a well-respected and top-ranked international financial centre.

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Michael J. Burns

Michael is the Group Head of the BVI Corporate and Commercial Team. Michael specialises in all aspects of corporate and commercial law. 

Michael J. Burns 
Managing Partner
British Virgin Islands

T: + 1 (284) 852 5318       
E: [email protected];



The Cayman office of Appleby, Appleby (Cayman) Ltd., traces its origins back to 1945 and as such is the oldest legal practice in Cayman. The office now has over 150 partners and staff and is widely recognised for providing first class litigation and insolvency legal services as well as corporate and commercial advice.

The Cayman Islands have branches of 40 of the world’s 50 largest banks. It is the leading offshore jurisdiction for the registration of investment funds and is the second largest captive domicile in the world with more than 700 captives. The jurisdiction is also recognised in providing trusts, structured finance, company and partnership formation and vessel and aircraft registry services.

The availability of expert professional advice and the reputation for being a respectable and well-regulated financial centre with a stable and business-friendly government, have contributed to the success of the islands’ financial services industry. Listed on the OECD’s white list, service providers adhere to all relevant international compliance standards and are committed to supporting global efforts to fight financial crime. 

Clifton House
75 Fort Street
PO Box 190
Grand Cayman KY1-1104
Cayman Islands

T: +1 345 949 4900
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E: [email protected]