Jurisdictional comparison - 01 October 2016

The key benefits of the Cayman Islands

Established in 2015, our Cayman Islands office is one of the most recent developments in our expanding global footprint.

Prior to deciding upon Cayman for our new office, Hawksford took the opportunity to first review all of the Americas-based offshore jurisdictions, to determine which had the reputation, credibility, products and appeal to meet the demands of existing and potential clients. The Cayman Islands was the jurisdiction that best passed those tests.

The jurisdiction of choice

Based in the tax-free and politically stable Cayman Islands, our Cayman office is well positioned to serve individuals, corporations and investment funds who seek a neutral tax regime, security for their assets, confidentiality of their affairs and first class financial services.

This English-speaking British Overseas Territory consists of three islands in the Caribbean approximately 1 hour’s flying time from Miami, 3 hour’s flight from New York, and 12 hour’s flight from London, to all of which there are direct flights.

Grand Cayman is home to the Islands’ business district. The beaches, diving, sophisticated attractions and local hospitality, encourage visitors to Cayman to conduct business in person, whilst enjoying the pleasures the islands have to offer.

For these reasons and many more, leading financial institutions, Fortune 500 companies and private and public businesses have chosen Cayman for the administration of their affairs.

Cayman Islands at a glance

"The Cayman Islands have effectively demonstrated their staying power as one of the leading financial services centres."

Offshore success story

The success of the Cayman Islands lies in their contribution to the world economy. Here are a few of the factors which have contributed to this:

Geopolitical stability

As a British Overseas Territory, the Cayman Islands Government is headed by Her Excellency, The Governor, who is a senior British civil servant, appointed by, and responsible to, the British Crown. Through her, the British Government retains direct responsibility for internal and external security, for the judiciary and for external relations. The Islands, however, enjoy a high degree of self-government with a Legislative Assembly comprising both elected and official members, responsible for enacting local laws. Drawn from the elected members, are the Premier and the Cabinet who are responsible for the day-to-day running of the Government.

There is a highly effective and respected local court system based on English law, with appeals to the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal, and ultimately to the Privy Council in the United Kingdom.

A large portion of the local economy is dependent on financial services, therefore there is significant legislation relating to the industry to include the Financial Services Division at the Grand Court.

In addition to the highly successful financial sector, the Islands have a significant tourist industry and together these constitute a vibrant local economy, providing virtual full employment and a high standard of living.

Commitment to the financial sector

The Cayman Islands continue to lead the way when it comes to meeting the wealth management objectives of high-net-worth clients and creating corporate efficiencies for multinationals and businesses.

The Cayman Islands Government fully supports the financial industry which makes a significant contribution to the high standard of living the Islands enjoy. The Government maintains advisory committees with participants from all sectors of industry. Private sector committees advise the Government on any potential amendments to legal statutes which may be desirable to keep its legislation competitive and attractive to outside investors. This has ensured highly competitive trust, corporate, investment and banking legislation, with features appropriate to meet the needs of its global client base.

Many of the world’s highly skilled lawyers, accountants, fund administrators, trust professionals, corporate service practitioners and more are drawn to the island, contributing to the reputation of the Cayman Islands as a centre of excellence in the offshore finance space.

The Islands do not have any income or capital taxes and in many cases Cayman Island entities can get a written guarantee from the Cayman Islands Government that should the law change the entity will remain tax free for a period of 50 years.

The Cayman Islands have effectively demonstrated their staying power as one of the leading financial services centres.

Culture of compliance and integrity

In an era of increasing transparency for financial services, investors are naturally concerned that international standards are met. The Cayman Islands are committed to international tax transparency standards and in recognition, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), have placed them onto their ‘white list’ of compliant jurisdictions.

The Cayman Islands have a strong framework of cooperation and information exchange. The Cayman Island Monetary Authority (CIMA) is a full member of the IOSCO , the principal global standard setting body for the regulation of securities markets. Its objectives encompass cooperation and information exchange, standard setting and surveillance, and mutual assistance.

Business friendly environment

The time location (GMT- 5) is ideal for organisations operating their businesses from Asia, Europe and the Americas. The relationship between Cayman and the Americas is well established, thanks to excellent political, commercial and community links.

The Government recognises the importance that the finance industry plays in the local economy and works with the industry to provide compliant, responsive and flexible services to local and international markets.

Safe, English speaking, and with a huge talent pool of professionals form all over the world, the Cayman Islands are easy to love, both for business and pleasure.

"Protection of the finance business and maintenance of the zero tax environment is critical to the Islands future prosperity."

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