Financial services lunch deemed successful

A financial services luncheon held last week in London was deemed a success by guests, organisers and sponsors and is hoped to be the first of many such events targeting relationship building and education in Cayman’s key business target cities.

The luncheon – sponsored by the Cayman Islands Financial Services Association and organised by the Cayman Islands Investment Bureau in London – was held to promote Cayman’s financial services industry and strengthen ties between the City of London and the Cayman Islands, states a press release.

More than 85 senior guests attended the luncheon, including Mark Simmonds – UK Opposition Foreign Affairs spokesman, Cheryl Scott – the Treasury department’s Head of International Tax Policy, Rab Mackenzie of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and representatives from the UK’s Financial Services Authority including Megan Butler, Head of International Policy and Law.

Eduardo D’Angelo Silva, CIFSA Director said he was delighted with the number and calibre of guests.

‘The top names from London’s financial services industry attended and we were able to spread the message about Cayman’s well regulated business environment and promote the complete range of financial services our Islands has to offer,’ he said.

‘The luncheon is just one of many activites CIFSA has been involved in over the past 12 months. CIFSA is a relatively new organisation, however in this short time we great success with achieving our goal of educating elite opinion and the international media on the high standards of regulation of which our Islands uphold.’

Professor Barry Rider of Jesus College Cambridge who attended the lunch said, “Tim Ridley was able to explain CIMA’s objectives, approach and ambitions to an educated and expert audience.’

‘The event was enormously helping in helping raise the profile of CIMA and CIFSA to an influential international audience,” Professor Rider said.

CIMA chairman and principle speaker at the event, Tim Ridley said he was pleased with the large attendance at the event as well as the feedback he received from guests.

“The event was extremely successful – a first for Cayman as it brought together both Cayman and UK regulators and the Cayman and City private sectors in a magnificent setting. I hope it is the first of similar gatherings in other major financial centres,” he said.

Mr Ridley spoke about the Islands’ recovery from Ivan, domestic and international regulatory initiatives, and current business trends in Cayman’s financial services industry – highlighting the captive insurance and mutual funds sectors as key drivers of growth.

‘With the total number of captives now writing close to US$6 billion in premium and reporting more than US$22 billion in assets, Cayman remains a domicile of choice.’ Mr Ridley said.

‘Last year the Cayman Islands successfully maintained their position as the second leading domicile worldwide for the formation of captive insurance companies,’ he said. ‘In 2004, CIMA licensed 75 new captives, bringing the total number of licensees to 693. This represents a 7 per cent increase over the previous year.’

‘Cayman remains the market leader for offshore hedge funds thanks to its legal and accounting expertise and its regulatory flexibility and efficiency. Last year’s growth rate of 107 per cent resulted in the number of supervised funds exceeding 5,900.’

Of the soon-to-be-published International Monetary Fund (IMF) review, Mr Ridley said CIMA had conducted a comprehensive self-assessment that largely mirrored the scope of the IMF review and was therefore aware of the concerns that were likely to be raised by the IMF.

‘Certain technical amendments to the various regulatory laws to deal with immediate issues were already in hand at the time of the assessment and are likely to be enacted shortly,’ he said.

McKeeva Bush, Leader of Government Business, commented: ‘I have been closely involved in the organisation of this Cayman-London luncheon, and I am delighted it was such a success – I am confident that it will be the first of many.’