IMF report praises Cayman regulations

A new report by the International Monetary Fund names Cayman for top banking, insurance, securities and money-laundering standards.

‘An extensive program of legislative rules and guideline development has introduced an increasingly effective system of regulation, both formalising earlier practices and introducing enhanced procedures,’ the two-volume report says.

‘The supervisory system benefits from a well-developed banking infrastructure with an internationally experienced and qualified workforce, as well as experienced lawyers, accountants and auditors,’ it said, adding that ‘the overall compliance culture within Cayman is very strong, including the compliance culture related to [anti money-laundering] obligations’.

Kenneth Jefferson, Cayman Financial Secretary, expressed his satisfaction at the report.

‘Government, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and industry leaders have worked in partnership over time to build a quality financial-services centre that operates well within accepted international standards.

‘I am pleased to see that the quality of our service providers and CIMA personnel was evident to the assessors.’

The report recommended additional ways of maintaining international standards.

CIMA Managing Director Cindy Scotland said: ‘It is very rewarding that the findings of the IMF are substantially consistent with CIMA’s own prior self-assessment.

‘This evaluation demonstrates how well the Cayman Islands’ approach to supervision and regulation is working, ensuring the right balance between the interests of government, the regulator, the international community and the financial-services industry.’

IMF assessors also recognised Cayman’s anti-money-laundering and anti-terrorist financing initiatives.

‘A sound legal basis and robust legal framework for combating ML and TF has resulted from major regulatory revisions and improvements in the past four years,’ the report said.

‘An intense awareness of AML/CFT is supported by a sound supervisory program. The Cayman Islands has been a leader in developing anti-money-laundering programs throughout the Caribbean region.’

Cayman Attorney General. Sam Bulgin welcomed the report.

‘I am fortified by the overall strong evaluation Cayman gained on AML/CFT compliance. The review was time-intensive on both sides and the IMF’s third-party assessment is important both for clearly recognising what we have achieved and how we can continue to demonstrate leadership in the AML/CFT area on a global basis.’

Both volumes of the report are available on the IMF Website, www.imf.org, or the government’s www.gov.ky site.

The report was compiled during a two-week visit from 29 September to 10 October 2003.

Officials evaluated Cayman under standards created by the Basel Committee; the International Association of Insurance Supervisors; the International Organisation of Securities Commissions; and the Financial Action Task Force.

The IMF team comprised a cross-section of experts from both the monetary fund and representatives of the global financial-services industry.

Cayman’s financial-services industry

Building on 40 years of consistent growth, Cayman’s financial-services industry continues to rank among the world’s best in terms of quality and assets under management.

The industry encompasses banking, trust services, mutual funds, insurance, vessel registration, capital-markets products and the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange.

Local government has been working continuously to maintain a strong regulatory and compliance framework.

Domestically, this has included adherence to Financial Action Task Force anti-money-laundering standards and to global financial-services regulations created by the Basel Committee, the International Organisation of Securities Commissions and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors.

Internationally, compliance has meant adherence to such bilateral agreements as the mutual legal-assistance treaty with the United States, and various regulatory cooperation arrangements maintained by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority.

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