Butterfield board meets in Cayman

For the first time in almost 25 years, the board of directors of The Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son met in the Cayman Islands on Monday. The only person absent from the board, due to unforeseen circumstances, was Chairman Brian Duperrault.

The directors were here, in part, to mark the inauguration of Butterfield Place, the bank’s new seven-storey building on Albert Panton Street in George Town. That building’s opening, however, has been delayed until January 2008.

The Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son President and CEO Alan Thompson said Butterfield Place was designed to be reflective of the bank’s commitment to Cayman in being a banker, and employer of choice and a good corporate citizen.

‘This building reinforces to Caymanians – and the world – that we are much more than a brass plate operation,’ he said. ‘We are a strong and prosperous institution that is committed to serving the financial needs of all facets of Caymanian society.’

Butterfield will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2008, and Mr. Thompson said the Cayman operations have played a major part of the bank’s history.

‘Cayman has 20 per cent of the group’s employees, 25 per cent of its assets and 40 per cent of its earnings, all plus or minus one per cent,’ he said. ‘So obviously, Cayman is a very important component for the Group.’

Mr. Thompson said that some of the board of directors had come to Cayman once before, in 1983, and they had attended a meeting here, but it wasn’t a formal board of directors meeting. He said that in the past, the directors hadn’t wanted to travel much, but that was going to change.

‘We’re going to [meet in Cayman] more regularly,’ he said. ‘You’ll see it more frequently, especially since a few of the director’s hadn’t been to Cayman before.’

The 65,000 square-foot Butterfield Place will give Butterfield Bank about 100,000 square feet of office space including its locations at Butterfield House, the Compass Centre and Governors Square. It will give up several other offices it is renting once Butterfield Place opens.

However, Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Limited’s projected growth might necessitate more space in the relatively near future, said Managing Director Conor O’Dea.

‘The space we have now should meet our needs until 2010 at current growth rates,’ he said. ‘After that time, we may look to being a tenant somewhere.’

Mr. O’Dea said Butterfield Bank was not looking to establish a branch outside of town in a place like Savannah at the present time, but that branch at the Compass Centre might become bigger.

Butterfield Bank has had a presence in Cayman since 1967. The bank has close to $3 billion in assets and employees nearly 400 people. More than 85 per cent of its employees are Caymanian, as are three of the bank’s four local directors, Mr. O’Dea said.