Since its inception in 2003, the Cayman Islands Financial Services Association has made great strides in satisfying its mandate and building up an impressive membership roll.
In 2003, CIFSA was no more than an idea in the minds of founding members Eduardo Silva, the current chairman of the association; Eric Crutchley, who has just stepped down as a director after five years of service; Charles Farrington, managing director of Julius Baer; and Ben Gillooly, manager director of CIBC Bank & Trust.
‘We were directors of the Bankers Association, which was instrumental in organising and funding the fight against the first Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development attempt to black list Cayman as an uncooperative tax haven in the late ’90s,’ Mr. Silva said.
‘That battle was won, but we knew that further challenges would come and that a permanent voice was needed for the industry.’
With that in mind, CIFSA was established to be that voice.
Mr. Silva and Mr. Crutchley were part of the first Board of Directors and have been intimately involved with the association ever since.
CIFSA has been working consistently to fulfill its mandate of providing the financial services industry with a strong, unified, central voice and point of contact on issues critical to all of its members.
CIFSA has realised several significant achievements as it has continued to evolve into a highly respected association with its focus on strengthening its international media relations programme. The depth of this programme is evident with CIFSA providing editorial input into a number of prestigious international publications such as the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, The New York Times, The LA Times and the Times.
Among its major accomplishments has been the launch last year of the financial services domestic awareness campaign, in conjunction with the Public Relations Unit of the Portfolio of Finance and Economics.
This significant public-private partnership, called Everybody’s Business, seeks to educate the general public on the financial services industry by helping people to understand the impact of this sector and its importance to the Islands’ economy and culture.
In December 2007, the association also launched its successful Business Luncheon series which seeks to bring well-respected journalists to Cayman to see for themselves what is done here. Journalists from publications such as the Wall Street Journal and The Telegraph have spoken in Grand Cayman.
The strongest sign of success over these past five years is the growth in CIFSA membership. The association now boasts a diverse and influential membership comprising 40 private sector and 9 association members.
Over the years CIFSA has also developed a positive relationship with the local media, and is often approached to provide expert opinions on relevant topics.
‘Once a fledgling association in a sector seemingly overflowing in such bodies, CIFSA has now, without a doubt, become a crucial component of Cayman’s financial services industry,’ said Mr. Silva.
‘Having obtained a critical mass in its membership over the past year or so CIFSA is now an international voice that has achieved recognition from foreign governments and media,’ he said.