A series of international networking events promoting the financial services industry highlighted the uncertainty in investors’ minds about the viability of the Cayman Islands as an offshore centre.
Premier McKeeva Bush, who is also the minister of finance, called the so-called road show ‘tough going’.
‘The message I have for the people is that if Cayman believes the world needs Cayman, they’re making a big mistake,’ he said Monday as the road show wound up in New York.
Many of the potential investors the road show team met with asked the same questions, reflecting concerns coming out of media reports in recent months, Mr. Bush said.
‘They wanted to know if Cayman was willing to accept more people and whether Cayman was willing to expand its investment services,’ he said. ‘They also wanted to know if there would be income tax and property tax. Those were two big questions from fund investors.’
Mr. Bush said Cayman’s much-publicised financial woes this year ‘have not been missed by the world’.
‘Investors want to know if we’re capable of handling all the huge infrastructure projects we’ve taken on… without proper financial management,’ he said.
Despite the uncertainty, Mr. Bush said Cayman’s team was able to meet with serious investment groups, some of which represented hundreds of billions of dollars.
‘There was tremendous interest in what we were saying. The meetings went well, but it’s not easy… because of all the noise and the blogs,’ Mr. Bush said, adding that he believed the networking mission was necessary.
‘What we are doing is what people want,’ he said. ‘They want to know the things we said to satisfy their concerns.’
Mr. Bush singled out two of his team’s members, Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson and Cayman Islands Monetary Authority Chairman George McCarthy, for their efforts on the road show.
‘Ken’s presentations were better than anything I’ve heard from him before,’ he said. ‘And George got tremendous respect because people knew him from when he was financial secretary.’
Mr. Bush reiterated that Cayman would need to be more accepting of people and investment going forward.
‘The world does not need Cayman,’ he said. ‘There are many other places for the world to be. Cayman needs the world.’