New overseas offices for Cayman

Cayman will re-open its Hong Kong
office in October in a bid to attract business and investors in Asia, Premier
McKeeva Bush announced Tuesday.

Last year, the government set up a
similar office in Dubai, headed by John Papesh.

“Hong Kong is… a global financial
powerhouse with a sophisticated financial and business infrastructure that
supports business. It is a gateway to China and other markets in Asia with a collective
economy estimated at $215 billion and which the International Monetary Fund
projects will grow by 5 per cent in 2010,” Mr. Bush said in his budget speech.

Cayman previously had an overseas
office in Hong Kong, but that was closed five years ago.

“It is a great travesty that we now
have to go back and start all over since the Hong Kong office was closed down
by the last government, in 2005, within months of taking office,” Mr. Bush
said.

The premier said it was vital to
establish links in overseas countries and that its overseas offices put Cayman
“on the frontline with many other jurisdictions that have adopted a similar
strategy”, adding that Cayman’s absence abroad had made it “fall behind”.

“We are receiving strong interest
from high net worth individuals in markets such as the United Arab Emirates and
China, and will seek to take full advantage of the opportunities this
presents,” Mr. Bush said. “High net worth individuals tend to be prolific in
their investments, ranging from real estate, property development to financial
markets.”

He said the Hong Kong office would
re-open on 5 October.

Cayman relied on North American
heavily as its primary source market for the financial services industry, Mr.
Bush said, but the government now had to consider opportunities in other
regions to help diversify the industry.

He told the House that a marketing
roadshow the government took to Asia late last year showed that there were
plenty of opportunities for financial services from Singapore and Hong Kong.

“Some of the Cayman Islands
competitors are having success with these countries and the government, with
the help of the private sector, is now devising strategies to realise these
opportunities,” the premier said.

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