In October this year, Cayman is due to re-open its
overseas office in Hong Kong, the second international office set up
specifically to attract foreign investment to the Islands.
The Hong Kong office will join Dubai in selling Cayman as
an investment opportunity to wealthy investors in Asia and the Middle East.
According to Dax Basdeo, executive director of the
Department of Commerce and Investment, formerly known as the Cayman Islands
Investment Bureau, the Dubai office has already brought in a number of
investment projects to Cayman.
“The Dubai office has been very active over the last few
months, and has brought several significant projects to Cayman. I would not
want to comment on any of the specifics due to confidentiality, and would leave
future announcements to the investors themselves,” Mr. Basdeo said.
Cayman also has an office in London, but this has a wider
remit than the Hong Kong and Dubai offices.
“The London office does respond to investors and does
pass enquiries on to the Department of Commerce and Investment to address, so
it can be viewed as a conduit for investment interest,” said Mr. Basdeo, who is
in the process of setting up the Hong Kong office, which is due to open on 5 October.
announcing the opening of the Dubai office last year, Premier McKeeva Bush said
Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, as members of the Gulf Cooperation Council
countries, present “tremendous investment potential” for the Cayman Islands,
Papesh, managing director of American hedge fund and financial advisory
company, Pharos Financial Group, and former Dart Corporation vice president of
marketing and public affairs, heads the Dubai office.
Mr. Bush quoted from a McKinsey Global Institute study, which
found that Gulf Cooperation Council countries were likely to earn US$3.7
trillion in oil exports up to 2020, even if they priced their oil as low as at
US$50 per barrel.
“Gulf Cooperation Council governments are increasing
foreign investment in areas such as infrastructure, tourism, manufacturing,
energy, agriculture and real estate. This government would be negligent if we
failed to place Cayman in a position to benefit from these investment trends,”
Mr. Bush said.
As well as the Dubai, London and Hong Kong offices, Mr.
Bush, in his budget speech in June, said the government was also looking at the
possibility of opening similar offices in the Chinese capital of Beijing and in
Mr. Bush described Hong Kong as “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.”
Cayman previously had an office in Hong Kong, but it was
closed when the People’s Progressive Movement came to power in 2005 it deemed
the offshore office to be too costly.
The Hong Kong office, like Dubai, will have one
representative. The government has not yet announced who will represent the
Cayman Islands in Hong Kong.
As well as attracting inward investment, the remit of the
overseas office includes protecting the interests of the Cayman Islands abroad.
According to the terms of reference for the offices, this involves promoting
Cayman’s policies and businesses to overseas governments, individuals,
organisations and the media; assisting with the negotiation of international
agreements, for example, on taxation; and gathering information about the
political and economic state of their respective regions and advising the
premier on relevant developments.
The offices are also tasked with developing promotional
strategies to present the advantages on investing in the Cayman Islands in
target sectors; identifying opportunities for potential service export
ventures; and helping Cayman companies understand local laws surrounding these.
The offices are also expected to extend business
development activities of individual financial services firms by supporting
individual firms’ new business development efforts by providing a reinforcing
“This could include such activities as participation in
meetings with prospective clients with the private sector, being aware of
existing important client relationships and helping to reinforce them, or
partnering with individual private sector firms on lead generation,” according
to the terms of reference.
The offices are staffed through fixed-term contracts. The
ideal candidate for the job of Cayman Islands representative in an overseas
office is an individual with “a high degree of professionalism, an ability to
cultivate business relationships with sophisticated investors, and [with] a
strong knowledge of the Cayman business climate (legislation, regulation,
industry operation, etc.)”, according to the terms of reference.
The work involves researching and identifying target
companies with potential for inward investment projects, acting as a point of
contact for potential investors, providing information and assisting in
arrangements for site visits in the Cayman Islands.