Business in brief

Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young has donated CI$18,500 covering a three-year period to help fund the academic chair for a full-time professor in accounting at the International College of the Cayman Islands. An academic chair is a university designation given to a professor for specialised knowledge and research, and is traditionally funded by either private corporations or foundations.

While many firms have cut back on education funding as the economic downturn has dragged on, Ernst & Young has committed to a significant sponsorship to continue to build a skilled labour force that will help the Cayman Islands stay competitive in the global market, said Ernst & Young Partner Mike Mannisto.

The academic chair is the first of its kind in the Cayman Islands and is the next step in broadening the business programme offerings, said International College of the Cayman Islands President John Cummings.

“Ernst & Young recognised right away that the academic chair will provide students with more exposure to high quality instruction, research and the benefit of the professor’s industry experience,” Mr. Cummings said. “It is exciting to have a company of this stature to be the first public accounting firm to provide this level of corporate sponsorship for this new initiative.”

A key part of what ICCI stands for is being accessible to all students who are academically-ready to earn an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree, but who have limited financial means and may face work or family obligations preventing them from attending an accredited university overseas.

As a nonprofit, private institution, ICCI has made it a priority to offer affordable tuition to both Caymanians and residents and still maintain its international accreditation, which undergoes a review every few years.

“Having Ernst & Young’s support has significantly boosted our fundraising efforts for the academic chair, which will be invaluable in providing the best possible opportunity for success to our business and accounting students,” Mr. Cummings said. “We just opened our new business building this fall term so that we could accommodate more students so the timing for hiring a professor coincides nicely with the expansion of the accounting and business programmes.“

Walkers

International offshore law firm Walkers announced the retirement of Chairman Grant Stein, effective 30 June, 2012. Mr. Stein spent almost 32 years with Walkers, having joined the firm in 1980. Specialising in international corporate and trust matters, he became a partner with the firm in 1984, before going on to become senior partner in 1999 following the retirement of Bill Walker, the firm’s founder.

In 2006, he was named global managing partner of Walkers, following the creation of that position. He held that role until July 2011, when he became chairman.

In addition to his expertise in international companies and trusts, Mr. Stein has been active in international regulatory matters and was instrumental in the formation of the International Financial Centres Forum, which was established in 2009 to provide authoritative and balanced information about the role of IFCs in the global economy.

“Whilst his departure is obviously a considerable loss to the Walkers Group, Grant’s legacy is a vibrant thriving business, one which will carry forward much of the innovation and rigour he has introduced,” said Diarmad Murray, Walkers’ global managing partner. “On behalf of the partners, I would like to thank Grant for his enormous contribution to the success of Walkers, and we wish him a long, relaxing and enjoyable retirement.”

Cayman Auction House

Cayman Auction House opened its doors for the Cayman Islands’ first public live general auction on Saturday 10 December, 2011. Located in the Mirco Centre in Grand Cayman, Cayman Auction House has taken the space previously occupied by Reflections.

Saturday’s live general auction included items like new and used furniture, office furniture, electronics, toys and sporting goods. In addition to a monthly live general auction, other regular live auction events will include cars and boats, fine wines, jewellery and property auctions. Auctioneer Lee Webb said, “the auctions are a great way for residents to buy high quality goods at potentially half or better of the retail value and have some fun by bidding live at the same time.” Bidders have the opportunity to visit Cayman Auction House in advance of the auction to view any items in which they may be interested.

As well as bidding for goods, customers may also enter unwanted goods into the auction. The auctioneer will agree on a reserve price or minimum selling price with the seller prior to the goods being auctioned.

Saxon

Saxon Pension Services has launched its Saxon Investment Club to students in Cayman Brac. It is the first outreach programme to the Sister Island by the Saxon Investment Club, which has operated in Grand Cayman for three years.

The Saxon Investment Club offers the opportunity for students to learn about investing, develop a better understanding of money, the stock market, the relationship between current events and stock trends, tracking investments and starting and running a business.

Saxon Chief Executive Officer Brian Williams took the lead to introduce the Saxon Investment Club to students at Layman E. Scott Sr. High School.

“The team at Saxon is excited to expand the programme to eager young students,” Mr Williams said. “While this club certainly evokes a healthy level of competition, the most valuable reward is the insight gained from the hands-on experience.

“Through the careful planning of each group’s portfolio, the students will gain knowledge about sound stock market investing and money management, invaluable to shaping their future,” said Mr. Williams. “Saxon also hopes that introducing students to these disciplines at this age might spark an interest in a future career in the financial industry.”

BCQS

Property and Development Consultancy BCQS International has announced the firm will soon open an office in Port of Spain to service clients in Trinidad and Tobago.

BCQS Managing Director Liam Day said the expansion of BCQS International into Trinidad and Tobago is an important strategic move for the firm, “Given our Caribbean-wide footprint and the importance of Trinidad and Tobago‘s economy within the region, we determined some time ago that a physical presence in the country was critical to our overall growth strategy. However, what was even more important was to identify the right individual with the local experience to combine with our regional knowledge and expertise.”

One of BCQS’ core service provisions is loan monitoring and due diligence services for major banks in the region. BCQS is used by a number of Caribbean-based funding institutions that employ the firm to monitor funded projects.

Tortuga

Marcus and Monique Simmonds, owners of Tortuga Rum Cake Company/Tortuga Imports, Inc. were honoured as finalists in the 2011 Jamaica Observer Business Leader Awards, held 30 November in Kingston. Started in 1996, this award programme has become Jamaica’s most prestigious and coveted business award. This year, the newspaper recognised eight entrepreneurs within the Jamaican Diaspora, who have made significant contribution to the economic development of their adopted country.

“We are very honoured and humbled to be recognised along with such inspiring and successful fellow Jamaican entrepreneurs,” said Monique Hamaty-Simmonds, president and chief executive officer of Tortuga Rum Cake Company.

Her father, Robert Hamaty and his wife, Carlene, started the Tortuga Rum Company in Grand Cayman in 1984.

Ogier

Ogier Cayman announced it has advised Transocean, the Swiss-domiciled provider of global drilling management services, on its multi-term, billion dollar senior notes offering which closed on 5 December, 2011. The notes, which were housed in Transocean’s Cayman Islands subsidiary, were priced on 30 November, 2011, and have maturity dates ranging from 2016 to 2041 with annual interest rates ranging from 5.05 per cent to 7.35 per cent. The proceeds are expected to be used to refinance existing credit with any remaining funds applied to general corporate purposes.

“Ogier Cayman was pleased to be able to bring forward our expertise in structuring global capital markets transactions on this important notes offering for Transocean,” said Ogier Cayman Partner Peter Cockhill. “A significant and complex engagement such as this one is ideally suited to our corporate and commercial service offerings and geographic knowledge.”

Ogier Cayman Senior Associate Bradley Kruger, who worked directly on the transaction said, “Transocean is a longstanding client of Ogier Cayman and this is a significant financing transaction for them. We look forward to many more similar opportunities to lend our expertise to Transocean and other firms tied to the global resources sector.”

Buckingham Fund Services

Buckingham Fund Services, an independent director services firm, has appointed Alric Lindsay as a principal.

Mr. Lindsay joins Buckingham after previously providing independent directorship services for Cayman Islands based funds and having advised boards of directors for several years as a hedge fund attorney. Mr. Lindsay also previously worked as a regulator and qualified as a certified public accountant.

“Investors are demanding high corporate governance standards, increased transparency, accountability and excellence in performance, each of which Buckingham has now further enhanced by the appointment of Alric Lindsay,” said Buckingham’s Michael Parton. “With his legal, regulatory and accounting background, Alric offers a unique perspective and understanding as a fund director, having seen all aspects of a fund’s life cycle.”

Mr. Lindsay will act as an independent director to Cayman-based investment funds.