Business in brief

Butterfield

Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s has affirmed Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Limited’s long-term credit rating at A- and its short-term customer deposit rating at A-2. S&P also increased the rating of the bank’s preferred shares to BBB.

S&P cited Butterfield’s strong capital and earnings and above-average funding, relative to other banks in Bermuda in affirming the bank’s rating. On 30 September, 2011, Butterfield’s total capital ratio was 22.5 per cent, its tier 1 capital ratio was 16.8 per cent and its tangible common equity ratio stood at 6.5 per cent. Butterfield reported profits of $31.4 million for the first nine months of 2011.

The S&P update stated Butterfield’s “loan performance has improved in recent quarters, notably in the hospitality loan portfolio, despite a weakening local economy.”

S&P also cited Butterfield’s maintenance of a large proportion of core deposits, which more than fully funds the loan portfolio, and highly liquid investment securities as factors in assessing the bank as having “above average” funding and “adequate” liquidity relative to the average bank in Bermuda.

With regard to Butterfield’s deposit base S&P stated, “Gathered largely through its community banking businesses, customer deposits constitute the majority of the bank’s funding, which we view as stable and with low customer concentration.”

The 13 December update said S&P expects Butterfield to remain profitable in 2012 and 2013, based on forecasts of low loan loss provisions, gradually improving net interest margins, growth in fee-based revenue and additional expense reductions.

WestStar

WestStar announced the launch of the company’s fibre-to-the-home technology project.

Because of limited bandwidth in its wireless spectrum, WestStar officials have been working toward installing a wired cable system, allowing the company to expand its channel lineup.

The fibre-optic infrastructure will replace the current MMDS system and opens the door to more products and services for WestStar subscribers, including interactive services.

Rod Hansen, WestStar CEO said, “This is a large-scale infrastructure project which has been in the works for quite some time; we now have financing in place and have retained an engineering firm so we are ready to move.”

The announcement is being made after the ICTA granted an extension of WestStar’s fibre license and marks the start of the RFP process to build a FTTH network in Grand Cayman.

Several contractors, including one local firm, have been invited to submit bids to construct the system. Those proposals are due the end of December. Construction is to commence once the winning proposal is awarded.

Byers Engineering Company, with high profile clients such as Verizon wireless, has been retained to oversee the project from planning to execution. Byers will design and provide construction management services.

KRyS Global

Corporate recovery, insolvency and forensic accounting firm KRyS Global recently appointed John Greenwood as managing director and Andrew Seeckts as manager in its British Virgins Islands office.

Mr. Greenwood, who is replacing Joanna Lau, brings more than 25 years experience in the areas of insolvency and restructuring, banking and finance, trust and corporate services. Prior to joining KRyS Global, he held the position of partner and managing director of several major international law firms and trust and corporate service providers. Mr. Greenwood was previously a licensed insolvency practitioner and will be obtaining a new license shortly. He holds a BA with Honours in Business Law and is qualified as a trust and estate practitioner.

Mr. Seeckts relocated to the British Virgin Islands from Melbourne, Australia, where he has worked with one of Australia’s largest restructuring firms for the past three years. Prior to that, he was employed as an auditor at a big four firm. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and is a chartered accountant. He is a member of the Insolvency Practitioners Association of Australia and the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia.

Mourant Ozannes

Law firm Mourant Ozannes has announced the promotion of Simon Dickson to the partnership with effect from 1 February next year. Mr. Dickson is based in the Cayman Islands office of Mourant Ozannes, which he joined in 2002.

His litigation practice includes fraud and asset tracing, insolvency and restructuring, financial services and regulatory work. Mr. Dickson has worked on large fund litigation in Cayman including Peloton, Sphinx, Belmont and Harley. Prior to joining the firm, he worked for the Serious Fraud Office in London following two years at a London Barristers’ Chambers.

“It is an exciting time for Mourant Ozannes with the continued growth of the Cayman partnership,” Mr. Dickson said. “I look forward to working with the other Cayman Litigation partners, Peter Hayden, Hector Robinson and Morven McMillan, to continue to grow the practice and develop its reputation as one of the leading litigation practices in the Cayman Islands.”

Neal Lomax, managing partner in the Cayman Islands, said, “Simon’s promotion to the partnership is an endorsement of our strategic objective to build a leading practice in the Cayman Islands. We have made six partner promotions and hires to the Cayman practice in the last year and we have further plans for growth.”

Marsh

Residents of the National Council of Volunteer Organisation’s Nadine Andreas Foster Home, which provides a family home for children in need, recently received a donation of CI$3,295. Employees of Marsh Management Services (Cayman) Ltd, a provider of 
captive insurance management and related services, raised the funds through an auction and raffle to benefit the foster home, which is under the auspices of the NCVO.

Marsh thanked all the local organisations that participated through generous donations: Agua, Bamboo, Calypso Grill, Casanovas, Caybrew, Cracked Conch, Fosters, Gawk & Leer, Grand Old House, Hemingways, Kirks, Luca, Marriott, Michael’s Genuine, Ortanique, Ragazzi, Red Sail, Reef Grill, the Ritz-Carlton, Westin Casuarina Resort and XQ’s.

Janice Wilson, chief executive officer of the NCVO, said, “Thanks to the staff at Marsh, the children who live at the NCVO’s Nadine Andreas Foster Home will be able to have a great Christmas party and will receive some wonderful gifts this year”.

Cayman Islands Compliance Association

The Cayman Islands Compliance Association donated $5,000 to the International College of the Cayman Islands for its library in an ongoing effort to re-build ICCI’s book collection to pre-Hurricane Ivan levels as a resource to students, faculty and the wider community.

“We are pleased to support the International College’s ongoing efforts to enhance its library and provide books and research materials for students and faculty,” said Martin Livingston, compliance association president. “The compliance association takes enormous pride in contributing to the higher education and community in meaningful ways and we look forward to working with the International College in the future.”

International College President John Cummings said, “While there has been a lot of progress in making library resources available on the Internet today, there is still a quantity of research and study that can only be achieved from physical books and reference materials and this donation is a tremendous boost to those efforts.”

Dr. Cummings thanked the CICA for its generous support of ICCI’s library, which prior to Hurricane Ivan contained some 18,000 books.

“Our dream at the college is to build the facility back up to the point that it not just used by our students and faculty, but that it can also be used by the general public as the community library in the Savannah-Newlands area,” said Scott Cummings, International College dean.

International College Librarian Michelle Gray-Williams said the donation by the Compliance Association will be used to purchase needed books in business and financial services such as banking, law, accounting and real estate, along with a range of other subjects.

LIME

LIME Cayman Islands has donated a mobile MiFi device to the Kiwanis Club of Grand Cayman to equip the clubs mobile library.

Julie Hutton, marketing manager of LIME Cayman Islands, said, “We were approached by the Kiwanis Club to help connect them to the Internet whilst moving from location to location. Connection to the Internet is vital these days for children’s education and with the power of our 4G mobile network and 100 per cent coverage of the Cayman Islands we have been able to donate a MiFi device to assist the Kiwanis with the library that will give them the connectivity that they need anywhere they go.”

The MiFi device is a personal hotspot which works over the mobile network and allows up to five devices to connect wirelessly to the Internet.

Paul de Freitas, past president of the Kiwanis Club, said, “The Kiwanis Bookmobile requires occasional online access for the classification of books and for access to children’s educations materials which support reading. We are delighted that we will now be able to access the Internet anywhere from this small MiFi device.”

CIREBA

The Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association recently held a nonperishable food drive at its Annual Christmas Party for Meals on Wheels. Kerri Kanuga, who volunteers with Meals on Wheels regularly, organised the drive, with the assistance of Donna Sjostrom and Jeanette Totten.

Meals on Wheels delivers about 1,350 meals each week in Cayman. Jeanette Totten, president of CIREBA, said, “Meals on Wheels does so much more than just feed a person. They provide compassion; they give dignity back to people … they care.”

Donna Sjostrom, manager of CIREBA, said the real agents were all receptive to giving.

“Just about everyone brought something to the party to donate. It is something that I can see us continuing in the future and it would be a great Annual Tradition,” she said.

Ms. Kanuga said volunteering with Meals on Wheels has given her new perspective.

“I have made new friendships and while the people that we deliver food to appreciate what we do for them, I appreciate them as well,” she said.

Meals on Wheels needs additional volunteers, especially in West Bay and North Side, where there are about 100 persons in need of home deliveries.

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