Mixed results for offshore centers, survey shows

The latest survey published this month by the Global Financial Centres Index placed Cayman third among global offshore financial centers and ranking 43rd of all financial centers. 

In the offshore category, Cayman placed ahead of all competitors in the Caribbean region, including the British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Bermuda and Panama. 

The rankings, which are produced by Z/Yen Group Ltd., are based on a range of factors, including the business environment of a jurisdiction, transparency of taxation, human capital, infrastructure, reputation and market access.  

In addition, financial center profiles have been identified using three key measures: specialty or the depth of a financial center’s professional services offered; connectivity – the extent to which the center is well known around the world; and diversity or the breadth of the financial industry sectors that flourish within the centre. 

Gonzalo Jalles, CEO of Cayman Finance, believes the Cayman Islands ticks the boxes in all of the above criteria. 

“The Cayman Islands excels in the depth of its service offering due to its exceptionally high quality of service professionals working within the financial services industry. 

“We are well known globally among our peers for offering superior service, and we have a strong diversity within our product, excelling in insurance, banking, professional services, and investment management – all working within a well-regulated jurisdiction,” he said.  

“It therefore comes as little surprise the Cayman Islands again ranks so highly in the Global Financial Centres Index.”  

The GFCI provides ratings for financial centers calculated by an assessment model that uses two sets of input: instrumental factors, i.e. objective evidence of competitiveness sought from a wide variety of comparable sources, and financial center assessments.  

According to the survey, New York, London, Hong Kong and Singapore remain in the top four global financial centers, but others are catching up. Three years ago the difference between first and 10th was 117 points, whereas the top 10 centers are now within 75 points of each other. 

However, offshore financial centers struggle with both reputation and regulation. Although most offshore centers have seen their ratings improve since the last survey, most have experienced a decline in their position relative to other financial centers.  

Jersey retained its rating from the previous survey but was overtaken by 13 other centers and fell from 28th to 41st place. It nonetheless retained the top spot in the offshore group because Guernsey also lost six places to 42nd, while the Cayman Islands lost four places to 43rd.  

The British Virgin Islands entered the top five offshore centers moving up four places. Mauritius saw a rise of 40 points in the ratings and five places to 63rd, and the Bahamas improved by 35 points and two places to 65th. 

Gonzallo-Jalles-S

Mr. Jalles

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