Cayman Finance chief executive Jalles leaves

Gonzalo Jalles, the chief executive officer of Cayman Finance, will cease to work with the association representing Cayman’s financial services industry from Nov. 15.* 

Mr. Jalles, who said he gave notice of termination to Cayman Finance, was appointed as the association’s first chief executive officer in January 2013. 

Ian Wight, chairman of Cayman Finance, thanked Mr. Jalles for his significant contributions to the organization and, more broadly, Cayman’s financial services industry.  

“Gonzalo, in his role as the first CEO, has been instrumental in raising the profile of the Cayman Islands and has tirelessly built key relationships internationally, to great benefit for the organization and the jurisdiction,” Mr. Wight said. 

“During his tenure, we were able to increase the membership of Cayman Finance by 34 percent, making it a truly representative body for our industry,” he added. 

In his role, Mr. Jalles sought to forge closer ties with the Cayman Islands government, which culminated in November 2013 in a memorandum of understanding on government-private sector consultation on industry-related issues such as new legislation, as well as joint initiatives to promote Cayman as a jurisdiction. 

“The Cayman Islands government recognizes Cayman Finance as the main consultative body of the islands’ financial services industry and the importance of its role in promoting and representing the jurisdiction,” Mr. Wight noted.  

Mr. Jalles had called on government to do more to endorse and defend the Cayman Islands finance industry, given that it represents more than half of Cayman’s economy and government’s revenue. Last year, he cited the lack of a promotional budget for financial services, in contrast to the $14.5 million government spends to promote tourism.  

While the agreement with government, which for the first time included a small financial contribution, was a first step, there was still a long way to go, he said in December 2013. This budget year government pledged an additional 40 percent for promotional activities.  

Mr. Jalles said it had been an honor to help further develop Cayman Finance for almost two years during which the organization had consolidated its role and grown significantly.  

“It is time for me to take a new, exciting challenge with another firm in the Cayman Islands and give Cayman Finance the opportunity to renew leadership and further progress its cause,” he said.  

“I am pleased that during my tenure we have fostered an even stronger partnership with government which must be preserved and enhanced for the benefit of all people living in the Cayman Islands.  

“I will continue to do everything I can for Cayman Finance as part of my new role with a member firm,” he added. 

Minister of Financial Services, Commerce and Environment Wayne Panton said both Cayman Finance and the government recognized the importance of working alongside one another to help dispel long-held inaccuracies and promote the integrity and transparency of Cayman’s financial system. 

“Since government and Cayman Finance signed an MoU last year, we have worked more closely and effectively than ever before to promote and further build the strong reputation of the Cayman Islands,” Mr. Panton said. 

“We thank Mr. Jalles for his leadership during his tenure as Cayman Finance’s CEO, and we look forward to continuing the good work between government and Cayman Finance in the future, on behalf of our jurisdiction.”  

In recent years, faced with political and media criticism of offshore financial centers, Cayman Finance had to assume a more international role. The association had to increase its media presence and attendance at international events, along with other efforts supporting Cayman’s finance industry.  

Later this month, Cayman Finance will publish the results of an economic study it commissioned on the positive impact of Cayman on the U.S. economy in terms of GDP, employment and tax revenue. The association and government representatives will present the findings to U.S. Treasury and Senate officials during a roadshow in Washington, D.C.  

Locally, Cayman Finance aims to improve knowledge about the industry and its importance to Cayman’s economy. The association is also working on a plan to enhance business and employment opportunities in individual financial industry sectors. The plan will be submitted to government later this year.  

Mr. Jalles will leave Cayman Finance mid-November. A recruitment process will begin shortly to find a successor, the association said. 

From 2009 to 2012, Mr. Jalles led the Cayman Islands Bankers’ Association. He previously worked with HSBC in London, Bermuda, Argentina and the Cayman Islands and was principal of his own financial services consulting company.

* This story has been amended from the original to reflect that Mr. Jalles’s contract did not expire.

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