Bergstrom named new chairman of economic zone board

James Bergstrom
James Bergstrom

Ogier law firm partner James Bergstrom has been named to chair the authority that oversees operations of the Cayman Islands Special Economic Zone and its registered companies.

The Special Economic Zone Authority had gone without a full-time chairman since spring 2015, when businessman David Kirkaldy left the post. Deputy Chairman Glen Daykin acted in the role during the period.

In addition to Mr. Bergstrom, other zone authority directors Mr. Daykin, Sophia Harris and Marcus Cumber were reappointed to the board to serve terms through March 2018.

Mr. Bergstrom has worked in Cayman’s offshore finance industry since 1991, founding Ogier’s funds practice. He is also the former co-chairman of the Coalition for Cayman political group.

Since the special economic zone was formed in 2011 under the name Cayman Enterprise City, it has reported that more than 160 corporate entities have signed up there and 158 were operating in the zone as of last year.

Minutes from an October 2015 authority board meeting note that more than 300 other companies were “in the pipeline” to join the economic zone.

Businesses in the economic zone, which can provide services internationally but not in the Cayman Islands market, now hold more than 300 work permits, according to Immigration Department data from July.

Cayman Enterprise City reported late last year that companies operating in the zone and associated staff members had a $23.6 million impact on Cayman’s economy.

Figures cited by Enterprise City Chief Executive Charles Kirkconnell showed that for the 12-month period ending September 2015, there was a “direct impact” of $15.78 million. Those funds came mainly from fees for the incorporation and annual registration of economic zone companies, office space fit-outs and real estate purchases.

The firm estimated there was an indirect impact of $7.83 million during the year from economic zone employees spending money in the local economy.

The special economic zone operator estimated that since its inception, Cayman Enterprise City has had a direct and indirect impact on the economy of $56.4 million.