Financial services fees pay for 40 percent of Cayman’s government

Fees, registrations and licenses charged to the Cayman Islands financial services industry earned about 39 percent of all revenues for central government last year, according to figures produced in annual financial statements by the Ministry of Financial Services.

According to the records, $102.7 million was earned in regulatory licenses and fees and another $138.2 million was earned in entity registrations (such as company registrations) during the government’s 2014/15 fiscal year, the latest year for which financial statements are available.

In addition, trade and business licenses for financial services companies earned $1.7 million while immigration-related fees charged to financial services companies totaled $13.1 million for the year.

For the year, those taxes and fees accounted for $255.6 million of the $659.6 million the government earned in revenue – not counting the operations of statutory authorities and government companies.

In addition to providing the cash for government operations, the ministry estimated the financial services sector provided about 16 percent of the jobs in the Cayman Islands labor force during 2014. That number includes legal and accounting services within the industry.

“The jobs generated by the industry are relatively high-paying and, in 2014, 71.5 percent of financial services jobs were held by Caymanians,” the ministry’s annual report stated.

According to the government’s latest human resources report, roughly 74 percent of the jobs in the central civil service were held by Caymanians.

In terms of impact on the economy, the annual report estimated some 52 percent of Cayman’s gross domestic product was attributable to the financial services industry and related legal and accounting professions.

“These are measures of direct impact only,” the report stated. “The indirect and induced impacts [purchases of goods, services etc.] account for a further five to 10 percent contribution to gross domestic product.”

The ministry report also alludes to other tourism-related impacts from the financial services sector to the local economy, although the references made in the report are not from the 2014/15 government budget year.

According to a 2009 Oxford Economics study, more than 31,000 visitors came to Cayman during 2007 as clients, vendors or participants in conferences, staying for a total of 100,000 nights and spending an estimated $20 million.