Cayman’s company formations sector grew in 2017, with the number of new incorporations and total companies on the registry having increased at the year’s end over 2016.
According to recently released statistics from the General Registry, there were 99,327 Cayman-registered companies active at the end of 2017, which is a roughly 3.2-percent increase over 2016. The number of active companies reached a record 102,369 in Sept. 2016 before taking a dip when around 8,500 were struck off the registry shortly thereafter.
The territory also saw 13,046 companies register here last year, which was roughly a 17-percent increase over 2016 and the most since at least 2007. Just over 10,000 companies were terminated from the registry. Of the 13,046 company formations, 11,138 were exempt companies, 25 were non-resident, 583 were resident, 589 were foreign, and 711 were limited liability companies.
The General Registry’s statistics run through the end of February, showing that company incorporations have continued to grow in 2018.
According to the statistics, 1,629 companies formed in January and 1,341 formed in February, while a total of 1,084 were terminated over that two-month period – suggesting that the total number of Cayman-registered companies may currently be more than 100,000.
The steady growth of Cayman’s incorporations comes as the British Virgin Islands – which is the leading offshore jurisdiction for company formations – has seen a dip in its business in recent years.
Whereas the BVI has seen its number of registered companies decline by nearly half – from around 800,000 in the mid-2000s to 413,273 as of the third quarter of 2017 – Cayman has seen an increase from 83,532 in 2006 to around 100,000.
The BVI’s decline has especially sharp since the second quarter of 2016, when international media outlets published a number of stories on the “Panama Papers,” a trove of more than 10 million leaked documents from the trust firm Mossack Fonseca that allegedly showed BVI companies being used for money laundering and other illegal purposes.
The total number of active companies has apparently also dipped in other offshore jurisdictions. The corporate services firm Vistra stated earlier this month that the number of active companies in the major offshore jurisdictions – Cayman, BVI, Samoa, Seychelles, Mauritius, Anguilla and Jersey – decreased in 2017 for the first time in 25 years.
Much of that business is going to “midshore” jurisdictions such as Hong Kong and Singapore, according to Vistra.