Compass Finance

Core government’s 2020 budget deficit only $38 million

The Cayman Islands government would have achieved a budget surplus last year, had it not been for $65.4 million in unexpected COVID-19 pandemic-related additional healthcare spending and financial support for small businesses and displaced workers.  

OECD increases 2021 global economic growth forecast to 5.6%

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has raised its 2021 global growth forecast to 5.6%.

Anti-money laundering: Cayman is held to a higher standard

The FATF argues that Cayman as a major financial centre should be held to a higher standard, in line with its larger anti-money laundering risks.

Global prime market disruption

A rapid rise in US bond yields and a strong US dollar are two key candidates for a potential global market disruption in 2021.

OECD report targets professionals enabling tax crimes

Countries need to do more to detect and deter professionals who enable tax evasion and other white collar crimes, a new OECD report has concluded.

Jamaica National to convert Cayman entity into commercial bank

The Jamaica National Group is planning to turn its building society JN Cayman into a commercial bank by establishing JN Bank in the Cayman Islands.

Planning for higher inflation

Inflation expectations just reached their highest levels in a decade and that has some investors on edge.

Cayman placed on FATF grey list

The Financial Action Task Force has added the Cayman Islands to its grey list of countries whose anti-money laundering (AML) practices are under increased monitoring.

Real Madrid criticised over ‘tax haven’ investment deal

The Spanish press has taken aim at Real Madrid for a private equity investment deal that, according to internal documents and emails, exposed the world’s second largest football club to reputational and tax risks because it involved entities in Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands.

EU adds Dominica to tax blacklist, removes Barbados

The EU Council has added Dominica to the controversial EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions in tax matters and removed Barbados from the list.

Mixed Brexit impact on the Overseas Territories

The Cayman Islands has “seen the best and worst” since Brexit with the European Union tax blacklisting of Cayman and strong ongoing support from the UK government during the coronavirus pandemic.

Financial markets turn to optimism as economies are poised to recover

The global coronavirus pandemic triggered a historic sell-off in the stock markets only for them to mount a stunning recovery in equities before the end of 2020.

Financial services ministry hires US PR firm for $300K

The mandate for Hill+Knowlton Strategies to communicate Cayman’s position to the US government runs from 1 Feb. until the end of the year.

Registry enforces beneficial ownership regime with fines

As of 1 Feb. 2021, the Registrar of Companies had levied 19 administrative fines of $5,000 each against companies for noncompliance with beneficial ownership requirements.

COVID-19 and business interruption insurance claims

Business interruption insurance claims led to wide-ranging disputes in the interpretation of policy wording, as insurers sought to limit their indemnity exposure.

Cayman biggest contributor to Butterfield’s full year earnings

Butterfield ended the year with a solid fourth quarter as Cayman contributed higher earnings than Bermuda to the banking group’s annual results for the second consecutive year.

Government budget deficit smaller than expected

Government has closed the 2020 financial year with a smaller budget deficit than the $168 million shortfall estimated in mid-2020.

Pandemic exit strategies

Concerns among market commentators have recently risen around a potential “taper tantrum” event this year.

Investor briefing highlights Cayman’s stability, new regulations

In video messages to international investors, government along with financial regulator Cayman Islands Monetary Authority last week emphasised Cayman’s resilience during the coronavirus pandemic..

Walkers wins appeal in Brazilian banker’s client confidentiality case

Offshore law firm Walkers has successfully appealed a summary judgment that ruled a former Brazilian banker was entitled to seek damages because the law firm had breached its duty of confidentiality.

Cayman needs office in EU to fight blacklist proposal

The Cayman Islands government is pushing ahead with plans to establish representative offices in Brussels, Hong Kong and Washington, DC, before the end of the year.

Slow international vaccine rollout dampens economic outlook

Current difficulties in the manufacturing and supply of the COVID-19 vaccines mean that this year the economic outlook is much closer to the OECD downside scenario published in December.

EU parliament pushes for stricter ‘tax haven’ blacklist

Members of the European Parliament passed a resolution on Thursday calling for reform of the EU list of uncooperative jurisdictions in tax matters.

Financial services industry showed solid growth in 2020

Statistics for 2020 show growth or stable activity across the spectrum of financial services as firms took lockdown measures and border closures in their stride.

Wireline settles unregistered token sale charges with SEC

Blockchain microservices startup Wireline will pay US$650,000 to settle charges filed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission over a $16.3 million crypto token sale in late 2018.

Could 2021 be a comeback year for global trade?

While some uncertainty remains, 2021 could be a comeback year for global trade.

McTaggart: Government finances better than expected

Government’s fiscal situation is not as serious as initially feared with government revenues higher and expenditures lower than forecast six months ago.

RF to offer digital currency transactions in partnership with Bitt

RF Holdings Limited, parent company of a group of investment banks in the Bahamas, Barbados, and the Cayman Islands, has entered into partnership with fintech company Bitt to enable digital currency transactions across its Caribbean network.

Hedge fund industry posts best performance since 2009

Hedge funds finished a tumultuous year of trading with double-digit returns, the best annual performance since 2009.

Bermuda to reform ‘unfair’ tax system

Bermuda Premier David Burt is planning to reform the country's tax system in time for the 2022/23 budget year.

Denmark charges two Brits with tax fraud after Cayman assistance

Danish prosecutors have formally charged the suspected organizers of a billion-dollar tax fraud scheme, four weeks after the Cayman Islands Grand Court allowed local corporate service providers to offer foreign judicial assistance in a related US civil lawsuit.

Economic share of financial services continues to shrink

The Cayman Islands economy grew faster than expected before the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year.

Willis Re: Reinsurers stop downward trend

Reinsurers have halted the persistent downward trends of recent years, despite the impact of COVID-19 on working conditions and risk exposures.

US bans anonymous shell companies

The US has taken steps with the Corporate Transparency Act to eliminate the potential use of anonymous shell companies for money laundering and tax evasion.

Cayman reinsurers form industry body

Six Cayman Islands-based reinsurance companies have formed a new industry group, the Cayman International Reinsurance Companies Association (CIRCA).

Buoyant markets and inflation during a pandemic: Wrapping up 2020

This huge disconnect between Wall Street (capital markets, large corporations and high-net-worth investors) and Main Street (average citizen, small businesses or the real economy) will be the main takeaway for investors this year.

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Chart of the week

New company registrations slow down

New company registrations in the Cayman Islands were down 17% in the first eight months of 2020 compared to the same period last year, and 36.9% lower than between January and August 2018.