“Investors in their due diligence process and risk assessments are demanding more stress testing, independent pricing and external administration.”
Taking advantage of an offshore set-up can provide many benefits. Offshore investment centers can provide unlimited investment opportunities, free of exchange controls and investment limitations imposed by other countries. They also provide protection for both assets and privacy – secrecy laws and regulations protect personal information. Many offshore jurisdictions have no tax or are low tax paying countries with recognized and effective regulatory frameworks, which provide an exceptional base from which to meet the needs of the financial services sector.
Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Malta are all recognized as premier offshore financial centers (there are over 8,000 international exempt companies in Bermuda alone) and their unique geographic locations allow full access to North American and European markets. They have attracted a multitude of international clients, including over 75 percent of the Fortune 500 Companies. These countries are the premier destinations for many offshore services, including investment fund management and administration, insurance management, special purpose vehicles and trust formation. They are well aware that maintaining reputation and integrity as leading offshore financial centers is of paramount importance. They offer strong legal and regulatory frameworks based around English common law; stable political, economic and social environments; and “business friendly” regulatory structures which have been approved by independent international organizations, including the Financial Action Task Force, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the British Financial Services Authority.
Bermuda has become a market leader through its proactive approach to change in the business environment and it enacts legislation that serves rather than hinders business. Bermuda is also at the forefront of financial services regulation, being among the first to establish a fully independent regulatory regime – cornerstoned by the Bermuda Monetary Authority and Bermuda Registrar of Companies, which have developed very stringent AML/ATF and KYC regulations. Bermuda also possesses the professional capacity and expertise to readily process corporate requirements while its well-established banking system enables secure and efficient fund movement throughout the world. Bermuda has the highest credit rating from leading agencies, including Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch. Bermuda is a tax neutral jurisdiction. Licensed as a Fund Administrator by the Bermuda Monetary Authority.
The Cayman Islands is one of the world’s leading providers of institutionally focused, specialized financial services and a preferred destination for the structuring and domiciling of sophisticated financial services products. The success of Cayman is attributed to its sound regulatory regime, political and economic stability, and tax neutral platform. Additionally, the Cayman Islands is vigilant in ensuring adherence to recognized and relevant international standards, and committed to supporting global efforts to fight financial crime.
Malta – The Malta Financial Services Authority, established in 2002, is an autonomous body and is the single regulatory authority for all licensed financial services businesses in Malta. It regulates and supervises banks, credit and financial institutions, investment and savings companies (including retail and professional funds), insurance business (including managed or captive insurance companies) and trusts. The Maltese government encourages and facilitates direct foreign investment and, because of Malta’s membership of the European Union, financial products and services licensed by the MFSA can be “passported” into all of the other EU countries. Passporting reduces cost and bureaucracy, and opens up markets while helping to maintain investor confidence in high regulatory standards. Malta is a low tax jurisdiction.