|Downside of elections|
It didn’t take long for 2016 to deliver a blunt reminder that this is the year of a US presidential election. Along with a raft of very positive news rung in by the New Year—Bermuda’s consecutive GDP growth, increased consumer confidence, and rising company incorporations—January also brought a wake-up call to those of us living “offshore.” Despite our well-acknowledged and mutually supportive relationship with America, a combative federal election shaping up in our giant neighbour to the west is bringing with it some unsavoury political finger-pointing in our direction as we build up to November 8.
Offshore jurisdictions seem to be expedient targets for political agendas heading into elections—on both sides of the Atlantic. Last year, the island had to contend with arbitrary EU blacklists and threats by some British MPs to impose sweeping sanctions if offshore company registers were not made public. Bermuda has had a company register for decades, offering a level of transparency far in advance of many of our offshore peers and onshore powerhouse economies. Now it’s America’s turn. As my colleague Brad Kading of ABIR noted, Bermuda residents are well familiar with Washington’s quadrennial political attacks.
|BDA appoints new Board member
We are pleased to welcome a new Director to the BDA Board: Jessel Mendes, a partner in EY’s Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands Financial Services Office. Based in Bermuda for the past 20 years, Jessel has worked closely with our agency over the past two years as a member of our Asset Management Working Group. He was actively involved with initiatives aimed at increasing business in Bermuda’s funds sector, including a 2013 interactive forum with leading US lawyers that resulted in new funds legislation for the island. We welcome him to the Board and look forward to his expertise and continued contribution.
|Team Bermuda heads to Florida
BDA’s Jereme Ramsay leads an impressive “Team Bermuda” to the annual Business Insurance World Captive Forum in Boca Raton, Florida this month. The event, running January 31–February 3, celebrates its 25th year in 2016, making it one of the longest-running international captive conferences. Bermuda will have a 20-strong contingent of captive managers, service providers, business development managers and regulatory representatives promoting the jurisdiction; close to a dozen Bermuda experts are scheduled as speakers at sessions and roundtables. Visit us at Booth 1—and follow us at the conference via our Twitter (@investbermuda) and Facebook #BDACaptive.
|Some good New Year news on Bermuda’s economic growth, as IB sectors attract new company incorporations. Latest government figures show gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter of 2015 was $1.35 billion, up 6.3 percent over that period in 2014 and marking the fourth successive quarter of growth. The Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) also released its annual incorporation tally recording 22 new captive insurers in 2015, compared to 16 the previous year. Not coincidentally, many registrations came from Canada and Latin America—where BDA has focussed business development efforts. Overall, the BMA registered a total of 64 insurers last year, including SPIs, captives, and commercial insurers.|
Europe’s Solvency II regime took effect this month, with Bermuda among a select few jurisdictions outside the European Union deemed fully equivalent under the new insurance regulatory system. The European Commission awarded Bermuda the distinction last November, giving our global commercial (re)insurers equal footing with EU counterparts. Now under final review by the European Parliament, the decision marks the successful result of a six-year regulatory campaign.
Cyber risk, energy trends, collateralised reinsurance, healthcare, Canada and Latin American opportunities are among the hot topics shaping up for this year’s Bermuda Captive Conference at Fairmont Southampton Resort June 13–15. The 2016 event is expected to attract more than 700 captive owners, risk managers and insurance professionals. An agenda schedule will be announced soon, and an earlybird hotel special is available through February 29. Book now!
We hosted the January visit of shipping experts Roula Prokakou (left) and Chrysoula Bilia (with BDA’s Kevin Richards). Both women are managing partners of RS Technical and Consultancy Services, based in Piraeus, Greece. During their visit, they met key representatives of Bermuda’s shipping sector, including those from local law firms,
ship-management and chartering companies and the Department of Maritime Administration (DMA), and advised on ways to grow the island’s registry. Kevin will attend the industry’s major Posidonia conference in Athens,
Greece June 6–10.
The BDA team is ramping up activity in the aviation sector this month, following meetings by our new industry working group to plan competitive strategy. Business Development Manager Kevin Richards attended the Annual Global Airfinance Conference in Dublin with local industry partners including the Department of Commercial Aviation (DCA), and law firms Conyers, Appleby, MJM and Walkers. BDA's Deshay Caines and Sophie Burt (pictured) joined Cedar Aviation’s Eugene Ball and Anthony Richardson at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference in Tampa, Florida.
BDA’s Sean Moran led an industry team to New York this month for leading law firm Schulte Roth & Zabel’s 25th Annual Private Investment Funds Seminar. Also attending the event were Neil Glass of WW Management; Sarah Demerling of Appleby; Scott Watson Brown of PwC; Rod White of Equinoxe; Matt Charleson of Kane LPI Solutions; and Laura Knox Clingerman of Harbour Financial Services. Raising Bermuda’s profile in the major funds centre, the BDA also hosted a networking reception for law firm partners, prime brokerage representatives, asset managers and other key influencers.
|Trust & Private Client
More than 60 international private client lawyers will be among attendees at the fourth annual Legal Week Private Client Forum Americas in Bermuda next month. The event will be held on the island for the first time February 10–12. “We are excited about bringing this delegation to the magnificent Rosewood Tucker’s Point Resort,” says Legal Week’s Duncan Campbell. “Bermuda is seen as one of the key offshore centres for wealth management and planning—that was a key reason behind bringing the event here.” For more information, or to book online, go to www.privateclientforum-americas.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.