Work to Live And A Lot More Living
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- Case Study
‘We work to live and we do more living here’ says remote worker feeling at home in Bermuda
Sean McNulty came to Bermuda from Canada as a temporary remote worker, but inside a year the island feels like home. So much is he enjoying his new life that he has no plans to leave and is now considering bringing his business to the island under Bermuda’s latest immigration programme, the Economic Investment Certificate (EIC).
The 37-year-old Canadian chief executive officer and portfolio manager of Canada-based asset-management firm XIB Asset Management said he and his wife Jana came to the island late in 2020 on the Work From Bermuda (WFB) One-Year Residential Certificate, and soon realised that one year would not be enough.
“Each day we’ve been here, each place we go, or each thing we try, each friend we make, has made us feel a bit more at home.”
“Each day we’ve been here, each place we go, or each thing we try, each friend we make, has made us feel a bit more at home,” Mr McNulty said. “Now it’s been almost a year, it does feel like home and we would like to stay here for the foreseeable future. We’ve just applied to extend our permit for another year and we’ve been approved.”
Both of Mr McNulty’s parents spent time working in Bermuda in the past. His English-born father, who worked as a police officer for eight years in the 1970s, describes Bermuda as “his favourite place on Earth”. Mr McNulty’s wife also has two cousins who have each lived in Bermuda for almost a decade.
When Mr McNulty was looking for a location from which to work remotely and to improve his quality of life, the family connections weighed in Bermuda’s favour. After he contacted the Bermuda Business Development Agency’s (BDA) reputable concierge team and made initial enquiries about opportunities to live on the island, the onset of the pandemic accelerated the process. As restrictions took effect in Canada, he was largely confined to his Toronto condo, deprived of many of the benefits of living in the city.
“That was the perfect impetus to make the big move,” Mr McNulty said. “We figured that working remotely from an island is not that different from working remotely from your apartment, except the view would be better and the lifestyle would be more enjoyable.”
When Bermuda launched its remote WFB programme, Mr McNulty and his wife Jana applied successfully and moved to the island on November 1, 2020.
There were other relocation possibilities, including the Cayman Islands, from where XIB runs some of its funds. Bermuda won out because it “has more of an island feel”, being less built-up and lacking the high-rise buildings and fast-food chains of other locations. Also, “Bermuda actually has seasons”, he said, which means there’s a chance to wear pants and a sweater for part of the year
A reliable high-speed internet service has made it just as easy to run his business as it was from Toronto. One important advantage is that in Bermuda, he’s one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time, which gives him an extra hour in the morning before the bell rings to open the stock markets in Toronto and New York.
“I find I get a jumpstart on the day,” he said. “I have more time to read the news and get ahead of the big city life that would start an hour later.” His typical daily routine involves some morning exercise and reading, afternoon trading, and some social time in the evening.
Things have run so smoothly that Mr McNulty is leaning towards bringing some of his business to Bermuda. He has found what he needs for running funds – a sophisticated accounting, administrative and legal infrastructure – is present on the island at a level that has pleasantly surprised him.
He added: “All the jurisdictional benefits that I have from funds in Cayman are here – and I’m here – so it’s viable, it makes sense and I think it would be equally effective for XIB to have more of a presence in Bermuda.”
“My wife and I keep reminding ourselves that we work to live, not the other way around,” he said. “We’ve done a lot more living here.”
Bermuda has delivered handsomely on the main aim of Mr McNulty’s relocation – to find a better quality of life. “My wife and I keep reminding ourselves that we work to live, not the other way around,” he said. “We’ve done a lot more living here.”
He has enjoyed golfing on Bermuda’s spectacular courses and going for hikes and runs on the trails near to his Southampton home. But having just acquired a boat, he is discovering a whole new aspect of island life.
“Our friends and family told us before we came here that you’ve not really experienced Bermuda until you’ve gone out on a boat in the summer,” Mr McNulty said. “That was certainly correct.” He enjoys piloting the boat on the open water, but docking it remains a challenge.
Already, being out on the island’s pristine waters has given him unforgettable memories. Taking out some visiting friends on the boat to a raft-up off the picturesque beach at Deep Bay was one of the best moments.
“We spent the whole day in the sun with a big group of friends – some that we knew and some that we just met – and for me it summed up the life experience we were looking for in coming here,” Mr McNulty said.
“That’s something you can do in Bermuda that I haven’t even seen done anywhere else in the world. That was pretty special for us.”
He’s found a strong network of fellow Canadians on the island and has joined the ball hockey league that many of them enjoy. He has also enjoyed mixing with the large island’s large British contingent, who share his passion for soccer. But equally, he has enjoyed the company and friendliness of Bermudians, with whom he says it is always easy to strike up a conversation.
“Just driving trying to find my way here, someone said to me, ‘You look lost, sir, can I help you?’ That happens here, but it doesn’t happen in a lot of other places,” he said.
In an indication of his strength of feeling for his new home, Mr McNulty launched the Frontline Foundation charity, backed by $500,000 of his own money. The aim was to show appreciation for frontline workers – including healthcare staff, police officers, healthcare workers and vaccination clinic volunteers – while supporting local businesses and encouraging people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I did a lot of charity work in Canada and I wanted to continue that here,” Mr McNulty said. “It’s only been a short time, but Bermuda’s given us a lot and we want to give what we can. We are lucky enough to have the ability to give money and time, so I think it’s important that we do.”
It’s got some of the most beautiful views and scenery of any place I’ve been in the entire world. Not only that, but it’s got great business infrastructure too.”
Asked what he would tell a friend in Toronto who was thinking of working remotely, he said: “I would strongly urge them to consider Bermuda. It’s a community that can give you a small friendship group that you can see over and over again, a place a place where people look you in the eye when they talk to you and greet you when you’re a stranger. It’s got some of the most beautiful views and scenery of any place I’ve been in the entire world. Not only that, but it’s got great business infrastructure too.”