Cayman Finance, the organisation representing the Cayman Islands financial services industry, held its inaugural Members Briefing last week at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort.
The briefing was attended by over 170 people from Cayman’s financial services industry, including Her Excellency the Governor, Mrs Helen Kilpatrick, the Premier, Hon Alden M McLaughlin, the Honorable Wayne Panton, Minister for Financial Services, Commerce and Environment, the Honorable Marco Archer, Minister for Finance and Economic Development, and the Honorable Osbourne Bodden, Minister for Community Affairs, Youth and Sports.
Mr Ian Wight, Chairman of Cayman Finance said the briefing was part of the organisation’s continued efforts to showcase its value to the financial services industry and an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of 2015 and discuss plans for 2016.
“We are facing challenges that will require us to work even harder together as one industry in order to arrive at the sort of innovative solutions that allowed us to sustain and grow this industry in the past.
“To have such enormous representation at our Briefing – the most senior leaders of government, senior officials from the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, and senior leadership from private sector – is testament to our industry’s commitment to protect, promote, develop and grow the Cayman Islands financial services industry,” Mr Wight said.
Minister Panton gave an update on the work of Government through the efforts of the Ministry of Financial Services, including new legislation and regulations passed and in process.
Mr Jude Scott, CEO of Cayman Finance said the industry had much to celebrate, particularly in the face of constant change on the global regulatory landscape, but was in urgent need of a proper funding by government to ensure it was better able to protect itself from threats and to take advantage of opportunities that would grow the industry.
“We have undertaken great work this year in the areas of media relations, event marketing, roadshows to key markets and business development meetings, the publication of our second annual jurisdictional magazine, have piloted a student education program, and consulted with government on legislative and regulatory initiatives that affect the financial services industry.
“I want to acknowledge the support from the Ministry of Financial Services, Minister Panton and his team, the Attorney General’s office and CIMA, support that, despite them also being chronically underfunded, have worked together with us to help us achieve these successes.
Mr Baron Jacob, partner at Ernst and Young, provided an update on behalf of Cayman Finance’s Public Awareness Committee, Mr Mark Lewis, senior partner at Walkers provided an overview of activities for the Marketing Committee, and Ms Tania Dons, Partner at Conyers Dill & Pearman, spoke for the Membership Committee.
Mr Baron Jacob said the highlight for the Public Awareness Committee was the Student Education and Work Experience Pilot Programme developed in partnership with member firms, the Ministry of Financial Services and the Ministry of Education. The programme, aimed at creating a pathway for high-performing Caymanian students into the Cayman Islands financial services industry, was rated as very good/excellent by 95% of participating students and will be expanded in 2016.
Ms Tania Dons said Cayman Finance’s membership was growing and now included 46 member firms representing well over 2,000 individuals and was truly representative and inclusive of Cayman’s financial services industry.
In speaking on Cayman Finance’s 2016 marketing plan, Mr Mark Lewis said it was a plan that would fortify the Cayman Finance brand and the brand of Cayman’s financial services industry, both internationally and domestically.
“It will capitalise on emerging opportunities, it will robustly defend our territory and market lead, it will enhance the knowledge of the local population and in Government of the true value of the financial services industry to the Cayman Islands economy, and it will strategically market the Cayman Islands in a way that is responsive, creative and forward-thinking.”
He highlighted the upcoming 3rd Annual Cayman Finance New York Breakfast Briefing that will take place in January 2016, noting that it has rapidly found its way into the annual NY calendar for contacts in New York and the upper North East of the USA that use Cayman financial services.
Mr Scott said he was excited about the organisation’s plans for 2016 and believed that with proper funding Cayman Finance could bring even greater value to the industry and the country.
“There is much more we could be doing if the regulator, the Ministry, and Cayman Finance had the necessary funding. Recent research undertaken by Cayman Finance found that for every $1 spent by the Cayman Islands government on financial services, Government receives approximately $18 in revenue. In comparison, the other pillar of Cayman’s economy, tourism, for every $1 spent by the government on tourism, it receives approximately $2 in revenue,” he said.
“Our industry employs over 5,000 people, and in excess of 2,700 Caymanians. We are a prominent purchaser of services from large, medium and small businesses in other industries in the Cayman economy and our industry provides scholarships, internships, and training for talented, hardworking Caymanians and heavily supports many charitable causes in our community.
“It is time for the Cayman Islands government to properly reinvest in our industry, the key pillar of the Cayman Islands economy, so it can be properly protected, promoted, developed and grown to continue benefitting the Cayman Islands and its people,” Mr Scott said.