Cayman Finance held its first members briefing last week to outline its plans for 2016 and to demonstrate its value to the financial services industry.
Jude Scott, CEO of Cayman Finance, said the industry organization had much to celebrate.
“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,” Mr. Scott said.
“I want to acknowledge the support from the Ministry of Financial Services, Minister [Wayne] Panton and his team, the Attorney General’s office and CIMA [Cayman Islands Monetary Authority], support that, despite them also being chronically underfunded, have worked together with us to help us achieve these successes.”
However, Mr. Scott also noted that the organization representing Cayman’s financial services was in urgent need of proper funding by government to protect the industry from threats and take advantage of opportunities that would grow the industry.
With proper funding, Cayman Finance could bring even greater value to the industry and the country, he said. “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,” he said.
In comparison, government would only receive $2 in revenue for every dollar spent by government on tourism, the other pillar of Cayman’s economy.
The finance industry employs more than 5,000 people, and in excess of 2,700 Caymanians, Mr. Scott noted. “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.
The organization has developed a marketing plan for 2016 that would fortify the Cayman Finance brand and the brand of Cayman’s financial services industry, both internationally and domestically, according to Mark Lewis, a partner at Walkers.
“It will capitalize 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 said.
Mr. Lewis also highlighted the upcoming third 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 calendar for contacts in New York and the upper northeast of the U.S. that use Cayman financial services.
Baron Jacob, partner at Ernst and Young, provided an update on behalf of Cayman Finance’s Public Awareness Committee, stating that this year’s highlight was a student education and work experience pilot program developed in partnership with member firms, the Ministry of Financial Services and the Ministry of Education. The program, 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 percent of participating students and will be expanded in 2016, he said.
Tania Dons, partner at Conyers Dill & Pearman, who spoke for the Cayman Finance Membership Committee, said Cayman membership of the organization was growing and now included 46 member firms representing well over 2,000 individuals. The briefing at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort was attended by 170 representatives from the finance industry, Governor Helen Kilpatrick, Premier Alden McLaughlin and government ministers Wayne Panton, Marco Archer and Osbourne Bodden.
“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 [the] private sector – is testament to our industry’s commitment to protect, promote, develop and grow the Cayman Islands financial services industry,” said Ian Wight, chairman of Cayman Finance.