Cayman Finance CEO Jude Scott tackles misconceptions about the Cayman Islands financial services industry in this Letter to the Editor for the Financial Times.
The following is the full text of the letter, which can be accessed on the Financial Times website.
Under a mountain of outdated caricatures and convenient omissions, Gillian Tett’s column on global financial trends, “Better data on modern finance reveals uncomfortable truths,” (October 11), buried the conclusion that there is “no evidence” that banking practices in international financial centres such as the Cayman Islands “pose significant threats now”.
Tett’s column insinuated that the Cayman Islands was among a group of “murky” and “opaque” financial centres, but the OECD’s most current assessment gave Cayman the same transparency rating as the UK, US, Germany, Canada and Australia. Also, after exhaustive consideration, the Council of the European Union assessed the Cayman Islands to be cooperative on transparency.
Cayman’s commitment to transparency and information sharing also extends specifically into the banking sector, which was a key focus of Tett’s column. She commended efforts to produce better data on cross-border financial services but noticeably avoided mentioning that the Cayman Islands is already a significant provider of data to one of the very sources she cites, the Bank for International Settlements.
Perhaps the most significant mischaracterization in the column was describing financial flows associated international financial centres as “a mystery wrapped in an enigma for investors.” At the end of 2017, total assets managed by Cayman Islands hedge funds were US$6.93 trillion (EUR 6.16 trillion) and net assets were US$4.03 trillion (EUR 3.59). The large institutional investors that invest capital on this scale don’t do so in environments that are mysterious to them.
In fact, global investors understand very clearly the advantages of investing through the Cayman Islands. Cayman offers them a neutral platform in which to pool their capital with others and access a world’s worth of investment opportunities in a single transparent, tax neutral system with a stable, democratic government and a trusted, experienced legal system.
Proponents of better data in financial services are pursuing an important goal, but they should start by being complete and accurate with the information already available.
Cayman Finance CEO