George Town, the capital of the Cayman Islands, is a thriving business centre in this jurisdiction which is the location for 40 of the world’s largest banks (source). In addition, it offers an enviable working lifestyle, with harbourfront views and a wide array of shopping and dining options.
Located in the heart of George Town is Flagship Building, an iconic mixed-use commercial property with stunning sea views and within close proximity to the Cayman Islands courthouse and numerous commercial banks. The name of the building pays homage to the Islands’ seafaring heritage and is ideally and centrally located for business operations and to serve potential clients.
Staff and clients benefit from the building’s on-site surface parking and its convenient location on the lively corner of Harbour Drive and Fort Street. Flagship’s suites range from 400 to 3,600 square feet, with flexible fit-out options to suit individual business needs.
Start every day with a morning coffee enjoyed with inspirational views overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Flagship Building is a second-generation office space that boasts large balconies that make the most of these views. Additional features include a central open floor plan designed for inclusion, private offices, a boardroom and a private kitchen.
Here is a sample tour of one of the spaces at Flagship:
Flagship Building tenants also benefit from on-site building maintenance, a back-up generator for additional peace of mind, a new chiller air-conditioning system, availability of high-speed Internet services, key fob access, two interior elevators and on-site security from dusk ’til dawn.
There are currently a range of spaces available at Flagship Building, from small suites to larger spaces. To view these available listings or schedule a viewing, click here or contact a Dart Real Estate leasing representative at [email protected].
About the author
Natasha Valerio is a Senior Marketing Communications Coordinator supporting the marketing team of the business development and real estate division at Dart. Natasha holds a BA in Communication Arts and has worked in Camana Bay since 2010. Born and raised in the Cayman Islands, Natasha loves the mermaid life – fitting, given that she is the team’s ‘Disney princess!’ Some of Natasha’s experience with Dart includes working on the opening of The Residences at Seafire, Dart’s first for-sale resort-residential property.
The reinsurance industry in the Cayman Islands has grown over the past decade, so much so that its businesses decided it was time to unite for certain purposes.
Last month, the founding members of the Cayman International Reinsurance Companies Association — which will be better known by the acronym “CIRCA” — announced the formation of their membership-based group, which was established in October. The new association’s main purpose is to promote the reinsurance industry “through peer interaction, advocacy and education on topics impacting the regulatory and business environment.”
Reinsurance is basically insurance that is purchased by insurance companies that sell products to the public. For example, an insurance company that sells home insurance to the public will buy coverage from a reinsurance company to protect itself from financial ruin in case of a major claims event, such as a natural disaster like a hurricane.
In exchange for part of the premium or other payments, the reinsurer takes part of a specific risk, says CIRCA Chairman Nate Gemmiti of Knighthead Annuity & Life.
“The existence of reinsurance is invisible to the individual that bought the insurance, but it exists across the entire insurance industry.”
Gemmiti noted that reinsurance is not restricted to property insurance and is also available to life, annuity or any insurance product.
Cayman’s reinsurance industry As a tax-neutral territory with an established regulatory framework and a world-class captive insurance industry, the Cayman Islands is well-positioned to thrive in the reinsurance industry.
“The reinsurance industry has a strong history in the Cayman Islands,” says Gemmiti. “Market participants often interacted on matters that were important to the industry and have worked collaboratively with our regulators and other stakeholders.”
Gemmiti also says that as a premier global financial hub, the Cayman Islands is well known and trusted by clients and domestic regulators and has been recognised for its “low levels of economic, political and financial risk.”
Cayman is a highly rated domicile that has become a very attractive reinsurance hub thanks to “its focus on transparency and relative ease of doing business,” says Gemmiti. “It offers a perfect environment for reinsurers wanting to grow their business.”
Members CIRCA, which was incorporated as a Cayman Islands exempted foundation company, is currently offering two membership options through an application process that is reviewed by its board of directors.
“Cayman Islands licensed reinsurers can apply for full membership,” explains Gemmiti, “and parties not eligible for full membership are offered an associate membership option. The reinsurers that are full members of CIRCA differ from traditional captive insurance companies in that their offices are located and staffed in Cayman, as opposed to captive insurance companies that would typically appoint a local third-party manager to represent them in Cayman.”
Among the founding member companies is Aureum Re, whose CFO Jim Owen believes CIRCA’s members will benefit from the newly formed group.
“CIRCA will provide a voice to the commercial reinsurance sector in the Cayman Islands,” he says.
In addition to Knighthead Annuity & Life and Aureum Re, CIRCA’s other founding member companies include Barents Re, CIBC Cayman Reinsurance, Greenlight Re, Nassau Re and United Insurance Company. Conyers Trust Company serves as CIRCA’s supervisor and secretary.
Three of the founding member companies — Greenlight Re, Aureum Re and Knighthead Annuity & Life — are tenants in Camana Bay.
Gemmiti says CIRCA’s board and members are excited about what’s in store for the future of the financial services industry in the Cayman Islands.
“Cayman’s continued focus on balancing regulatory and commercial priorities with its adherence to the highest global standards will undoubtedly continue to fuel continued growth of its financial sector,” he says.
This article first appeared in the January 2021 issue of Camana Bay Times, with the headline “Cayman’s reinsurers unite.”
The Cayman Islands marked a pivotal point in its history when the Legislative Assembly was renamed the House of Parliament on Friday, 5 December 2020.
Growing up on Grand Cayman, the largest of the tri-island British Overseas Territory, history was passed on through storytelling by our elders. As a child, I would hear countless tales of the Cayman Islands’ birth and growth over the last two centuries, and how we had progressed from being ‘the islands time forgot’ to a world-class jurisdiction home to many global businesses.
I made the decision to attend the opening of the House of Parliament so that I too could become a storyteller and pass on a first-hand account of this important juncture to my children and grandchildren – recounting another stepping stone in the path of our democratic history and cementing the strength of the governance system.
The author at the after-hours reception for the opening of Parliament at the 1919 Peace Memorial in George Town.
The birthplace of democracy in the Cayman Islands is accepted as Pedro St. James Castle, a traditional Caymanian Great House and plantation, where on 5 December 1831 (189 years prior to the renaming of the House of Parliament) a group of individuals decided to form the first elected government (source).
The progression of government in the Cayman Islands continued at a consistent pace, with notable achievements such as a written constitution and women being granted the right to vote in 1959 (source).
The renaming of the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly, the unicameral legislature of the Cayman Islands (source), is another historic moment in the story of these islands.
Sitting in the grand room filled with politicians, dignitaries, businesspeople, and notable members of the Cayman Islands community I was struck with the question – what does this change all mean? How does it support the sustainable growth of the islands?
A proud British Overseas Territory, in short, this change allows the House of Parliament autonomous authority over domestic affairs.
In his throne speech, His Excellency the Governor, Martyn Roper, extended congratulations from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, who lauded the Cayman Islands for “how far they have come in developing into a mature democracy.” (source)
The Cayman Islands now joins the likes of other committed British Overseas Territories, Bermuda (source) and Gibraltar (source), with a House of Parliament governing domestic issues and affairs. The Governor retains power over security and good governance of these islands, maintaining a balance in the constitutional relationship which reflects the rights and responsibilities of both the UK and the Cayman Islands and working closely with other government departments to fulfil the UK government’s collective responsibility for the country (source).
I left the now House of Parliament inspired by a modern, democratic government which would continue to support and encourage confidence and stability in the Cayman Islands.
About the author
Alanna Warwick-Smith is a Senior Marketing Communication Coordinator supporting the business development and real estate marketing team for Dart. Alanna has worked in Dart’s flagship development of Camana Bay for the past eight years, when she began her career working at the town’s bookstore, Books & Books. A lover of the written word, Alanna reads and writes poetry in her spare time, and has written content for a range of platforms in the past, including her own blog and Camana Bay Times.
The Cayman Islands has been rated the easiest place in the world to do business, after coming in last out of 76 countries listed on TMF Group’s 2019 Global Business Complexity Index. Cayman’s “healthy economy,” transparency and “pro-business” approach contributed to this ranking, along with the engagement between the government and private sector.
This ranking has helped to promote the Cayman Islands as a jurisdiction of choice to companies who may be looking to relocate or expand. Dart Real Estate has been able to assist these businesses in finding a new home on Grand Cayman, with a range of commercial real estate options to suit all sizes. From the turnkey readyspaces concept at Regatta Office Park on the Seven Mile Beach corridor, which offers office and boardroom rentals by the hour, day, or on a month-to-month basis, to the Class-A commercial office spaces available in the vibrant Town Centre of Camana Bay, steps from Seven Mile Beach, businesses of any size can easily and comfortably find a space to work from in the Cayman Islands.
But just how easy is easy? Dart’s Vice President Business Development, Chris Duggan, sat down with Cline Glidden, senior associate at Ogier law firm, for a conversation about exactly what process business owners and executives can expect when looking to establish a presence in the Cayman Islands. Glidden has a broad range of experience in law, with special focus on mergers and acquisitions, real estate and property law, and employment and immigration law.
Dart’s Chris Duggan, left, and Ogier’s Cline Glidden
Chris Duggan (CD): Thank you for joining us for this conversation, Cline. We are interested in learning more, from the legal standpoint, on the process of corporate relocation to the Cayman Islands. Can you explain what is involved with getting a business license in Cayman?
Cline Glidden (CG): Thanks, Chris. It depends if you are setting up as a local company or an exempt company. If you are a local company – meaning your company is doing business in Cayman – then there is a requirement to have 60% Caymanian ownership and control, or you can seek an exemption for this requirement, known as a Local Companies Control License (LCCL.) For exempt companies that do business from the Cayman Islands but not within Cayman, such as an investment fund, then this is not required.
CD: How long would a new business expect this to take?
CG: For a regular business license, about four weeks. If an LCCL is required, it will be longer.
CD: Cayman is a highly regulated offshore financial services centre. Does this pose issues for new businesses establishing a bank account here?
CG: As you’ve mentioned, the jurisdiction is well-regulated and banks are very risk-averse; therefore, they require there to be clear nexus with the island for any new accounts. New businesses typically need to set up the company, get licensed by government and then open a bank account.
CD: What is the proper sequence of events for this work and who can typically help a client do this?
CG: For corporate accounts, the sequence would be the incorporation and establishment of the company, then obtaining all the necessary licenses and fulfilling the bank requirements.
CD: Cline, you have helped a number of companies set up in Cayman. What are common challenges you see with the process that can be overcome with advance planning before they relocate or establish in Cayman?
CG: Choosing an advisor with the requisite local legal services expertise and experience very early in the process to provide the necessary advice and direction to the unique requirements involved in establishing a business in Cayman.
Examples are the Caymanian ownership and control requirement for local businesses – most people consider the ownership component and become comfortable with that relatively easily, but the control aspect can create more challenges.
CD: For most companies, remaining connected with the rest of the world is critical to their success. Can you talk about the telecommunications in Cayman and also data security services?
CG: Cayman has grown and benefitted by having a robust infrastructure which includes reliable electricity services, telecommunications and air transport, which is continuously being expanded and upgraded. Cayman has recently implemented the Data Protection Law which regulates the future processing of all personal data using internationally recognised privacy principles.
CD: Thank you for your time, Cline.
For more on why you might consider relocating your business to the Cayman Islands click here, or watch our video, above. For more on Cayman Islands business licenses, click here.
About Chris Duggan
Chris Duggan is Vice President of Business Development at Dart Enterprises, responsible for the strategic oversight and implementation of the Dart group’s overall Business Development strategy.
About Cline Glidden
Cline is a member of the Local Practice and Funds Team at Ogier where he uses his past experience to advise clients on Mergers & Acquisitions, Real Estate, Property Law, Project Development and Employment & Immigration.
About the author
Anna Wootton is the Digital Marketing & PR Manager for Dart’s business development and real estate companies and assets, including Dart Real Estate, Provenance Properties, Cayman Alternative Investment Summit (CAIS), Camana Bay and The Residences at Seafire. Born in the Cayman Islands, with British heritage and a Canadian passport, Anna is multinational with a Caymankind heart. Anna has a background in journalism and a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from University of British Columbia. She has worked for Dart for the past six years.
Mourant’s four articled clerks include, from left to right, Chelsea Ayala, David Ramsaran, Rejonte Rivers and Gabrielle Myers.
Offshore law and governance services firm Mourant welcomed Chelsea Ayala and Gabrielle Myers as articled clerks recently.
Mourant now has four articled clerks in its Cayman Islands office, located in Camana Bay.
Ayala joined the firm in July 2015 as a corporate assistant in Mourant Governance Services. She progressed to corporate administrator and then to senior corporate administrator while studying online. She then went on to complete the professional practice course at the Cayman Islands Law School, completing it in June 2019. Chelsea moved over to the law firm in February 2020 as a paralegal on the corporate team and recently accepted the position of article clerk.
“It’s been a challenging but exciting few years, working and attending school full-time in order to pursue my legal career,” said Ayala. “I’ve gained an abundance of knowledge and skills throughout my years with Mourant, which I will be able to apply throughout my career.”
Myers is a familiar face to the firm, having been a summer student intern each year since 2016. She was also the firm’s 2019 scholarship recipient and she graduated from the University of Bedfordshire with honours.
“I’ve truly enjoyed and learnt a great deal from my previous summer internships with the firm and am incredibly grateful for all of their support during my studies,” she said.
Mourant Cayman Islands Managing Partner Hayden Isbister welcomed Ayala and Myers to the firm.
“This is the first time that we’ve had four articled clerks at the same time and the increase in the number of trainees is an indicator of our commitment to supporting and developing Caymanian talent,” he said. “I look forward to working with and encouraging all of our articled clerks as they develop a rewarding career in law.”
Mourant lawyers acknowledged “Who’s Who Legal” has recommended five Mourant litigation and dispute resolution partners as among the leading restructuring and insolvency specialists in the global market.
Those listed include Simon Dickson, Nicholas Fox, Christopher Harlowe and Peter Hayden, who are all based in the Cayman Islands, as well as Jeremy Wessels, who is based in Guernsey.
Mourant litigation partner, Hector Robinson, said: “Having five of our partners listed as leading practitioners by ‘Who’s Who Legal’ is a reflection of their extensive experience, in-depth technical focus and our firm’s deep resources in this area.”
“Who’s Who Legal” identifies the foremost legal practitioners in multiple business areas through comprehensive, independent research and features them online at https://whoswholegal.com/.
This article first appeared in the November 2020 print edition of Camana Bay Times with the headline “Mourant welcomes two more articled clerks.”
Dart VP Business Development Chris Duggan, left, facilitated a panel discussion with STEP professionals, from left, Tamara Corbin, Andrew Miller, Bernadette Carey and Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs Chief Officer Eric Bush. Photo: Bobby Hulse
By Alan Markoff
One of the first in-person business conferences on Grand Cayman since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic occurred on 8 October with a Dart-sponsored event for members of the Cayman Islands’ chapter of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. The event served to introduce the findings from a special research report commissioned by Dart on the family office sector in the Cayman Islands.
Family offices are privately held entities that manage wealth and investments for high-net-worth families. The net wealth of most of these families exceeds US$100 million in assets. Jurisdictions like the Cayman Islands try to attract family offices because of the potential economic impact wealthy individuals can make through investments and spending without competing in the local employment and business markets.
The report The research paper, which was produced with research support from Barton Consulting and Wealth-X, two global leaders in market data and research within the private wealth segment, helps position the Cayman Islands as the jurisdiction of choice for family offices considering relocation or expansion.
It was compiled through in-depth interviews with professional advisors — including lawyers, trustees, residency and citizenship consultants, ultra-high-net-worth lifestyle consultants, multi-family office advisors, tax advisors, asset managers and private bankers — based in key markets around the world.
The report, which was presented to STEP Cayman members by Dart Vice President Real Estate Marketing and Sales Sue Nickason, cited several considerations for those choosing a new family office location or expanding an existing one. In addition to the needs of the family and its advisors, these considerations also included convenience; professional expertise and reputation; ease of immigration; and family sentiment about relocating.
How those considerations are ranked in importance depends on where the individuals are from.
“What is important to someone in Canada won’t be equally important to someone from Brazil when they’re looking to establish a family office or to expand,” Nickason said. “That’s not to say that an attribute that is important to someone from South America isn’t important to someone from the U.S. or Canada; it’s just not as high on the list.”
The Cayman Islands is considered an attractive jurisdiction for family offices for many of the same reasons the jurisdiction is attractive for real estate and other financial investments. For those from the United States and Canada, these reasons often include time zone, geographical location, the fact that English is the official language, tax neutrality, a low crime rate, reliable telecommunications, an attractive real estate market and lifestyle, particularly with regard to the marine environment.
However, for those in Latin America in places like Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia, Cayman’s stable economy and legal system took high importance, along with some of the other factors.
“Cayman’s being tax neutral is becoming an increasingly important factor for South American families,” Nickason said.
The research showed that Grand Cayman’s quality was a differentiating factor.
“Quality is the element that unites,” said Nickason, adding that the quality of Cayman’s people, the quality of the place and its quality of life, all combine to offer a unique value proposition for family offices.
“The trinity of people, place and life is special and unique to Cayman,” Nickason said.
Panel discussion Dart VP Business Development Chris Duggan facilitated a panel discussion about the opportunities and impediments to establishing more family offices in the Cayman Islands after the presentation.
Rawlinson & Hunter partner Tamara Corbin said her firm is seeing an increase in family office inquiries from clients based in many other jurisdictions, including the U.S., Canada, Asia and South America.
“In some cases, they had made inquiries before, chosen another jurisdiction and now they’re coming back,” she said, later adding that in some cases, the clients are looking into secondary family office locales to supplement an existing one. Bedell Cristin Partner Andrew Miller said most of the family office inquires he’s seeing are coming from Latin America and that he’s hearing a lot of positive comments about what Grand Cayman offers to these clients.
Carey Olsen Partner Bernadette Carey said she has been surprised at how quickly it’s become a trend for people in the United States to inquire about a family office in the Cayman Islands. In the past, they would receive only a very occasional family office inquiry from the U.S.
“Now we’re getting an inquiry every week,” she said.
The political, social and pandemic situations in the United States are major reasons for the trend.
“They’re saying, ‘I just want some peace in my life,’” said Carey.
Miller believes the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many high-net-worth individuals to reconsider where they live and work.
“Because of COVID, they discovered they could run their global office from the Hamptons or London,” he said. “But they’re less enthusiastic about living in a big city at the moment and they’re thinking about making what was temporary, permanent.”
Ministry of International Trade, Investment, Aviation and Maritime Affairs Chief Officer Eric Bush said the government understands that immigration is a key issue with those that might want to set up a family office here, but said he believes it is an unrealistic expectation to think that the government would allow just anyone to come. However, he said the government’s goal is to make the immigration and arrival process consistent, transparent and efficient.
This article first appeared in the November 2020 print edition of Camana Bay Times.
About the author
Alan Markoff has worked with Dart as the editor for Camana Bay Times for three years and has been writing professionally since 1997. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Alan graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a degree in English, and first moved to the Cayman Islands in 1982. He has 16 years of experience in the real estate industry and previously worked as a journalist for Cayman Compass before joining Dart to relaunch the Camana Bay Times monthly newspaper. An avid baseball fan, Alan loves travelling but also schedules trips back home around catching a summer game or two with his home team, Cleveland Indians.
Thomas Tennant, left, and Jonathan Nunez of Tomfoodery.
By Maia King
By the time Thomas Tennant was in middle school, he already knew he wanted to be a chef.
“I knew very young,” he says. “I was one of those kids that watched cooking shows. I was interested in food and eating, and the best way to eat was to cook. At 9 years old I was like, ‘Hey, I made you a cheese sandwich and it has Muenster and Swiss. Tell me how you like it.’”
Deciding that he enjoyed service and hospitality, little Thomas started reading through the cookbooks in his mother’s Miami garage – “The Joy of Cooking” and an old spiral-bound book of recipes from 1936 published in his parents’ native Argentina.
The rest, as they say, is history. Chef Thomas Tennant is now a celebrated name in the culinary industry, with an impressive career spanning Miami, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands. Since his first visit to Cayman Cookout in 2010, he has made a name for himself locally as head chef at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink and The Brasserie. He has also championed the use of invasive species like green iguana and lionfish as food ingredients, innovating the plate while working to counteract the negative effects of these animals on the local ecosystem.
By early 2021, Tennant and his business partner Jonathan Nunez will open the doors of Tomfoodery Kitchen & Bar in Camana Bay. Already operating for catering, consulting and takeout/delivery services, Tomfoodery offers a fresh restaurant concept that centres on community, both through creating partnerships with farmers, customers and fellow restaurateurs, and through the use of quintessentially Caribbean flavours. The menu includes Caymanian specialties like coconut fish rundown and Cayman-style beef, alongside regional favourites like Jamaican curry chicken and breadfruit salad.
The décor will be colourful and decidedly “Cayman.” Tennant and Nunez engaged a team of artists including Nunez’s wife, Claire Rohleder of 3 Girls & A Kiln, and artist Marc Laurenson of Stoak’d, to construct an 18- to 20-foot seagrape tree with 3,000 to 4,000 leaves made of repurposed and reused materials like coffee filters and wooden palettes.
In order to service a diverse clientele, the restaurant operates counter-service style, largely forgoing formal servers and front-of-house staff. Prices will be kept intentionally lower without sacrificing quality ingredients.
For Tennant, Tomfoodery’s concept revolves around relationships.
“As much as I’m famous for using local ingredients, I just like making relationships with people who do things that I enjoy – people who grow food or focus on invasive species,” he says.
“When you operate with a focus on the people who are sitting across from you and the people in the community, you get longevity,” he says. “When you respect others, they respect you.”
Nunez, whose background is in restaurant management, front of house and mixology, grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he worked in the restaurant industry for nine years before moving to New Orleans. There, he refined his mixology skills, combining the efficiencies of the Baton Rouge bar scene with the old-school craft cocktails of the city known as NOLA.
It was in New Orleans that Nunez met Rohleder. He moved to Cayman two and a half years ago and quickly immersed himself in the local restaurant scene, but it wasn’t until Nunez and Tennant were cocktail-consulting and catering at the same establishment that they really got to talking about brand concepts, and their partnership was sealed.
“I’m taking a business model from what we learned in New Orleans after [Hurricane] Katrina and after the recession, which is trying to adjust the local-to-tourist ratio to more of a 50/50 percentage,” he says. “It’s just reviving ways of being community focused and true to your roots.”
Nunez and Tennant’s commitment to serving the community was evident during lockdown, when they provided approximately 2,500 meals for children in need through a partnership with the Feed Our Future charity. Because both relied on public service lunch structures in their own childhoods, Nunez and Tennant were aware that being out of school could significantly impact some children’s access to daily meals. They decided to donate almost three months’ profits to Feed Our Future and to support the charity by cooking meals for the programme themselves. They have since made donations to Big Brothers Big Sisters and intend to select a charity to support on a monthly basis going forward.
With renovations to their restaurant in Camana Bay, which is located on the northern side of the Paseo in the space previously occupied by Aroma and Lola, well underway, Nunez and Tennant are looking forward to welcoming the community into Tomfoodery by the end of the year. For more information on Tomfoodery, including menus, catering services, cooking classes and retail products, visit tomfooderykitchen.com.
This article first appeared in the November 2020 print edition of Camana Bay Times with the headline “The community approach of Tomfoodery.”
The Cayman Islands has long been known and trusted by Chinese nationals as a jurisdiction to establish corporate and fund vehicles for outbound business investments from China or Hong Kong. In recent years, though, the Chinese have also turned to Cayman for wealth structuring and family succession planning, and Cayman Islands trusts, foundations and companies are often part of ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) families’ personal planning.
Many Chinese families do not only operate within national borders and boundaries. Whether it is family members moving to the US, Canada, Dubai or Europe, they are often not geographically tied to their region of origin and need to ensure that all aspects of their wealth planning take their families’ increased global footprint into account. International families are looking at the broad spectrum of possibilities for wealth planning and structuring, and the Cayman Islands are increasingly becoming a jurisdiction of choice.
Monique Bhullar, a partner with Walkers law firm, which has offices in Cayman and Hong Kong explains: “As a law firm, we have seen a significant increase in the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals and family offices either relocating or preparing a contingency plan for relocating to Cayman. This is without actively seeking this type of work, so is clearly illustrative of a global trend.
“An uptick in high-net-worth migration from a region is often a signal of negative economic, political or societal factors influencing a region. Where clients are considering contingency planning based on such factors, they are often looking further afield to jurisdictions physically distant from their home jurisdiction or region, and often also economically or politically different, in order to mitigate risk. This applies to immigration planning as well as asset protection and estate planning and makes Cayman an attractive option for residents of Mainland China and Hong Kong.”
Contingency or ‘Plan B’ residency is something that is being considered by many wealthy, global Chinese families who are concerned about political, economic or other societal issues their home country. The recent protests in Hong Kong and the outbreak of COVID-19 have brought these issues into sharp focus.
Bhullar adds: “Where we have assisted ultra-high-net-worth individuals from China and the surrounding region to relocate to Cayman, the driving factors in those clients selecting Cayman have been (i) infrastructure – the quality and diversity of service providers in Cayman are second to none and the level of connectivity is that of any larger country, (ii) safety – Cayman is considered one of the safest countries in the region, which is a paramount issue for UHNW clients, (iii) rule of law – Cayman has a reliable and well-tested legal and judicial system, (iv) anonymity – UHNW individuals are able to maintain an unusually high degree of anonymity in Cayman, compared to other countries, and (iv) lifestyle – Cayman offers luxury real estate and facilities for other significant assets which UHNW clients are likely to be accustomed to and require in their new or contingency jurisdiction.”
Elizabeth Yang is a lawyer based in Hong Kong and for the last 17 years, has worked with clients from mainland China and Hong Kong. She has experience in China, Macau, Hong Kong and several other jurisdictions including Vanuatu, BVI, Fiji and the Cayman Islands. She has experience working with ultra-high-net-worth clientele on structuring including family office, trusts and succession planning.
Yang explains that the new generation of wealthy in China have specific criteria they work to when considering an alternative jurisdiction for residency, citizenship or a larger family office set-up: “It depends on what the family is looking to achieve; some are looking for a passport and alternative citizenship programme, which offers visa-free travel and access to the UK, EU or USA. For others, such a citizenship programme will be phase one of a longer-term plan, whereby the citizenship allows the family to physically relocate their family and centre of interest to a new destination in the EU or UK. In this case we commonly see families moving to locations including Malta, Monaco or London.
“The Cayman Islands offers something different. It is a larger initial investment and is more suitable for families in the very top tier of wealth looking to secure that long-term succession planning piece, as well as obtaining access to a fantastic lifestyle and residency option for their whole family. Cayman is attractive to high-net-worth Chinese individuals and families due to the fact it has zero direct taxes. Cayman has no corporate tax, income tax, inheritance or capital gains tax and there are also no withholding taxes.”
Cayman has long held its reputation for attracting the very top tier of global wealthy to its shores and this extends to Cayman’s property offering. Sue Nickason, vice president of real estate marketing and sales at Dart, explains: “When it comes to buying property in Cayman, we attract a great deal of interest from foreign investors due to Cayman’s tax-neutral status, the fact there are no restrictions on foreign ownership of property, there are no alien landholding licenses required, no recurring property taxes and, of course, our range of luxury, high-end properties for the most discerning buyers. From luxury resort-style condos on Cayman’s award-winning Seven Mile Beach to single family private estates, we have it all.”
Cayman offers a first-class lifestyle and is a place where you can choose to enjoy home comforts undisturbed or take advantage of an active social life among the welcoming residents or international community of adventurers, entrepreneurs and innovators who call Cayman home. There is a world-renowned culinary scene and Cayman is widely regarded as the culinary capital of the Caribbean, in part, thanks to the annual Cayman Cookout festival, held at The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman, which attracts the world’s leading chefs including Eric Ripert, Jose Andres and Andrew Zimmern.
The islands offer other excellent lifestyle options including two golf courses, tennis, rugby, fishing, sailing and other water-based sports in the pristine Caribbean Sea.
Elizabeth Yang goes on to talk about the significance of education for relocating Chinese families: “Education is also a key factor for many wealthy Chinese families with school-aged children and having access to a schooling system that gives them an advantage when it comes to helping their children get into the best boarding schools in the UK, USA or Canada is a real selling point.”
Luckily, education is another area where Cayman excels, as Sue Nickason explains. “With a choice of private schools in Cayman that feed into either the British, American or Canadian private school system, we are very proud of the progression of young people in Cayman. Many students go on to the top boarding schools and universities. Cayman provides a great stepping stone for that, and enjoys excellent relationships with many of the top schools who hold annual recruitment fairs here.”
Cayman International School in Camana Bay is Grand Cayman’s flagship educational establishment – a private, college preparatory, non-sectarian, co-educational school for students from two years old through Grade 12. It provides an American/international educational programme and the widely recognised International Baccalaureate programme. It is currently undergoing a major expansion project to further enhance the educational experience for all pupil’s in Cayman (source).
As a British Overseas Territory (BOT), Cayman also offers relocating Chinese families a path to British citizenship. An individual can qualify to apply for a 25-year residency in the Cayman Islands by investing US$1.2 million in developed real estate. Another option is to qualify to apply for a Person of Independent Means certificate by investing US$2.4 million in real estate. This option permits lifetime residency and the opportunity to qualify for naturalisation after five years, which means you can obtain a BOT passport and apply to register as a full British citizen and obtain a British passport.
Cayman is now home to several resident UHNW and billionaire families, who enjoy not only the ease with which they can move to Cayman but also the protections and privacy it offers as a place to live and run a successful family office.
For more information on the Cayman Islands, contact Sue Nickason directly on [email protected]. Sue and her team can provide exclusive access to all that Cayman has to offer; and the relocation team offer an exclusive VIP service and tailor-made island visits and experiences.
About the author
Emma Parker has worked with Dart since 2019 and has been writing professionally since 1999. Emma graduated from the University of Manchester with a BA (Hons) in 1997, has a post-graduate Diploma in Communications, Advertising and Marketing and a STEP Certificate in International Trust Management. She has worked in PR, marketing and business development roles, primarily in the legal and financial services sector, since 2001. Emma is now the co-founder of Sidekick, a financial services marketing consultancy. She was raised in the UK, lived in the British Virgin Islands and has made the Cayman Islands her home since 2012. Emma has a passion for exotic travel, her family and Newcastle United Football Club.
His Excellency the Governor is delighted to announce a number of special awards to members of our community for their outstanding response to the COVID pandemic. This continues to have a serious impact around the world but our success in combatting and controlling the virus has enabled our Islands to enjoy, to a great degree, a return to normal life.
The Cayman Islands enjoys a reputation for offering a pro-business environment, where an efficient civil service and a network of professional advisors help new business owners get established with ease. One of the first considerations for new businesses is understanding the types of business licenses available and the requirements for same.
What types of businesses require a Trade & Business Licence?
Any individual or company conducting business in the Cayman Islands require a valid Trade & Business Licence, unless the business is exempted under law. If the company is less than 60% Caymanian owned or controlled, a Local Companies (Control) Licence is also required.
Who is exempted from obtaining a business licence?
The following businesses do not need to hold a Trade & Business Licence:
Caymanians who produce and sell agricultural or cottage industry products (including thatch work, jams and jellies)
Self-employed Caymanians who create and sell artistic, dramatic, musical or literary works
Artisans and craftsmen who are employed by other persons
Self-employed Caymanian fishermen
Any enterprise or association formed for purposes of social or public welfare, religion, charity, art or science. Any income or profits made from these activities must be used solely for promoting those purposes and no dividends can be paid out to members
What types of licences are available?
There are various licences which include the Trade and Business Licence, Local Companies (Control) Licence, Liquor/Music and Dance Licence, and Special Economic Zones. Variations in the type of business or industry will change the licensing requirements for that individual/company.
Generally speaking any trade of business, unless exempted, will require a Trade & Business Licence in order to operate within the Cayman Islands. These are issued by the Trade and Business Licensing Board, however in certain circumstances and depending on the type of business, approval may be needed by other government departments.
A Local Companies (Control) Licence is issued to companies that wish to operate within Cayman but are not Caymanian-owned or -controlled. In these instances, foreign-owned companies will require both a Local Companies (Control) Licence and a Trade & Business Licence.
Since the ultimate beneficial ownership is not Caymanian, a Local Companies (Control) Licence requires the applicant to prove that Caymanians would benefit from the provision of services offered. This licence is normally issued to companies providing services in under-represented industries. The Cayman Islands government encourages foreign investment and licences are granted and welcomed where it is appropriate to do so.
Some foreign-owned companies do not require this type of license. Companies conduct business offshore but have a corporate presence in Cayman will instead require a Trade & Business Exempt Licence. These are mainly for companies that operate from the Cayman Islands for administrative or banking purposes.
What is the application process?
Application forms, including appropriate documents and fees, can be submitted online via the Department of Commerce and Investment website. Generally, applicants can expect their request to be reviewed by the board within two to four weeks of their submission, with the board’s decision being communicated to the applicant in five to 10 working days.
In some circumstances, the board may need to seek approval from other government departments before the application can be approved. The proposed business premise may also require inspection or certification by other government departments before the Licence can be granted; for example, health and wellness businesses.
The services of a local licensed service provider will need to be engaged to incorporate the company. Other corporate services which can be procured in Cayman include nominee shareholders, directors, registered office and other management functions on the instructions of the beneficial owners.
What fees are involved?
An initial, non-refundable application fee is CI$75/US$91. Both Licence and renewal fees vary depending on the category into which the business falls, and a comprehensive fee schedule can be found on the Department of Commerce and Investment’s website. The Trade & Business Licence needs to be renewed every year and the renewal fee must be paid at least 28 days before, but not more than three months prior, the date of expiry.
What information/documents are required?
Documentation requirements will vary by type of license. For instance, the following is required for a Trade & Business Licence as a Caymanian sole trader:
Proof of Caymanian citizenship or status
Police clearance certificate
Copy of the lease agreement or letter of intent for the commercial location where the business will be carried on from
Letter of permission if the applicants works for the Cayman Islands Government
The process is largely similar to obtain a Trade & Business Licence for a registered company however the documentation required is slightly more extensive and includes:
Copy of Certificate of Incorporation
Copy of Memorandum and Articles of Association
Register of Directors, Officers and Members
Copy of the Current Year Stamped Annual Returns if the company has been registered for over one year
Copy of the lease agreement or letter of intent for the commercial space where the business will be carried on from
There are also a number of due diligence requirements with regards to all persons or entities with beneficial interests or control of the business. Documents required for these reviews include:
A financial reference from a bank or similar institution, where the account has been active for at least three years
Police Clearance Certificate if the individual is not Caymanian, a Permanent Resident or has not been resident in the Cayman Islands for the past five years
Copy of the individual’s passport, on the picture page
Proof of citizenship for Caymanians
The Cayman Islands is a great location to do business due to the Islands’ tax neutrality and modern infrastructure, and opportunities to achieve a compelling life-work balance in this friendly and marine-rich multicultural community.
While the Dart Real Estate leasing team can always assist business owners and leaders in finding office space, they can also help by making introductions to service providers who can assist in guiding business owners through the process of obtaining their Trade & Business Licence (if required). Contact the team at [email protected].
About the author Florence Allan is a Dart Scholar and a returning intern with Dart’s business development team. She has joined various teams in Dart each summer since 2017, and before this she was a student at Cayman Prep & High School, spending her free time training for the Olympics, where she represented the Cayman Islands in sailing. While born in Scotland, Florence moved to Cayman at just six weeks old; her Scottish heritage and Caymanian upbringing offered her a truly multicultural childhood. For the past three years, Florence has been studying for her undergraduate degree in International Business Management at the University of Bristol, and she will be graduating by the end of summer 2020. Returning home for holidays is something Florence always looks forward to, as she misses her dog Archie when she is away and loves returning home to coach sailing to Cayman’s youth.