Setting up a business in the easiest place in the world: A Q&A with lawyer Cline Glidden

November 24, 2020Blog

By Anna Wootton

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.

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