By Denise Gower, Fountainhead
Some people never tire of watching the same old TV re-runs. Personally, I love Harry Potter movies and I confess to having watched each of them scores of times. There is just something mind-numbingly comforting about the familiarity of these wonderful fairy tales of witches and wizards and the search for truth, that I just can’t resist them when I am tired and need a mental break.
I think the same must be true for those who keep trying to re-run the story about the offshore ‘redomiciliation trend’. Yawn. We have heard this many, many times before and each time, we go back to the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and ask them to provide the statistics again. We are lucky to have such an obliging regulator, because they always come back with the goods.
Recently, there was a lot of ink spilled about the move of a MetLife decision to move a captive from Cayman to Connecticut, Delaware and Missouri apparently due to pressure from the New York Department of Financial Services, who has claimed that there will be “greater transparency and oversight at MetLife” due to the move.
Now this is an interesting comment, because there is really no transparency for companies registered in Delaware – to the point where they don’t even collect the information of beneficial owners of Delaware companies, so couldn’t share the information if they wanted to. I fail to see how this translates into greater transparency and oversight. Perhaps some more homework is required of the New York DFS as they would realise that the regulatory infrastructure in Cayman is robust and is well-recognised by international regulatory bodies (OECD, IMF, CFATF) and has passed with flying colours other third party tests such as the study conducted by Professor Jason Sharman. Now that is some interesting reading.
But the main point that the media so happily picked up on (again, because this is familiar territory) is that this is somehow ‘a trend’.
These are the numbers directly from CIMA:
Redomestications into Cayman: 0
Leaving Cayman: 0
Redomestications into Cayman: 5
Leaving Cayman: 2
Redomestications into Cayman: 2
Leaving Cayman: 1
Gordon Rowell (Head of Insurance Division at CIMA) so astutely sums it up when he said: “the report is simply misleading as the results are the opposite”.
Well, I couldn’t have said it any better than that.
I do look forward to the day (and I know that the rest of my colleagues in the Cayman Islands will agree with me on this) when politicians with agendas and lazy journalists find some other pet story to run again and again.
I highly recommend Harry Potter for some fun, mindless and harmless entertainment.