TUESDAY, APRIL 24: Business Development Minister Wayne Furbert told a packed audience in London today that Bermuda has the ability to adjust quickly in these economic times.
He made a comparison between the island and an eagle in giving the keynote address at the Business Bermuda Financial Services Conference at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park.
A business and trade delegation, led by Business Bermuda, concluded a successful 10-day trip which started in China.
At today’s conference, Bermuda’s key government members and industry leaders spoke at the London event which was attended by more than 260 leading lawyers, accountants and financial services executives.
The conference started with a breakfast panel on insurance and reinsurance with panellists including David Cash, CEO of Endurance, Janita Burke, partner at Appleby, Charles Collis, director at Conyers Dill & Pearman and Tim Leggett, partner at Ernst & Young.
The panel observed that the insurance and reinsurance industries are experiencing strong trading with new customers in emerging markets, whose economies continue to develop despite the slowdown in Western markets.
The breakfast was followed by an offshore pre-conference summit and panel discussion on Bermuda and offshore jurisdictions featuring: the Governor of Bermuda, Sir Richard Gozney, Bermuda Premier Paula Cox, Bermuda Monetary Authority CEO Jeremy Cox, Bermuda Stock Exchange president and CEO Greg Wojciechowski, Business Bermuda CEO Cheryl Packwood, and Richard Hay, partner of Stikeman Elliot London.
During the offshore pre-conference summit, Premier Cox spoke about Bermuda’s continued progress in making the island a credible and competitive jurisdiction. She referred to the Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) signed recently including the latest agreement signed with Italy and Malaysia on Monday, the enactment of Bermuda’s Amendment Act during 2011, the importance of credibility and Bermuda’s commitment to achieving Solvency II equivalence.
Premier Cox said: “Bermuda continues to update and improve its regulatory framework to withstand critical inspection, all with one thing in mind; credibility. Our investment in our regulatory infrastructure reinforces our global reputation and our appeal as a jurisdiction in which to do business.”
Minister Furbert highlighted the benefits of doing business in Bermuda, outlining the state of Bermuda's economy and emphasizing Bermuda’s standing compared to other jurisdictions.
He said: “This year's conference has been a resounding success, especially the calibre of attendees Bermuda has engaged with and the Bermudan businesses that have participated.
“The London visit has provided Bermuda with an improved insight into investor sentiment and demonstrated the need for Bermuda to promote itself aggressively internationally in order to increase its profile in the international business arena.”
Minister Furbert said Bermuda is open for business, and said the island was like an eagle.
“Bermuda and the eagle have many similar characteristics: strong determined, stable, the ability to adjust in flight, and a strong vision to see where it wants to go.”
In a packed and fast-paced itinerary, the breakfast and pre-conference summit sessions were followed by sessions discussing: Islamic Finance, Convergence, Trusts, Hedge Funds and Private Equity and Investments, Private Wealth, Capital Markets and Asset Financing before the event concluded with a drinks reception.
At the conference the Governor explained that his presence was almost unnecessary, due to the extent of Bermuda’s autonomy in financial matters. No other overseas territory has the freedom to borrow US$500 million in the capital markets of London and Bermuda.
Ms Packwood said: “This year’s event gives me the opportunity to highlight to London delegates the significant progress Bermuda has made in the twelve months since our last Conference here. In that time, we have updated and improved our company law and applied for Solvency II equivalence. We have also increased our number of Tax Information Exchange Agreements, signed around the world, to 34, including the most recent agreements with Italy and Malaysia.
“We continue to strengthen and deepen our relationships with international financial centres and remain focused on creating an attractive business environment built around a robust and sophisticated regulatory framework.”