Good afternoon everyone,

As you are aware, the British Prime Minister David Cameron has asked the Overseas Territories to attend a meeting in the U.K. next week and I have accepted that invitation.

A few weeks ago, I made a statement regarding Tax and Transparency in which I stated that while Prime Minister Cameron is keen to underscore Britain’s position on fighting tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance through tax information and exchange and access to information on beneficial ownership companies, Bermuda takes no issue with this initiative because Bermuda is already ahead of the curve.

We continue to keep abreast of developing standards.  As you know, for decades, Bermuda has required companies seeking to incorporate in Bermuda, to file beneficial ownership information with the Bermuda Monetary Authority.

We have also recently passed legislation to license all corporate Service Providers in Bermuda and bring them under the umbrella of the Proceeds of Crime Act that imposes the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standard on beneficial ownership.

Just over a month ago, the Minister of Finance, Bob Richards announced that after considerable consultation with the various industry stakeholders in Bermuda, and discussions with the US treasury officials,  the Bermuda Government has decided to negotiate and sign an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) Model 2 with the US,  and at the request of the UK government, a similar format will be negotiated and signed with them, which will further enforce Bermuda’s already enviable reputation as a jurisdiction  that has proactively paved the road for transparent and compliant business transactions.

According to the World Bank’s Governance Indicator Report, Bermuda is listed amongst the top ten percent.

I want to make it clear that attending the U.K. meeting provides Bermuda with another opportunity to articulate on a world stage that while we may all be British Overseas Territories, Bermuda is fundamentally different in how we conduct business.  Bermuda is a low Tax Jurisdiction – NOT a Tax Haven. 

I will also have the opportunity to have a private meeting with Prime Minister Cameron while in the U.K.  This new administration also has good working relationship with the UK Minister for the Overseas Territories, Mr. Mark Simmons, who I have met with several times. As a government, we will continue to be aggressive and look for opportunities to leverage these relationships and others for the benefit of Bermuda and Bermudians.

Thank you.