Best of a bad EU situation

| 10/06/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island Headline News, Cayman financial services(CNS): News from the Cayman Islands Government meetings in Brussels this week may not be quite as good as that from London but was described by McKeeva Bush as the “best of a bad situation”. Following his meeting with European Commissioner Michel Barnier (far left), the premier said he believed Cayman was already compliant with the requirements of the European Union’s Alternative Investment Fund Manager Directive (AIFMD) and he hoped the EU would be fair. He said there was work to be done on Tax Information Exchange Agreements and that Cayman needed a presence in the Belgian capital at the heart of Europe.

Thursday’s meeting concerned the forth coming implementation of a new European directive that will have an impact of the Cayman Islands hedge fund industry. Bush met with Barnier, the European Commissioner in Charge of Internal Market and Services, to discuss Cayman’s potential compliance with the initiative, which will introduce new requirements on funds based outside the Union in order to continue doing business with fund managers in the member states.

“I think we have got the best of a bad situation,” Bush said. “While this directive does impact the Cayman Islands, they have all promised, particularly Mr Barnier, a level playing field for these regulations. Obviously Mr Barnier understands what he is dealing with and he will be firm but fair. So this bodes well for the Cayman Islands.”
Bush said that Frank Engel, MEP for Luxemburg, and Syed Kamall, MEP from London, had been extremely helpful to the Cayman Islands.
“I believe that the Cayman Islands are already compliant with this directive and with our regulatory regime and the work of the private sector on this matter we will be able to ride this out,” Bush stated.
“What is evident is that Cayman getting on the blacklist has not helped us; and the recent signing of Tax Information Exchange Agreements puts us in good standing. We must now sign agreements with the relevant European countries. What is also evident is that the Cayman Islands must have representation in Brussels. I intend to make that happen by December,” he added.
Although Cayman recently announced it had retained the international law firm of Sidley Austin LLP to represent the islands’ interests in London, Washington and Brussels in connection with the financial services, it is believed that the premier hopes to establish a more permanent presence at the heart of Europe with a Cayman office.
The new EU directive has raised some concern in the financial services sector, with industry experts warning that it is not TIEAs that are necessarily the problem but the country’s Confidential Relationships (Preservation) Law, which has often been referred to as Cayman’s "secrecy law".
Earlier this year the attorney general called it “the bane of our existence since the 1970s” when he told the Legislative Assembly in February that a report had been submitted to Cabinet examining the most appropriate type of Data Protection Act to suit the jurisdiction that could replace the CRPL. Samuel Bulgin said at the time that the document would be discussed by Cabinet within two weeks, paving the way for draft legislation for a bill. Since that time there has been no further mention of any progress on the removal of the law.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone confirm the rumour that Mac and CG made a whirlwind trip from Brussels to South Africa for the opening of the World Cup, with complimentary tickets provided by CIFA?

    If true, that would certainly explain the urgency for setting up a meeting in Brussels.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The AIFM Directive is by no means a done deal yet. The final round of negotiations within the tortuous EU processes to agree the final document are set for July this year. Cayman is very unlikely to be more than an interested bystander, and must hope that the UK and industry professionals in Europe can minimise the more protectionist and ill-conceived provisions of the proposal, that will be to no-one’s benefit.

    The best news is that the Premier is committed to Cayman having "our man in Brussels". This is something that should have happened a long time ago, but better late than never.

    What is vital is that the appointee (male or female) has the ability to work effectively in the archane halls and corridors of power of the EU and thus to make a real difference in obtaining advance intelligence of EU thinking and action, in getting access to the key players and in influencing outcomes for and minimising damage to (and securing benefits for) the Cayman Islands.

    These are huge challenges but the right person can make a real difference for Cayman. And with the son of the EU Savings Directive coming down the pike soon, we need to have that person on the ground without much delay.

  3. Up In The Air says:

    Congratulations Sir on reaching 10,000,000 frequent flier miles.

    May I present you with our Super Duper, Extra Exclusive, Triple  Kryptonite Frequent Flier Club.

     

    • Dilemma says:

      And you people are complaining about Caymanians out of work.  What do you think will happen if the EU shuts down our hedge fund sector? the Premiers travels are justified; you dont get any way by sitting around looking up the sky and saying i don’t know bobo…you get out and do something. Kudos to Mac

    • Anonymous says:

       

      In line with your thinking, i suppose we could have dealt with this by sitting under a tree playing dominos and eating turtle meat……

      so sad that  the lot of you posting on here feels this way.

      Its like ya’ll think that the world revolves around us not the other way around.

  4. whodatis says:

    My main concern is that the EU, OECD etc. already know precisely what the situation will be 12 months from now.

    It is clear to the fearless and pragmatic observer that the rights of and to money, power and economic wealth in this western world are being carefully and coldly calculated and organised. Sadly, the age old method of supposed color / race / ethnic hierarchy is rearing its head once again.

    The color coded lists (White, Grey, Black) that have been paraded around are nothing but plays of entrapment – as we can see they have moved the goalpost yet again. It appears the color code is more than a simple play on words as the "in" club truly does appear to be whiter than white:

    – Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man (Offshore)

    – Exclusion and hypocritical criticism of the "PIGS" (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain) economies of the European Union. If they were being true to their definition then surely the acronym should have really been something along the lines of (PIGSUK) – no? (Oh no – are you MAD?! We are the British – how dare you suggest such a thing!)

    I have long told my southern European friends to be wary of their fickle EU glory. It is my observation that wherever Brits and Germans travel to in droves to enjoy contrasting weather, food, music and (life-inspiring) culture – those countries and its people need to remain on constant guard. I say this because they will never demand the respect and equal footing that is required to truly be partners. I don’t know why, butthis is the way it is – perhaps its just down to simple arrogance?

    I am guaranteed a substantial and dismissive backlash for my words here, but the facts speak for themselves. Many will be too shocked to accept this harsh reality, others too embarrassed for being exposed as secret and or perhaps sub-conscious supporters of such a system and most likely – the majority will be too "forward thinking" to even give a second to such a paranoid and primitive perspective. (I am quite sure that I am flying way over the heads of many as well – don’t worry, time will explain it all.)

    We all better wake up. It is clear for all to see how this western world works – especially Europe. These forces have never disappeared from the political arena – even within our beloved mother country e.g. Falkland Islands vs. Chagos Islands. (Someone will be happy this morning – inside joke.)

    As I always say – this world is round … nothing falls away over some imaginary cliff – gone forever. The forces that created the realities of this world are still at play. Sadly, many have convinced themselves that the now unspoken but psychologically accepted sentiments have inherently manifested themselves into the actual political and economic hierarchy of this world – failing to realize that all we see around us is by – historically overt, but currently covert – design.

    Bearing all of the above in mind – I wonder where the predominantly Black and Brown, comfortable, happy and free-spirited Caribbean nation of the Cayman Islands stands within the framework of the ultimate (EU) plan?

  5. Johnny Cake wid a cup of coffey(e) says:

    I will say nothing more about this now but this: Appoint Deborah Drummond to that position in Brussels.

    Let me tell you Mr. Bush, you want a Caymanian with the brains, insight, diplomatic skills and experience needed to pull a chair at the table then that lady should be high up on your list of nods.

    Mr. Bush you have an audience with Ms. Drummond and I am certain that you will discover that you have allowed a power house of knowledge, experinece and sheer fortitude to have been wasted at home for a year now. 

    I wonder if we can set aside politics and nepotism for better of country?

    I going stand ya now and watch and see how this plays out.  Come see wha crony gets this appointment ya now.

    Where is my maxwell house when I need her?

    • Anonymous says:

      Whoever it is will need to be able to speak and more importantly understand French if he/she is going to be able to master the intrigues of the massive EU elitocracy, heavily influenced by France.

  6. NightOwl says:

    Now una can disagree all una want but this is the truth,  Call him Dictator as much as una like, but he is tough to the bone.  Still pushing for Cayman with every breath he has.

  7. julieanne says:

    Well done Mac!

  8. Anonymous says:

    This directive has been in the public domain since April 2009. Nothing has been done other than hiring personal servants and collecting frequent flier points.

    Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man have negotiated to have their regulations accepted by the UK and EU states so they are in a much better situation than Cayman.  

    The EU Directive has nothing to do with Cayman’s CRPL legislation, although that probably needs to be removed for other reasons. CRPL is a complete red herring in relation to the Directive. Here is the document with the criteria. No mystery as to what needed to be done- just no comprehension and no action.

    http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/investment/docs/alternative_investments/fund_managers_proposal_en.pdf

    Don’t believe the spin and the excuses just look at the facts – they are in black and white and have been there fore a year. Somebody’s butt needs a kicking.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Way out of his depth and the water wings he brought along did not prove much use either.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wasn’t it former Attorney General Ballantyne who negotiated the first tax information exchange agreement? Regardless of what is believed about the man several people who knew him well acknowledge that he was a good negotiator and did a lot of good work of this nature for the Cayman Islands. Too bad what happened because we need someone with those skills just about now.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Already compliant???? Best of a bad situation???? The real issue is whether the Premier now understands either the reality of what has been in the works in the EU for the best part of a year, or what bad advice he has been getting in that regard?

  11. julieanne says:

    Now I am sure you would not have seen Kurt Tibbetts, shaking hands with the EU minister!

    :o)

    It just shows ya Bush’s resilience and drive of getting the "best out of a bad situation"! 

    He may be a dictator where no one can tell him anything, but he sure as hell is tough to the bone, and has that "push" and love for his country!  And oh yes… I don’t know about Kurt, but McKeeva knows how to make money and everybody knows from the Governor to the pauper that –  

    OUR PREMIER DON’T PLAY AROUND!  HE MEANS BUSINESS – that is why Cayman elected him instead of Kurt!

    • Anonymous says:

      Grinning at an EU Commissioner who is clearly not toopleased to be in the same room. Most of us who voted for McKeewa now recognise what a mistake that was and we realise that we likely have 3 more years to regret our foolishness. I don’t support any party – in fact I think parties have been a disaster – but I am sure that Kurt, Rollie, and Alden at least would have had the intelligence to understand what was going on. 

  12. Anonymous says:

    Can someone tell me why we did not have a representative from Cayman Finance at this meeting?

    • Anonymous says:

      Easy – no witnesses. Impartial observers tend to limit the content of press releases. 

      • Hmm... says:

        >>Impartial observers tend to limit the content of the press releases.<<

         

        Oh please– since when? And since when is that ilk impartial?

        No doubt they thought they had done the job already– using their expert knowledge of the industry and mad Oxbridge skills to carefully pick their way through the potential minefield of the ways in which Cayman may and may not be compliant.

        http://www.hedgefundsreview.com/hedge-funds-review/news/1636826/cayman-islands-defends-note-aifm-rapporteur  &nbsp;

        Yeah, I really wonder where the Premier got the idea that things were golden in this area.

        My new theory is that this letter-writing campaign is more a placebo to convince the local powers that be of their good intentions, than any belief that people who are just as well educated in this particular area of how the world works– and not dependent on them for a livelihood–  will suddenly have an epiphany about the integral role of the Cayman Islands in the global economy. The private sector then stays out of the limelight and leaves the civil servants, many of whom know better, to grimace their way through photo-opps like this one and the subsequent shredding of their professional reputations.

        Meanwhile Cayman does nothing to address certain key regulatory quandaries– the financial engineers fleeing the clampdown in developed countries realise that there is one more place they can go to make that last billion– and hey presto CayFin and certain friends with prime real estate and office space have made a mint facilitating this– which they will claim they were obligated to do to keep the country and its "spendthrift" public sector afloat.  Its win, win, win all round. 

         

        • Anonymous says:

          I agree, we don’t need all that finance stuff. After all the expats leave the 15,000 Caymanians left will have enough jobs left to all work in the Civil Service.

          After all, tourism will nosedive as crime spirals. So we can all farm on Cayman’s great expanses of arable land using all that cheap desalinated water for irrigation. Or we can all fish in the healthy oceans

          But hang on all those in the CS will no longer be employed either as the Gov will be broke with no fees, etc

          Whoa hang on may be it won’t be such a great place for our children without Finance in Cayman.

           

    • Anonymous says:

      Tony was skiing in Chile