Be careful what we wish for

| 15/02/2009

We should be careful what we wish for in any calls for more regulation come what may. Cayman has over the past four plus decades charted a very intelligent and nuanced approach to the development of its financial services industry.

The resulting success is clear for all to see, not least of all to our international detractors, our competitors and those who envy the per capita GDP of the Islands that timeonce forgot.

Times are always changing (pace Mr. Dylan) and our regulatory regime and our financial services industry must continuously evolve. But in the face of the inevitable hysteria and finger pointing by those in the US, UK and Europe trying to deflect the blame from their own policy and regulatory failures, we should remember that our domestic financial services industry has proved resilient and that our offshore industry has not itself been the centre of significant frauds, malfeasance and the like produced by the global meltdown. To the contrary, a small number of our funds have themselves been the victims of fraud committed elsewhere, to-date principally in the USA by those supposedly regulated by the SEC.

We should therefore continue to take a mature, measured and cautious approach to any new legislation and regulation and continue the practice of  a full 360 analysis and consultation to ensure any new moves are appropriate to Cayman, are proportional and balanced, meet the cost-benefit test and do not prejudice (and preferably enhance) our competitive position.

We should also participate actively in the planned global colleges of supervisors better to coordinate cross border oversight and assistance. And the Government and the Monetary Authority (CIMA) must continue to be robust and not concede the game to those who would put us out of business for improper reasons.

Where we can and must do better is in the enforcement of the many laws we already have on the books to deter and punish transgressors promptly and effectively. It is naïve to think that Cayman can avoid any risk of abuse (the only way to do that is to shut down entirely). So we have to demonstrate we perform on the backend clean up.  I believe that the necessary commitment exists on the part of the front line agencies, CIMA and the Financial Crimes Unit of the RCIPS (FCU). But they need greatly increased resources.

So rather than calling for new laws and regulation, we should be calling loudly for more resources for CIMA and the FCU to enable them to meet these challenges. 

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Category: Viewpoint

Comments (2)

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  1. Tim Ridley says:

     

    The above comment about the "backend" raises a number of issues that I feel should be addressed.

    First, unfortunately, history tells us that the global financial crisis will result in more not less work for the regulators and law enforcement.

    Secondly, CIMA currently has a staff of 140 dedicated and hard working personnel. 107 of those are Caymanians, i.e. over 76%. All of the current senior management team (except in the insurance division), including the Managing Director, are Caymanian. Further, the entire compliance (enforcement) and legal teams are Caymanian.

    Thirdly, to my personal knowledge, CIMA has longstanding and successful programmes to provide and encourage education, training and career opportunities and advancement for Caymanians.  

  2. Anonymous says:

    THe back end he says, how trite.  One would assume that with the shrinkage of teh World economy, we would habve less fro CIMA and FCU to work on.  Therefore, why the need fro more costly expat staff.