Mac cautious on fund data

| 19/07/2009

(CNS): As the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority begins to look at publishing more information online about hedge funds domiciled in the jurisdiction as part of its commitment to better regulation and transparency, the leader of government business has stated that, as there is no pressure from international standard setting bodies, the merits of the proposal should be considered before any decision is made. CIMA, however, said in a statement that it has a responsibility to constantly review the jurisdiction’s regulatory framework.

The proposed move has raised certain controversies among some members of the fund industry in Cayman as they believe publishing too much information could undermine Cayman’s competitive edge in its successful fund business.

McKeeva Bush told the press on Friday, 17 July, that he had been asked about CIMA’s proposals to publish data on the internet and noted his reservations.

“It is important for us to research carefully the pros and cons of this proposal to ensure that we meet any regulatory concerns while maintaining a competitive hedge funds industry at this crucial economic time,” Bush said, adding that he hoped the regulatory bodies and the industry would work together to strike the right balance. He said he was concerned that in the current economic climate it may not be in Cayman’s best interest to introduce this change given that it is not something that is being implemented in competing jurisdictions.

“Furthermore, as far as I am aware, there are no concerns or initiatives emanating from international standard setting bodies, which specifically focus on this issue. We should therefore carefully consider the merits of the proposed change,” he noted.

In a statement this week CIMA made it known that the idea of expanding the amount of information available on investment funds is just one issue the authority was considering under the umbrella of enhancing transparency. “The initiative is still in its early stages. We havehad some pre-consultation discussions with members of the sector and wider industry consultation will take place at the appropriate time.”

CIMA said it expected that, for any new measure, there will be mixed responses from stakeholders but there would be further opportunity for industry to have input as part of the formal consultation process before its recommendations were finalised and put to the board and the government.

It also noted its statutory obligations as a regulator and independent organization to maintain standards in the industry and to enhance market confidence, consumer protection, and the jurisdiction’s reputation and competitiveness while meeting relevant, appropriate international standards.

Bush acknowledged that his comments were only his personal views because it was up to the Monetary Authority board as an independent regulatory body, to consider the merits of any proposal. “However I felt that as the Minister with responsibility for the general development of the financial services industry, it was important for me to make this brief statement on this topical issue,” he said at Friday’s press briefing.

CIMA said that last summer’s financial crisis prompted itto undertake a review of regulated sectors and regulatory standards and after assessing recommendations made by various regulatory, standard setting, and economic bodies’ aspects identified as playing a key role in the proper functioning of the financial system liquidity standards for financial entities, risk management, failure resolution systems, and transparency.

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