Maples partner hits back at Guardian

| 09/09/2009

(CNS): The Cayman Islands is not a secretive tax haven, says Charles Jennings, the senior partner with Maples and Calder who has waded into the international debate with a post on the Guardian comments page in relation to the negative articles and editorials published in the paper last week. Jennings says that the paper’s assumption that Cayman is a "secretive tax haven" as a result of a lack of transparency is incorrect. "It has a transparent and properly regulated financial services industry,” Jennings writes.

The Maples partner and ‘tenant’ of Ugland House points to international reports published over the over the last 20 years indicating that Cayman has established itself as a leading financial centre for institutional and sophisticated international investors by encouraging the creation of a well-run and appropriately regulated financial services industry.

“Many banks here are branches of banks regulated in onshore jurisdictions under Basel II principles. Many Cayman hedge and private equity fund managers are regulated by the UK Financial Services Authority and many funds are listed on recognized stock exchanges. Multinational companies routinely disclose their overseas subsidiaries in their public annual reports. The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, which regulates financial services businesses, often co-operates with overseas regulators,” Jennings writes.

Noting the Guardian’s suggestion that British ministers should prevent Cayman from borrowing to build schools until it agrees automatic exchange of tax information with all countries, rich and poor, Jennings says that no G20 or OECD countries, including the UK, automatically exchange information with all countries.

“You give no credit to the fact that, since the adoption of the EU savings directive in 2005, banks have been required by Cayman law to automatically exchange information on EU residents’ accounts with the tax authorities of all 27 EU states,” Jennings comments.

He laments the paper’s failure to acknowledge that the Cayman Islands has had a tax information exchange agreement with the US since 2001, is now on the OECD "white list" for entering into the required number of tax information exchange agreements, is negotiating further tax information exchange agreements with other member states, and has introduced a unilateral mechanism for sharing tax-related information with other nations.

“To our knowledge, the Cayman Islands received no financial support from the UK to help with rebuilding after the devastating Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and has received no financial support to help develop its economy or build important infrastructure projects such as schools, roads, etc,” Jennings states. “Since the beginning of the global financial crisis, Cayman has not needed to bail out any banks nor to ask for financial assistance from Britain.”

He explained that the recent request is for consent to borrow funds already committed by commercial banks until government adjusts budgetary needs as a result of the unprecedented global crisis.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Anthony travers rules,mr jennings will never compete with him.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The statements made by CIFSA were no doubt essential in placating client concerns at the OECD listing process. Without robust comment no doubt transactions would have declined further. CIFSA have been solid and on message  throughout.  

  3. Anonymous says:

    It is truly sad that neither the egos attached to those paying for what is clearly a flawed PR campaign, nor the insecure inepts enlisted to provide PR spin to those seeking to revive lost glory, will tolerate any other person making a valuable contribution on Cayman’s behalf.

    I sincerely hope that Mr. Jennings and all other sensible persons who seek to advance Cayman’s cause will not be deterred by the drivel coming from those who clearly fear that well thought out media pieces will cast the poorly thought out public statements of publicity seekers in a deservedly poor light. 
  4. Anon E Mouse says:

    Why is anyone giving any credibility to the Guardian story?  Clearly their reporters are clueless imbeciles incapable of even the basic journalistic research. 

    Had they taken the time to read the statistics story on CNS at about the same time, they would have seen Cayman has a population of 2171 goats and over 14,000 households.

    Even if each house had only one goat, that is still only around 15% prevalence – hardly a majority even in the politically squewed Guardian minds…

    Clearly the "facts" that make up the rest of the story should be similarly questioned…

  5. Anonymous says:

    Well for someone who allegedly has the same Fire Aim problem as Mac the respected members of the media are very keen to give him airtime and newspaper space . Bloomberg TV for one doesnt do interviews with people who are not credible .

    In my mind I know who I would back in a live debate Tony Travers no question . He tells it like it is and you know what ….he is right on the money .

    I feel that there are a few people out there who feel intimidated by the tour de force that is Travers – what I’d say to them is get over it and stop the backstabbing and get behind him.


    • Anonymous says:

      I just wanted to point out a spelling error – undoubtedly the comment should have indicated a "tour de farce".

      • Anonymous says:

        I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion but to describe Mr Travers as a farce clearly shows how ignorant you are with regards global financial and legal matters .

        A little bit more respect is whats needed with regards what this man is doing – he doesnt need to be doing it , he is not paid for doing it – he is doing it because its the right thing to do .


  6. Anonymous says:

    Anthony Travers has been flying the flag for Cayman since this all started – love him or hate him he at least is listened to and widely respected amongst the worlds press and media . Its about time he was given the support of the cayman islands in some official capacity – everyone needs to stand up and be united expat and islander together – we need to speak with one authoritative voice.Mac does not have that and what is even more concerning e does recognise that Travers is his get out of jail card. 



    • Anonymous says:

      I agree that Mac and his highly paid advisors have demonstrated nothing but incompetence on the international scene. As regards Mr. T. perhaps you have forgotten his ill-considered statements to the international press regarding the "impotence" of the OECD and the fact that even his own PR firm indicated that his statements to the US media reflected the fact that there was no knowledge of things in the US. He now seems to have the same Fire Ready Aim problem that Mac has.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Its ridiculous to say that our financial community hasn’t stepped up to the plate on the PR front.  For the last six months the members of CIFSA (Cayman Islands Financial Services Authority) have financed a brilliantly managed PR campaign with two top international PR firms in Washington and London, working under the direction of Tony Travers. 

    They have demolished the cheap and nasty attacks levelled at the Capyman Islands from President Obama and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Indeed only a week ago Tony Travers gave interviews to Bloomberg and BBC News 24 which humiliated and ridiculed the offensive attack on CI by UK Government Minister Chris Bryant.

    As regards Mr Jenning’s late entry into the battle, a fat cheque to CIFSA and its PR teams would have much more effect than an article in the Guardian, a paper read by social workers, hippies and the great unwashed.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It’s a bit late in the day for Mr Jennings to get involved. His predecessor at Maples and Calder, Mr Anthony Travers, has been fighting the good fight on behalf of the Caymans for months now and, I may add, receiving nothing financially in return. Anyone who saw Mr Travers on Bloomberg ( and BBC 24 will realise that  he is our true international champion and is one of the few people who truly understands the twists and turns of the global marketplace. My colleagues and I have placed our trust in Mr Travers and the brilliant London and Washington advisors who have been retained by the Cayman Islands Financial Services Association.

    • Anonymous says:

      Brilliant advisors???? – I suspect that this comment is either completely tongue in cheek or was posted by some desperate person on Mr. T’s highly paid PR team hoping to have the contract renewed.

  9. Anonymous says:

      Jennings your effort is two years too late and a poor imitation . Nothing much changes ….




  10. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Mr. Jennings for responding to the Guardian article.  I am actually dissapointed at the lack of response to this article.  Yes the Government and the private Association and now Mr. Jennings and maybe a few others have responded.  However for something this big I would have expected that every single firm would send a letter, plus every high-profile individual associated with off-shore financial services should have sent a letter.

    History cannot be denied.  The financial services industry has made trillions of dollars in Cayman and the amount that has been placed by them into PR is miniscule by comparison.  The Government has had to do the bulk of the work in this area.  That being said, let’s not dwell on it, that is the past.  We are all on the same page now, so all Caymanians and expats alike, those of you who are experts when it comes to our financial services model, please follow Mr. Jennings and others and let’s fight back when we are attacked.


  11. Anonymous says:

    You couldn’t expect the government to be responsible for the PR on this when it was our very own LOGB, McKeeva Bush, that created this PR disaster in the first place in his misguided quest to discredit the PPM.

    The private sector had to come to the rescue to clean up the mess……but notwithstanding that, it is that same private sector and that same law firm in particular that wanted McKeeva back in power. I bet they’re regretting it now. He will destroy their industry before 2013 so they will just have to accept what they have created with their "big enough pocketbooks"  which financed the political campaign.

    They will spend the next 3 + yrs doing alot of PR because of McKeeva’s reckless and unintelligent statements so they had better budget for it in their law firm !!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Is it not supposed to be the responsibility of the government to defend ourselves when we’re attacked? I guess the notion of "public relation (PR)" here in Cayman will have to change for "private relation (pR)"!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Respond to a piece in the Guardian! The only thing I can think of that is a greater waste of time is trying to convince some of the posters on CNS that ex-pats don’t eat babies.

    The readership of the Guardian will never believe that the Cayman Islands are anything but money launderers for tax-dodging capitalists and arms dealers. Services to drug dealers and terrorists (for they are misunderstood groups), in their minds, are probably Cayman’s only redeeming feature.
    Here is the piece:  Read the comments to see what I mean.
  14. Anonymous says:

     Tony Travers is doing exactly what is required – he has nothing to gain unlike others from standing up and being counted 

  15. anon1 says:

    Thank you Mr. Jennings for joining the fight against misinformation that London is spreading against my beloved Cayman Islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      Excellent work Mr Jennings! You and others like you must keep pushing back against the ignorance of the likes of the Guardian and those with similar agendas.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Mr Jennings is to be commended for producing a much more measured and appropriate contribution than has been forthcoming from his former boss. Hopefully it is not too late for Mr T to learn. 

  17. da wa ya get says:

    Thank you for responding to that acrtice Mr. Jennings, especially seeing how neither the government nor opposition have chosen not to!

  18. Anon says:

    Sadly it seems all the fashion to bash the small finance centres as much as possible at the moment without really taking into account any inconvenient facts about the existance of tax information exchange agreements or acknowledge any of the history of co-operation between Cayman and other jurisdictions. Why bother to actually find out about our robust regulatory regime? It is far more fun to sound-off from a position of ignorance.

    Of course it was ignorance of the inconvenient facts in the housing and credit markets which led to the speculative bubble and subsequent collapse.