Travers takes on European parliament

| 12/05/2010

(CNS): The chair of Cayman Finance has turned his attention to MEP Jean-Paul Gauzes, the man leading the debate in the European parliament, regarding the latest proposed clampdown on the offshore fund industry. In an open letter Anthony Travers suggests the French MEP may misunderstand “the nature of the transparency which exists in relation to the Cayman Islands hedge funds industry” and points out the desire to help establish a regime that would enable European Union fund managers to continue to benefiting from investment in Cayman. Recent press reports have quoted Gauzes as stating that Cayman has a lot of work to do if it wants to avoid being blacklisted in connection with the new legislation aimed at the fund sector.

The proposed Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive will make it harder for offshore funds to raise money from EU investors as they would be prevented from sending money to countries that fail to meet strict criteria set out by the EU politicians.
In his letter in defence of the sector, Travers points out that Cayman has full IOSCO membership and regulator to regulator disclosure, and that under the European Union Saving Directive which Cayman signed in 2003 it opted for full pro-active tax reporting for all European Union residents. He further notes that Cayman has a number of TIEAs with European Union jurisdictions and, among other things, that anti money laundering legislation in Cayman is evaluated  by the International Monetary Fund and by the Financial Action Task Force and is found  to be superior to that of most EU jurisdictions when evaluated in relation to the Vienna principles.
Travers tells the MEP that the Cayman Islands financial services industry operates to access and pool funds from the international capital markets and directs those funds into investment opportunities in G20 jurisdictions.  “The Cayman Islands industry would welcome any opportunity to establish with you a regime thatwould enable European Union based fund managers to continue to benefit from investment by Cayman Islands investment vehicles,” Travers wrote.
Plans to set stricter regulation for hedge funds and private equity firms have not yet come to fruition after EU lawmakers pushed back a vote last week when the European parliament was unable to resolve the differences that exist among members about the new legislation, as well opposition from leading politicians and lobby groups in the UK and US. The vote is now set to take place on May 17.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    Cayman Net News is reporting that Mr. Travers also offered support for the Premier in his rant against Freedom of the Press. Is that also the position of Cayman Finance? Timing is everything with these press releases isn’t it.

    • Denise Gower, Head of Marketing, Cayman Finance says:

      If you read the Net News article again, you will see that Mr. Travers’ comments were unrelated to the Freedom of Information Act and were restricted to the desirability of anonymous comment.  He was saying that freedom of speech is based on the principle of attributable comment.


  2. Denise Gower, Head of Marketing, Cayman Finance says:

    There is no question that the public rebuttal of all misstatements concerning Cayman’s financial services industry is the proper function of Cayman Finance.  The effect of these rebuttals will depend on the circumstances case by case.  On the issue of this Directive, the matter is one of internal EU politics, but the best positioning for the fund industry, regardless of the outcome, has already been the subject of advanced discussion by the Board of Cayman Finance.

    However, no one pretends that Cayman controls or necessarily effects the outcome of the macro shifts.  We simply make our points – loudly.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Mr Travers has every right to speak for the private organisation he represents, just as the head of the Pink Ladies organisation may speak for that organisation. That being said, it is entirely unclear that the EU Parliament would consider the views of either on this matter worth a nano-second of consideration.

    There may be a "feel good factor" in press releases of this type and I understand the desire of some to tilt at windmills when no other alternative seems available, but realism also has its place. The EU and its member states are endeavouring to force fund activity back within the EU. The legislation is expressly designed to disadvantage funds domiciled outside of the EU for that reason.  They hate the fact that Cayman provides domicile to the majority of funds sold in Europe.

    Tony does not speak for government and does not claim to from anything I have read. I suspect that the Minister responsible for our government’s position on these matters has no clue what is going on, has removed everybody in the civil service who did understand what is going on, and probably still thinks that his great friends at the OECD are looking after things for him. Until there is a change in personnel in that Ministerial post I for one am glad that government is offering no (horribly embarrassing) comment. This is probably one occasioin when the Minister’s silence is golden.

  4. Anonymous says:

    XXXXX The supporters on here some very ill informed individuals. Do you all really believe Travers is doing anything other than causing more harm than good? Do you really believe he has the power, or the industry for that matter, has the power to influence the EU or even the UK Parliamentarians?  Please grow up. Here we are in a country of 15K voters and a population of 55K and we cannot get our elected members to make one sensible decision and yet you all hold onto this little carrot hoping it is real. Follow the path of all previously signed agreements and take a look around the next corner, you may see what I see, the end of the financial industry as we know it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design. It was I who allowed these juridictions to know the location of the shield generator. Our funds are quite safe from your pitiful little band. An entire legion of my best troops awaits them.

    Your fleet is lost, and your friends on the Endor moon will not survive. Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station!

  6. Right ya so says:

    Thanks Tony!

  7. TennisAce says:

     The fact that Mr.  Travers feels it necessary to speak out on behalf of the entire Cayman financial industry says as much about his commitment to this country as much as it says about his commitment to the financial services sector.   Perhaps what is needed in the Legislative Assembly is have 2 arms of government.  We should have the elected politicians who deal with the day to day issues and who speak for the Cayman Islands and we should have policy advisers, those persons who advise the Government on policy measures.  Most of the politicians that we have in the LA are not businessmen and women.  They are not versed in international communications and international law.  Cayman has a lot of expatriates as well as Caymanians who may not want to be involved in politics but who would like to see the country be successful.  It would be good if the Government could tap into these resources and have these people offer advice to government on the international laws and regulations that seem to be passed every minute of every day and which are usually to the detriment of the Cayman Islands.  There are a lot of retired business persons who the government could recruit to give advice.   At the end of the day the only beneficiary is the Cayman Islands and when Cayman prospers we all prosper. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    Cayman Finance needs to be dealing with internal issues and global issues.  It needs to deal with any issue that affects the financial services industry. 

    And that is not why we have boards.  Boards implement policy.  Travers is the only person I have heard who is analysing the financial services industry and predicting what it needs to develop.  If that involves spelling out proposals for immigration, so be it.  He should do so.  Somebody with the relevant industry understanding needs to.

    And remind me how any of the is benefits Travers?  His salary from Cayman Finance is how much?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Tony Travers is speaking for the private sector – and we should be so thankful that the private sector has develped and supported an organisation that is nimble and knowledgeable enough to make these kinds of proactive statements. 

    As far as I have seen, he has never put himself out as speaking for the CIG.  He has supported the Government many times in public statements, but does claim to be speaking on Government’s behalf.  Good thing, too – waiting for the CIG to come up with a letter to Mr. Gauzes would be akin to waiting for Godot. 

    I absolutely cannot understand why people excpect the Government to look after all marketing and public relations.  You end up then with the same lame duck as is the Department of Tourism who spend millions of dollars annually marketing Cayman usuing ridiculous mediums like the "Sponge Bob" debacle.  At least the private sector in financial services has ponied up and put their money and their efforts where their mouths are.  Co-operation with government is good if you can get it, but leaving it up to them is completely is foolhardy.  Nothing gets done and the wrongmessages delivered.

    Congratulations Tony and thank you for taking the initiative to tell Cayman’s side of the story.


  10. noname says:

     I fully support Mr. Travers in taking the lead in these financial matters as far as i am concern the persons we have including the Premier are seriously way out of their league in such matters and he is doing an excellent Job and we should be proud of him and like some suggested it is his own interest. well more power to him if Cayman benefits. In regards to immigration matters he needs to stay out of such matters even if it relates to business that’s why we have boards.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’d rather have Tony speak/debate for us with the EU than MacDinejad.

      Who would take Mac seriously? Have you heard his speeches?

      He’s an embarrassment at home and would be even worse off abroad.

  11. Anonymous Caymanian says:

    I might be running a big risk by asking this (seeing his popularity in recent months), but am I the only person that is becoming increasingly concerned about Anthony Travers’ unofficial position as the governments authority on finance matters?

    Don’t get me wrong, I think the man has contributed immensely to our financial industry in the past and presently…but don’t we now have an elected Finance Minister? Is it not the job of the Finance Minister to do what Anthony Travers is doing in this regard? Was Anthony Travers’ name on a ballot paper somewherein the Cayman Islands on May 20th, 2009? Did the Premier/Finance Minister designate these tasks to Mr. Travers?

    I’m not asking these questions just to cause a stir or to try to discredit the good that Mr. Travers has done for our finance industry, but to ascertain why it seems that we have an unelected Minister….


    • Banker says:

      What on earth does the Minister of Finance know about finance? Is this not the person who sat on the board of First Cayman Bank?

      However I do think we need a politician that understands finance and able to take these people on. Do we not have someone in the LA

      • Anonymous Caymanian says:

        "What on earth does the Minister of Finance know about finance? Is this not the person who sat on the board of First Cayman Bank?"


        THAT was exactly my point! Our Minister of Finance horded up the portfolio because it sounded  important/nice and meanwhile we don’t truely have a Minister of Finance. However, that does NOT mean that Mr. Travers should be the one handling these matters. The headline states "Travers takes on European Parliament", he has no authority to do so. He is NOT the Finance Minister, nor was he appointed as an official advisor/spokesperson on behalf of the Cayman Islands Government.

        • pauly cicero says:

          I am certain that Mr Travers is speaking in his capacity as Chairman of Cayman Finance and would not be so presumptious as to take the Minister’s schtick.

          • Anonymous Caymanian says:

            How do you gather that? Mr. Travers is speaking to the European parliament. Not some other financial body.


            • pauly cicero says:

              Travers is speaking to the body that proposes to enact policies that will adversely affect his clients. If the EP proposes policies that will adversely affect the CI gov then the Minister would certainly be inclined to respond.

      • Anonymous says:

        I would imagine Minister Anglin would be the most knowledable in the area of finance and he has represented these islands very well in the past.

    • Anon says:

      Because our Finance Minister is responsible for the government’s finances.  Tony Travers is responsible for the Finance industry – two totally separate issues – government sector and private sector.  Besides, God help us if any of our politicians ever attempted to deal with issues such as this when they have little to no real understanding of the (private)  Financial Sector that does so much to generate income for both the government and the people of Cayman (roughly 60% of our income flows from the Financial Sector last time I read-up on this.)

      • Anonymous says:

        They are not of course two totally separate issues but are obviously entertwined. Hence, it was the govt’s job to negotiate TIEAs which affect the financial industry. It was govt’s job for CIMA to become a full member of IOSCO but this is beneficial to the financial industry. In the same way as the Govt. has seen fit to instruct its own representation in Washington DC following Cayman Finance’s example.  Govt. must work with the private sector in these endeavours but must have its own voice.  

        • Anonymous says:

           Our government is highly incompetent at handling the simple matters it has before them as it is, and thus we should be thankful for Mr. Travers. Our private sector, whether we like it or not, is our most profitable industry and to leave it in the hands of a government that is unable to adequately and responsibly deal with social issues, budgeting, and are poorly versed in such matters would be a terrible mistake.

          The fact that we have men like Anthony Travers who are willing to put their reputations on the line for the sake of our economy is admirable enough, and I know for certain that I would prefer to have him speaking for our cause rather than our ‘leaders’ who are simply poorly educated on such matters. Economies are fragile, and whatever assistance that is offered to keep us afloat and to establish a good name for us on the international scene (because whether Caymanians like it our not, that is the community that sustains us) should be taken gratefully. 

          Once our government- especially our XXXXX – establishes the fact that they can control their own issues, then they can begin to have a voice in the matter, but as it stands at the moment, they have no place meddling in these delicate affairs.

          • Anonymous says:

            You seem to have missed the whole point of my post. They are not "meddling". It is a part of their job, albeit that they may not be adequately equipped to perform it on their own and require advice and assistance.   

      • Anonymous says:

        "Tony Travers is responsible for the Finance industry".  Interesting comment.  In most developed countries the government (i.e. the duly elected representatives) bears some responsibility for representing the Finance industry in international discussions and negotiations. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Our "Minister of Finance" is MacDinejad. Nuff said.


      Thank God for Tony.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are absolutely right in asking these serious questions Wed 05/12/2010 – 11:00. It is a grave concern for many in this community that Mr. Travers is being allowed to speak as if he is the elected official responsible for finance in this country. Many individuals within the industry also question the merits of some of what he states is necessary to remedy the ills of the industry at this time.

      • Anon says:

        Oh really?  Strange that my colleagues and I are in the industry and unaware of this – perhaps you could give something concrete to back up your suggestion that "Many individuals within the industry also question the merits of some of what he states is necessary to remedy the ills of the industry at this time."… because all I have heard is massive support – without Tony we’d surely have been doomed long ago.

      • Anonymous says:

        It sounds to me like you are saying that only Government has a right to speak out for any group of people – i.e. censorship and lack of a freedom of speech!

        Tony chairs an elected board that governs a paying membership.  He has been asked to be the spokesperson for that group because he is the most able and most qualified to do so.  You cannot possibly be suggestig that he be gagged and not allowed to express the views of the local industry.  How much control do you think Governement should have?  People who live in such repressive regimes make suicidal efforts to escape – sane people do not request such repression willingly.

        And to think that someone would suggest that Government have its own voice!  In what area has Government having its own voice ever worked?


  12. Anon says:

    Go on Anthony – dispelling the myths, as always, with Cayman’s best interests at heart.

    You’re doing a wondeful job.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Well done Travers.

    There was absolutely no need for Gauzes’ offhand remark singling out Cayman as a potential candidate for blacklisting – it was unsubstantiated and foolish.  This is exactly the type of thing that needs to be nipped in the bud.   In the past Cayman sat back politely and said nothing in response to these unfounded allegations and it is refreshing to see that industry is being proactive.





  14. noname says:

    Mr. Travers need to ask Mr. MEP Jean Paul Gauzes How the French Government’s new shipping/yacht registry called RIF is very similar to ours and is now trying to compete directly with our CI Shipping/yacht Registry.I understand that MACI has an office in Cannes France. How is their business going to be affected. This is a prime example of what European competitors are after an are using various unfair methods to achieve this.