Premier: Foreign investment critical for Island’s survival
Bermuda’s success in attracting a large number of insurance company incorporations in 2013 has continued into 2014, Premier Michael Dunkley told a meeting of captive and insurance professionals yesterday.
Premier Dunkley welcomed the executives who flew to the Island for the Bermuda Captive Conference, noting the “event serves as an excellent boost for our economy by generating significant revenue for our hospitality and business sectors”.
Speaking at the Mid Ocean Amphitheatre at the Fairmont Southampton Resort, he said that Bermuda must strategically position itself in other markets to be successful in the future.
The Premier said: “For more than 50 years, Bermuda has been at the forefront of global finance, and we have come a long way since our humble beginnings. Our business institutions are among the world’s best, and as a place to do business, Bermuda is still viewed as a destination with an excellent capacity for innovation with a very sophisticated business culture.
“Based on 2013 statistics shared by the Bermuda Monetary Authority, Bermuda closed out last year on a particularly high note with a significant number of new insurance company registrations. The stats indicated that 91 new insurers were registered, including 24 new captives and a record 51 special purpose insurers were formed, along with 16 commercial insurers.
“As the world’s leading provider of property catastrophe reinsurance and home to many of the top 40 global reinsurers, Bermuda continues to excel in global risk management, making us the jurisdiction of choice.”
The Premier referred to his Education and Economic Development Minister Grant Gibbons who recently reported that the increase in the number of new insurance company registrations in 2013 continued into the first quarter of 2014.
“In fact,” he said, “a snap shot reveals that new company incorporations, both local and international, for the first quarter of 2014 were 17 percent higher than in the first quarter of 2013.
“These results have helped in solidifying our position as the oldest and largest domicile for captive insurers. However, in this current economic climate, we understand that we cannot rest on our laurels.
“Over the past five-and-a-half years, since the global economic collapse Bermuda — along with other Governments around the world — has had to readjust the way we position our business models.
“And in the past five-and-a-half years, we have seen an increase in competition, with jurisdictions aggressively jockeying for precious business. With our financial services sector being the single largest contributor to Bermuda’s prosperity, this Government recognises the critical importance of nurturing and protecting our relationships with our industry partners — most particularly those of you in the captive sector.
“We understand that if Bermuda is to be successful then we will need to get fresh, new injections of business and capital into our economy. We view foreign direct inward investment as critical for the survival of our economy.”
Government last year established the Economic Development Committee, a cabinet level committee lead by the Premier and including key Cabinet Ministers.
He said: “Our mandate is to compress the time taken to obtain the necessary approvals to stimulate and encourage direct inward investment into our Island. We have had some significant success with the speeding up approvals required for a wide range of circumstances: from work permits to planning approvals to company formations.
“The speeding up of these procedures is aimed at breaking down the barriers that formerly impeded business. And the end results not only serve to increase our competitiveness, but they serve to stimulate our economy, which in turn facilitates job creation — and ultimately these elements ensure a successful Bermuda for all.”
Premier Dunkley said that as the demand for Bermuda companies to operate globally increases, so too does the need for the Government to do the same.
He added: “Complex markets require innovative domiciles and in today’s market it is even more important to choose experienced jurisdictions. Bermuda is indeed both an innovative and experienced domicile with a mature and fully integrated infrastructure that allows it to be a capital market leader.
“I feel quite confident that Bermuda is poised to succeed in the global arena despite increased competition in a fluctuating economic environment.”
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