This dot will fight back, says Richards
Finance Minister Bob Richards yesterday told a conference of insurers and reinsurance leaders that offshore jurisdictions — “the dots on the map” — had been under increasing attack and branded as tax havens.
But he added: “I'm here to tell you today that all the dots on the maps are not created equal. Speaking for this dot, Bermuda, we are not powerless, we are not guilty as charged and we will fight back.”
Mr Richards said that Bermuda was well-regulated and criminals or terrorist cash was not welcome — and that the Island was not a haven for them.
He added that Bermuda faced a threat from Europe and also a tax threat from the US regarding the convergence of the investment industry with the insurance industry.
Mr Richards told the Insurance Day Bermuda Summit at the Hamilton Princess: “A key plank in controlling the threat to Bermuda and Bermuda reinsurers from the US is for Bermuda to promptly respond to exchange of information tax treaty requests from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and to be seen by the IRS to do so.”
Mr Richards said Bermuda had signed tax information treaties with more than 80 countries and was set to gain further accreditation.
He told conference delegates: “The maintenance of Bermuda's good name — its brand — is critical. It's that brand that has attracted you to our shores.”
Mr Richards said that Bermuda had proved its worth after paying out billions of dollars in the wake of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, in 2005, which devastated New Orleans and Louisiana.
He added: “Our challenge is to is to differentiate ourselves from the other dots.
“The more we drive home that the insurance sector in Bermuda is not a stereotypical tax haven gimmick to key onshore decision makers, the less the threat from IRS and other tax authorities will be.”
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