Bermuda’s appeal to fund managers growing
Bermuda has made “great strides” in improving its attractiveness as a base for fund managers. That is the view of Jeffrey Short, a partner with professional services firm EY, who believes the Island has built a more compelling case as a potential home for asset-management businesses in recent years.
He was speaking after last week’s EY Global Hedge Fund Symposium in Bermuda, held at HSBC Bermuda’s Harbourview Building and attended by 140 financial-services industry professionals.
Mr Short said the Cayman Islands had been a clear favourite for fund managers, until recently. Bermuda had been so focused on insurance that the asset management industry had not been given the attention it warranted, he added.
“Over the last two years, Bermuda has made great strides,” said Mr Short, who is EY’s wealth and asset management leader for Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands.
“It’s common now to hear Bermuda mentioned in discussions about where to set up a vehicle.
“They’ve done great things with the regulations and also allowing the new law firm entrants to come here is attractive to asset managers.
“The industry is working together to reinvigorate the asset-management industry and so Bermuda has become part of the discussion.”
EY Bermuda partner Jessel Mendes assists the Bermuda Business Development Agency on asset management promotion. He agreed that the new law firms would be good for business and that the insurance-linked securities (ILS) boom had already brought a significant boost for Bermuda’s asset-management sector.
“Bringing in the global brand-name law firms gives the jurisdiction great exposure,” Mr Mendes said.
“It will improve the quality of the Bermuda product and the relationships they have will help to bring more business to the Island. The new firms will bring opportunities and the entire legal industry will benefit from that,” he added.
Bermuda has emerged as the global leader in ILS over the past five years and this had already attracted asset managers, Mr Mendes said. “ILS is still young and evolving and it has a lot of potential to grow. It gives asset managers and investors options that are not correlated with the financial markets.
“The asset-management sector has grown with ILS. We’ve seen some of the big funds setting up reinsurance vehicles here and we’ve seen some asset managers launching funds with insurance-related strategies.
“We’ve also seen some of the reinsurers setting up their own ILS divisions and all of this is creating work for service providers in the asset management industry.”
Bermuda had been seriously promoting itself as an asset management jurisdiction over the past two years, helped by changes made to investment laws that made it easier for asset managers to establish themselves on the Island, Mr Mendes said.
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