Latin America business potential for Island
Bermuda’s business chiefs will be out in force at next month’s World Captive Forum.
The event, to be held in Florida, will include several speakers from Bermuda including lawyers, regulators and business leaders.
And Bermuda delegates will use the event to try and bring new business to Bermuda, especially from Latin America.
Brian Quinn, founding director and owner of Granite Management, will discuss the use of captives to control healthcare costs.
Granite is a captive management expert and international employee benefit consulting company.
The firm specialises in the reinsurance and/or financing of international employee benefit programmes aimed at reducing the cost for companies.
Mr Quinn said: “I will be talking about employee benefits and using a captive to effectively manage employee benefits.
“We specialise in employee benefits and to meet clients, and people I have done work with are there [at the forum] as well, so it’s good for us.”
Mr Quinn said the forum’s location in Boca Raton, Florida, plus its 25 year history, meant it attracted a large number of delegates from the potentially lucrative Latin American region.
He said: “It’s a world captive forum and there is a big Latin American presence — a lot of companies go for the Latin American business.
“It’s a good conference and very focused.”
Eduardo Fox, an economist at legal firm Appleby, will feature on a panel discussion looking at growth and challenges in the Latin American captive market.
Mr Fox said that there had been “exponential growth” in business from Latin America since 2000 when Bermuda started negotiations to sign a tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) with Mexico — the first agreement between an offshore jurisdiction and a Latin American nation.
He added: “That opened the door to an enhanced reputation for Bermuda and increased the interest Mexico and other countries in Latin America have in Bermuda. We are perhaps the most trusted offshore jurisdiction in Latin America.”
Mr Fox said that the TIEA with Mexico had been followed by others with Colombia and Argentina.
“They do not consider Bermuda a preferential tax regime — a tax haven.”
Mr Fox said Bermuda had made inroads into the Latin America market.
“We started to scratch the surface as of 2000. We now have some of the largest companies in Latin America represented in Bermuda and we have captives represented in Bermuda.
“And we have others brewing. By the end of January we will have another four or five.
Mr Fox said Bermuda had also set up the first captive from Peru.
He added: “One company, which will be setting up in Bermuda, the original contact was made at last year’s conference.
“We are now working on that very large company which is very influential in that area. We should be able to access not only their clients, but smaller companies because they all talk to each other.
“We have gone out of our way to accommodate them, and I’m sure that message will be passed on.”
Mr Fox said: “Colombia is our most dynamic country at the moment, but Mexico is now starting to catch up and it’s a much larger market than Colombia.”
And he added that once the TIEA signed with Brazil comes into effect “we will enjoy the same advantages we have with Colombia, Mexico and Argentina.”
Shelby Weldon, director of licensing and authorisation at the Bermuda Monetary Authority, will field questions about regulations on a special panel.
He said: “The WCF has evolved over 25 years, attracting those who want to know more about captive solutions to those already in the business who want to keep their finger on the pulse of emerging risks in the marketplace.
“There’s been increased interest in, and attendance at, recent conferences from Latin American companies seeking to learn more about the captive solutions Bermuda has to offer.
“Latin America is seen as a region which presents growth opportunities for the Bermuda captive market and provides a good opportunity to tell the Bermuda story to the Latin American decision makers.
“Overall, the WCF has served as a good base for Bermuda to showcase its expertise as the largest captive domicile in the world.”
The World Captive Forum features delegates from all over the world, including Europe, North America and Latin America.
Mr Fox said: “It’s a very international conference and a very important one. We will be meeting some of the influencers in Latin America. They actually like to help Bermuda, they like Bermuda and some of them are even clients of Bermuda.”
Other Bermuda speakers at the forum include Michael Woodroffe, of independent insurance and reinsurance intermediary Kirkway International.
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