House: business regulations approved
Legislation intended to update Bermuda’s international business regulations was approved by parliamentarians on Friday night.
The House of Assembly gave unanimous support to the Economic Substance Amendment (No 2) Act and the Investment Funds Amendment Act.
Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance, said the bills were aimed at bringing Bermuda in line with international standards.
Mr Dickinson said the Economic Substance Amendment Act is intended to level the playing field between Bermuda and other jurisdictions including the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.
He added the OECD had reviewed the legislation and that it was in line with the stated objectives of the European Union.
The Investment Funds Amendment Act is also intended to meet the requirements of the EU and OECD.
Mr Dickinson explained the Bill would enhance the regulatory regime for investment funds.
Leah Scott, the deputy Opposition leader, said Bermuda had been forced to play an expensive game of “whack a mole” with the EU in order to meet their standards.
She said the real intention of the EU was to shut down the island and questioned how long Bermuda would continue to try to meet the demands.
Ms Scott said: “The EU is trying to write our laws and we are letting them. First is EU substance, and then they will be writing tax laws and telling us we have to pay income tax.
“All they are trying to do is destroy us and put us out of business.”
Rolfe Commissiong, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher, said the idea of Bermuda “punching above its weight” had always been a misnomer as the larger countries had benefited from Bermuda all along.
And he said the increased pressure from the OECD and EU highlighted the importance of economic diversification.
He said: “We can moan and talk about the extra cost being imposed on us, but there has been a geopolitical shift and we need to do what we can to accommodate that shift.”
Mr Commissioning added that Brexit would probably only accelerate the actions of the EU against offshore jurisdictions like Bermuda.
The House also approved the Bermuda Monetary Authority Amendment Act and the Insurance (No 2) Amendment Act.
The BMA amendments set the regulatory framework to establish an “innovation hub” in Bermuda to help enable the development of innovative businesses to support of the operations of financial institutions.
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