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Cox: Bermuda needs a third economic pillar

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Bermuda needs to build another pillar to its economy in order to adapt to a changing global market, according to Premier and Finance Minister Paula Cox.

Ms Cox, who was the keynote speaker at the 2011 American Central Securities Depositories Association General Assembly held at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess yesterday, said that the recession had reset the world and that we were now in a “new normal” and it was time to take advantage of the new opportunities for economic growth.

The Premier said that while international business and tourism were still the two main pillars of Bermuda's economy, another pillar needed to be added to form a real “Bermuda triangle”.

Talking on the theme of risk, reward and leadership, the Premier acknowledged that Bermuda like the rest of the world had to deal with a tough economic environment, particularly in terms of job creation, and Government was looking at ways to strengthen ties with business, boost services and revenues, improve its tourism model and to encourage foreign investment.

Citing an African proverb, she said: “When the music changes, so does the dance.”

She continued: “We all know that the music has changed and it will continue to do so and we have to learn some new steps to the dance.”

Ms Cox said that the 23 tax information exchange agreements and one double tax agreement Bermuda had signed with other countries, including all the Group of Seven, were not merely pieces of paper, but supported economic activity and in some cases has served as a stimulus and had opened up new avenues beyond their initially intended uses.

She said that while there were a number of solutions to some of the biggest challenges faced by the international community, there was no one silver bullet to solve everything. However she added that there was some light at the end of tunnel.

“The recession has given us a rare moment of opportunity and one that we would do well not to spurn,” she said.

The Premier said that the public and private sectors and philanthropic bodies all needed to come together to work and to forge some new partnerships and renew existing ones.

She said that everything involved an element of risk and that Bermuda was at the forefront of the re/insurance and risk management world, with the disaster in Japan an example of the Island's insurers coverage will help in the recovery.

“It is more than that - it plays to the potential for growth for those who are prepared to take a risk in getting it wrong and engage in new partnerships and the business leaders who are able to see that potential for business opportunities,” she said.

Ms Cox said that Government had been getting the Bermuda message out about the role its market plays, of which the support from the service providers such as the banking, legal, investment, accounting and fund management services, as well as the Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX) was pivotal to the Island's reputation and future growth.

Referring to the “music changing”, she cited a number of rogue traders and con artists who had been exposed for their activities in recent years to highlight the need for effective oversight and “intelligent” regulation in providing a greater transparency and accountability in the financial services sector.

The event, which was hosted by the Bermuda Stock Exchange and the American Central Securities Depositories Association, was attended by around 70 people from 24 different countries and continues today.

Photo by Glenn Tucker Third pillar needed: Premier Paula Cox speaks at the Americas Central Securities Depositories Association General Assembly at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess yesterday
Photo by Glenn Tucker International audience: Delegates pictured at the Americas Central Securities Depositories Association General Assembly yesterday

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Published March 25, 2011 at 9:00 am (Updated March 25, 2011 at 9:54 am)

Cox: Bermuda needs a third economic pillar

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