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IDC to merge with Business Bermuda

Two of the Island’s promotional groups on the front lines of attracting international business to Bermuda will be merged into one group.

This is according to Minister Wayne Furbert, Business Development and Tourism in his speech to the House yesterday.

Under the new name of the Business Development Corporation, Business Bermuda, the Insurance Development Council (IDC) and other relevant business agencies will merge.

“The purpose for the merge is to increase efficiency, economy of scale, more focus driven on business development and ways to grow existing international business,” said Minister Furbert, adding that the two organisations overlap in initiatives, including visiting the same conferences and issuing insurance newsletters.

A time frame was not given for when the merge would take place but it is understood that discussions have already begun.

In the Government’s Budget report announced in February, the IDC had close to 30 percent slashed from its budget, with their Government grant decreasing $700,000 to $500,000.

Business Bermuda had half a million dollars slashed from their budget, going from $2.5 million to $2 million.

The Budget also allotted $250,000 for a new group called Bermuda Investment Managers Assocation (BIMA).

The new Business Development Corporation will be funded with $800,000.

It is unclear what will happen to the individual budgets once the groups are merged.

“The IDC has been consulted regarding the enhanced model for the promotion of Bermuda by the Ministry of Business Development and Tourism, and we have been working with the Ministry towards this goal,” explained Allison Towlson, president of the IDC.

“The new entity that will ultimately be formed as the Bermuda Business Development Corporation is an important step in providing a unified platform from which strategic decisions on promotion of the island can made in consultation with all stakeholders.

“The IDC is excited about this new development, and that while we have work to do in making this model a reality, we are keen to be part of the process in driving needed change. This new platform will bring greater clarity, vision and resources to promoting the Bermuda insurance and reinsurance market.

“We are supportive and will continue to ensure that the best interests of Bermuda are considered throughout the process.”

In response to Minister Furbert’s announcement, Shadow Minister for Business Development and Tourism, Shawn Crockwell, raised concerns about the reduction in spending to attract international business to Bermuda.

“Why are we reducing when our competitors are getting more aggressive?” he questioned. “Cayman spent $3.3 million on marketing to attract business to their jurisdiction in 2011, Barbados spent $15 million, the BVI spent $8.9 million, Guernsey spent $8.28 million and Ireland spent $15.7 million and we spend $2.75 million? We aren’t even in the game.”

Calls to Business Bermuda for comment were not returned as of press time.

IDC president Allison Towlson

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Published March 15, 2012 at 2:00 am (Updated March 15, 2012 at 9:51 am)

IDC to merge with Business Bermuda

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