Abic: Bermuda needs to be seen as a place where capital goes to grow, not to hide
Bermuda needs to “shatter the misconception” that it is a place where capital “goes to hide” and reposition itself as a place where capital goes to grow, an international companies leader said yesterday.
Patrick Tannock, the chairman of the Association of Bermuda International Companies, said Bermuda needed to plan now on how to emerge stronger from the pandemic by reinforcing its value to the world as an exceptional place to develop business opportunity.
He told the Abic annual general meeting that a unified effort was needed to meet the demands of a changed world by focusing on Bermuda as the best place to put capital to work.
He said: “The work to reposition ourselves to ensure our relevancy must ramp up now.
“As we look ahead to the new realities of the post-pandemic world, we must clarify our value proposition as a jurisdiction by refreshing our brand to shatter the misconception that Bermuda is a place where capital comes to hide.
“The reality is that this is a place where we put capital to work.”
He added: The hard evidence is the hundreds of billions of dollars the Bermuda re/insurance market has paid out to cedants around the world in their times of greatest need: $209.6 billion to US cedants alone between 2016 and 2020 for large catastrophes, property and casualty losses, and life insurance claims.”
He said it will be even more critical for all relevant stakeholders to work together and relentlessly focus on ensuring that Bermuda is internationally cost-competitive in order to sustain our position.
“Make no mistake about it, the economic recovery will be challenging. Bermuda needs the business and tourist visitors to return.
“The whole of our hospitality sector — hotels, restaurants, taxi drivers, etc — has been disrupted and, collectively, we will need to take an innovative approach to recover.
“On the premise that political, social, and economic stability are critical to our sustainability as an international business jurisdiction, our recovery has to be interconnected.
“In Bermuda we have access to some of the top intellectual capital on the planet, talent that has consistently shown a willingness and desire to work collaboratively with Government to provide solutions.
“We all have a role to play to mitigate the impact on our economy and put us on a path to economic renewal.”
Mr Tannock said Aibic, together with Bermuda international insurance associations and the Ministry of Finance, had been working together on the OECD Global Anti-Base Erosion Proposal Pillar 2, which proposes a global minimum tax rate.
The organisations have worked as a committee to develop and support Bermuda’s position and technical arguments.
He said focus areas for continuing talks with Government in 2022 will include this and ways to minimise bureaucracy in the interest of improving Bermuda’s competitive edge on speed to market and ensuring that high-quality intellectual capital can be attracted, retained and developed on the island.
Also expected are ways to ramp up work on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) to move on from awareness-raising to the development and execution of strategy to increase DEI in Bermuda’s international business workforce.
This includes ensuring more education and more career access to Bermudians from all backgrounds.
Also the CEO of AXA XL insurance operations, Mr Tannock said: “To remain competitive, Bermuda must provide an environment in which international business gets what it needs to thrive.
“Likewise we in international business must be respectful of Bermuda’s culture as well as the aspirations and values of Bermuda’s people. We are all in this together.”
Mr Tannock said competitive assets include the willingness of Government, industry and the regulator to work together, and that must be nurtured and not taken for granted
He said Abic is encouraged by the government commitment to a climate plan.
He said: “The island has a real opportunity to become a thought leader in climate change and to reposition itself as the climate-risk finance capital of the world.
“Bermuda's been doing things that lead the world on climate change for a couple of centuries. We catch all our water from the rain. We passed legislation hundreds of years ago to conserve the environment.
“Today, we have intellectual heavyweights in insurance and reinsurance who are already global leaders in catastrophe risk management. If we become the climate-risk financing capital, it would lead to a new revenue stream and local jobs.”