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Bermuda makes business connections in Miami

Bermuda delegation and Miami business connections: from the left, Joe Docal, of Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau; Michelle Wolfe, of Meritus Trust; Marlon Hill, of Hamilton Miller & Birthisel; Lydia Dickens, of the Ministry of Economic Development; Lynesha Lightbourne and Ross Webber of the BDA; and Frances Hassun, of Emerge Americas

Opening pathways for new business to come to Bermuda was the focus of three days of meetings and discussions in Florida.

And it was not solely about the potential from the US state, opportunities further afield, such as Latin America, were also on the radar for the Bermuda Business Development Agency delegation.

Ross Webber, chief executive officer of the BDA, is confident the outreach was worthwhile and well received.

He said there had been keen interest from major law firms in the region, and added: “One of the lawyers we saw has already given us extra introductions to other economic councils here, which proves the point that being present and being here and delivering a positive message helps open other doors.”

The delegation was not alone in its mission. As previously reported, David Burt accompanied the group on the first day and met the mayors of Miami and Miami Beach, along with other civic and business leaders including the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

The Premier spoke about the importance of cultivating business and political links with cities like Miami where Bermuda already has direct travel connections.

During the final two days of the trip the BDA met with a number of law firms, including Akerman, Holland & Knight, and Hamilton Miller & Birthisel.

Explaining why that was important, Mr Webber said: “The lawyers are often gatekeepers and very influential with jurisdictional decision making. It is very important that we get within their radar here.

“Miami is the gateway to Latin America. We are seeing much more interest in Latin America and we are solidifying relationships with the people who have jurisdictional influence.”

Mr Webber said the BDA was also continuing to raise familiarity with Bermuda “because there does remain some pockets of difficulty in differentiation between the international financial centres. Our presence here helps clarifies Bermuda’s unique, elite status”.

Part of that dialogue was to explain that the island is not on any blacklist. The meetings and talks also allowed for the full breadth and depth of service provision offered in Bermuda to be highlighted.

“We use this opportunity to talk about some of the new regulations and legislative developments that we have had in Bermuda.

“In particular the likes of the LLC legislation and some of the changes to our trust law regulations, as well as the development of our segregated account legislation.”

Private and family trust and insurance work, particularly in the captive space, were also discussed.

“There was also lots of interest in international arbitration being held in Bermuda as a very solid but neutral jurisdiction with a very good grasp of the rule of law and with recourse all the way to the Privy Council,” said Mr Webber.

“We talked a lot about our developments in fintech, insurtech and cryptocurrencies.”

Also in the Bermuda delegation was Lydia Dickens, from the Ministry of Economic Development and a BDA board member, Michelle Wolfe, managing partner at Meritus Trust, together with Lynesha Lightbourne and Rosemary Jones of the BDA.

Mr Webber said that to maximise value the team worked on multiple business strands.

“We met with the mayors, had business meeting with the legal gatekeepers, and also meetings with high-net-worth individuals who were here, particularly for Art Basel,” he said, referring to the international art fair held in Miami Beach each year.

During the meetings the issue of soon to be enacted changes to the US tax code were mentioned.

Mr Webber said: “There is concern, but also significant recognition that the vast majority of reinsurance companies are in Bermuda not just because of tax issues, but for the broader issues of regulation and access to the intellectual capital that has developed in Bermuda during the last 34 years.”