UK Brexit return for Hiscox? No, says firm
The former chairman of Bermuda-based insurance giant Hiscox said the firm could move back to London if the UK votes to quit the European Union.
Robert Hiscox, who chaired the firm for 43 years until 2013 and is now honorary chairman, told the UK's Press Association the company had moved from London to Bermuda a decade ago because of the British tax and regulatory regime under the then-Labour government and the EU.
Mr Hiscox said: “We don't want to bring it back while we're in the EU. If we leave, then it depends on the domestic regime whether we come back or not, but it's possible.”
He added, however: “But we love being in Bermuda. It's a useful place. It's close to the US where we do a lot of business and it makes us feel international. It's not just a tax dodge.”
Jeremy Pinchin, the CEO of Hiscox Bermuda and Hiscox Re, yesterday distanced the company from Mr Hiscox's statements on Brexit — and reaffirmed the firm's commitment to the island.
Mr Pinchin said: “Robert is honorary president of Hiscox. While he is a major shareholder, he is not on the board of Hiscox.
“The issue of leaving Bermuda domicile, whether Britain leaves the EU or not, is not on the board agenda and we remain committed to Bermuda.”
Mr Hiscox also launched an attack on David Cameron, the Prime Minister, and his “corrupt” campaign to remain an EU member and accused the British Treasury, the finance arm of government, which released a paper predicting a massive recession if Britain voted to exit the EU, of putting out “illegal propaganda”.
Mr Hiscox said: “The part the government has played in this debate is astonishing.
“Their corrupt statements and illegal propaganda pouring out is something to behold, especially the Treasury document.”
Mr Hiscox's comments echoed those of former Conservative Chancellors of the Exchequer, the equivalent of Finance Minister, Nigel Lawson and Norman Lamont, who are now members of the House of Lords and part of a major split in their party over the EU.
Mr Hiscox added that major City of London institutions that had come out in favour of continued membership of the EU were an elite motivated by their own interests.
He said: “All the experts coming out for ‘Remain' are all part of the elite, from Goldman Sachs downwards. They've all bought into it. It's in their own self-interest.
“I'm astonished when I meet people from ‘Remain'. I'll never understand why they want, in a global race, to tie the UK to 27 other countries, some of which have no legs.
“Why do we want to have millions of rules delivered by an unelected tyrannical elite in Brussels?”
Mr Hiscox was one of 300 business leaders to sign an open letter calling for the UK to leave the EU.
Mr Hiscox now runs a bookshop in Marlborough in the English county of Wiltshire.
For a full analysis of what Brexit could mean for Bermuda, see The Bottom Line magazine, free with yesterday's edition of The Royal Gazette.