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News

Bermuda: One of the World's Premier Offshore Financial Centres

Industry News

The Island has long been regarded as an exceptionally well-regulated jurisdiction largely as a consequence of the oversight of the Bermuda Monetary Authority (“BMA”) which screens those individuals who wish to do business from or within the Island.

As a leading offshore centre, Bermuda has all the essential components necessary for a robust international business community. Some of the many advantages of doing business in Bermuda include its progressive regulatory regime, lower tax jurisdiction, its location, the wide availability of experienced service providers and the quality of life that is enjoyed on the Island.

PROGRESSIVE REGULATION

The BMA has sole responsibility for the regulation, supervision and inspection of financial institutions operating in or from within the jurisdiction. The BMA has developed a risk-based approach when supervising these financial institutions which allows them to concentrate their resources on those firms which pose the greatest risk. The BMA uses a common, core set of supervisory tools across all sectors of the business community for purposes of risk assessment. These tools include identifying risk impact groups and prioritization, fundamental monitoring, prudential visits, risk assessment models and enhanced monitoring via on-site programs. This risk-based approach has been endorsed by the International Monetary Fund as well as a number of varied international regulatory and standard setting bodies. The BMA is a leader in the offshore regulatory environment as evidenced by the recent signing of the Cooperation Agreement with the European Union Member States with regards to Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive. The Island is also recognised for its leadership within the OECD Global Forum and Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) for its robust KYC, AML and ATF controls.

TAX EFFICIENT JURISDICTION

As a tax-neutral jurisdiction, Bermuda does not tax profits, income, dividends or capital gains. Profits can be accumulated, and there is no obligation or requirement to pay dividends. In fact, Bermuda’s only corporate related tax is in the form of payroll tax, which is paid by employers in Bermuda within a range of up to 14%. The Ministry of Finance grants those employers the option to deduct from their employees up to a maximum of 4.75%. This is lower than, or equivalent to, most other competing jurisdictions, where corporate taxes, capital gains taxes or dividend withholding taxes may also be applied. Bermuda also compares favourably with other lower tax jurisdictions such as Cayman, which also does not tax profits, income, dividends or capital gains but does however levy annual work permit fees of approximately two to three times that of Bermuda’s payroll tax.

While Bermuda is a tax efficient jurisdiction it is also a leader in global tax transparency with over three dozen Tax Information Exchange Agreements in place as well as the recent commitment to a Level 2 InterGovernmental Agreement signed with the United States for upcoming FATCA requirements.

LOCATION

Bermuda is conveniently located in the Mid-Atlantic between the United States and Europe, approximately 600 miles directly east of North Carolina. Bermuda enjoys easy access to many Eastern North American cities such as New York, Boston, Atlanta, Toronto, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Miami as well as daily direct flights to London. Accessibility to these gateway cities makes Bermuda an ideal place for an international company to be domiciled as it is critical to be able to have those all-important face-to-face Board meetings, which allows companies to derive maximum benefit from the Island’s tax regime as well as minimizing adverse tax liabilities in the United States and the United Kingdom. 

In addition, the Island’s time zone being four hours behind GMT and one hour ahead of US East Coast time makes it a convenient location from which to conduct business with customers, colleagues, partners and suppliers on both sides of the Atlantic.

EXPERIENCED SERVICE PROVIDERS

One of Bermuda’s strongest points is the wealth of expertise that is available from a wide range of experienced service providers that are either home-grown, or have been attracted to its shores from overseas. This high-caliber service offering includes, but is not limited to, legal, fund administration, banking, audit, insurance, telecommunications, technology and e-commerce which provides international companies the depth and breadth of highly skilled professionals needed to carry out complex and innovative business transactions on a global scale. A good example of this innovation would be the recent wave of Insurance Linked Securities (“ILS”), where Bermuda is a global leader, with specialist ILS lawyers, managers and fund administrators on the Island providing all the services this growth industry needs. In addition, being a British Overseas Territory, the Island has a legal system founded on English Law that is internationally understood and respected.
The Island enjoys one of the world’s highest per capita incomes, levies no personal taxes, and provides an excellent quality of life, as a consequence it is able to not only attract but also retain talented professionals of the highest quality.

APEX’S LONG TERM COMMITMENT TO BERMUDA

Bermuda was Apex’s first office a decade ago and since then the Bermuda office has been the spring board for the Company’s expansion into more than 20 further jurisdictions around the world. This growth is very much at the heart of Apex’s philosophy of providing personalized fund administration services by being based in the same location as our clients. This enables us to build working  relationships with our clients so we can properly understand their needs, their local regulatory frameworks and help them grow their businesses. With the regulatory system continuing to tighten both onshore and offshore, the Apex global network, which originated in Bermuda and is based on the robust framework developed there, is increasingly demonstrating its strength.

CONCLUSION

Bermuda’s reputation as the leading offshore business jurisdiction is a result of having the aptitude to provide tailored solutions in many areas of international business including; fund incorporation and administration, insurance and reinsurance, banking and e-commerce. Having a sound regulatory approach and a mature business infrastructure, Bermuda has been able to distinguish itself from other competing jurisdictions as well as secure its premiere position in the eyes of the international business community. All of this allows for a streamlined process when establishing or incorporating a business on the Island.

 

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