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STEP Cayman: Providing a global perspective

October 2017

A key component of the effective operation and continued growth of the local financial services industry is the promotion of the Cayman Islands for what it is: a modern and sophisticated international financial center that is a key contributor to the global economy. For those in the wealth management sector, marketing on this front is a business imperative and obtaining the support of professionals located outside the jurisdiction is critical.

Recognizing this, the Cayman Islands Branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP Cayman) hosted the “STEP Cayman Forum” on Sept. 7, 2017 at the Institute of Directors in London. Focusing on wealth planning in international financial centers, the aim of the Forum was to provide an opportunity for leading figures in the trusts industry outside the Cayman Islands to discuss openly the challenges faced generally in the wealth management industry, while highlighting the Cayman Islands as a leading jurisdiction in addressing those challenges. The Forum attracted high attendance from industry professionals across London, the Channel Islands, and Switzerland.

The Forum began with a presentation by Timothy Ridley, former senior partner of Maples and Calder and current member of the Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Commission. Ridley explained how the Cayman Islands has developed into an international wealth structuring center of excellence and responded to the current challenges faced by all international financial centers.

Richard Wilson QC, a leading silk from barristers set Serle Court, with extensive experience in international trust litigation, including appearances before the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, gave an informed view on the importance of an effective and reliable court system when selecting a private wealth jurisdiction. Wilson confirmed that the quality and breadth of expertise of practitioners in the Cayman Islands, which he has personally observed whilst litigating in the Cayman courts, is very high and that the jurisdiction compares favourably to its competitors in this regard. His presentation was followed by that of John Riches, a consultant with the leading London-based private client team of RMW Law. He provided the audience with an in-depth analysis of global transparency issues and the balance to be struck in respect of an individual’s right to privacy when considering the requirements now imposed by FATCA and the OECD under CRS, as well as the beneficial ownership registers which are now being implemented.

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This article was first published in Cayman Financial Review.

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