Barbados Welcomes Weekly Suriname Flight
Travel between Barbados, Suriname and Guyana should now be easier, thanks to the new Fly All Ways service out of the Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport in Paramaribo, Suriname. The Fly AllWays inaugural flight touched down at the Grantley Adams International Airport last week and is expected to provide a weekly service from Suriname to Barbados on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The service includes same day connections and reverse rotations, as well as one scheduled stop in Georgetown, Guyana. Tourism officials, led by Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, were on hand to welcome the Fokker F70 flight, which was flown by Captain Nelson Seferina. During the official welcome ceremony, Senator Garner pointed out that the inaugural flight marked the first time in 10 years that Barbados had an air service out of Suriname. She added that the flight reintroduced a jet service between Barbados and Guyana for the first time since REDjet, and provided another option for those travelling to South America from within the Eastern Caribbean. “Fly AllWays will now provide greater opportunities to Barbados and, by extension, the region, and we look forward to what we expect will be a long and mutually beneficial relationship,” the Parliamentary Secretary stated. Chief Executive Officer of Fly AllWays, Amichand Jhauw, was among officials making the inaugural flight. He noted that the new airlift would be of great benefit to all of the countries using the service. “We don’t have ferries, trains or cruises. The only way to Barbados is via air and we are extremely glad to be able to provide direct airlift from Guyana to Barbados via Fly AllWays,” he said. Other officials on board the flight were Guyana’s Director of Tourism, Indranauth Haralsingh; that country’s Minister of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson, and Minister of Tourism, Kemmie Williams; and Suriname’s Director of Transport Communication and Tourism, Dr. Joyce Blokland-Wijnstein. Senior officials of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. were also at the airport to welcome the inaugural flight. These included Chairman, Alvin Jemmott; Senior Director, Support Service, Neville Boxill; Director, Caribbean and Latin America, Vicky Chandler; and Director, Marketing, Robert Chase. Article compliments BGIS.
Engage Bilateral Partners Through Animation
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, says the possibility of Barbadians tapping into the global animation industry is “very real”, and offers opportunities for engaging the island’s bilateral partners. Senator McClean shared her views on the $250 billion industry with the media following a tour of the Animation MVQ Level 2 training programme, at the Barbados Institute of Management and Productivity’s (BIMAP) lab on Harbour Road. The programme is offered through a partnership with BIMAP and local digital content production company, West Toonz. “When we think of animation we think of anime and we think of Japan; we think of what happens in Canada, but … I believe that there are several resources and opportunities we can tap into to ensure the dreams of these young persons are realised and that they are able to partner with established companies to subcontract and to produce,” she stated. She added that with the advent of technology, Barbadians interested in pursuing a career in the industry would have an opportunity to be global citizens and connect with the world without leaving the island. The Foreign Affairs Minister noted that the just-concluded Barbados Network Consultation featured several discussions on the animation industry, and explained that it was not just a “conceptual exercise”, but an opportunity for Barbadians who have an interest in graphics, art or information technology to combine their different skills and talents to develop animation. Senator McClean indicated that she would formalise opportunities through her Ministry and take advantage of the potential or existing agreements with Barbados’ bilateral partners to explore training opportunities for the fledgling sector. Chief Executive Officer of West Toonz, Curtis Padmore, explained that there were persons interested in the animation industry but they believed that artistic talent was required. “This is a long way away from Walt Disney drawing on paper and having flipping papers; this is a very computer driven industry, and as you look around the lab, these are high-powered machines that are running the fastest processers…learning the rudiments of computer software, Mathematics, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). [They] all facilitate your ability to enter the animation industry; it’s not purely artistic talent anymore,” he emphasised. Article compliments BGIS.
PM Wants Closer Relationship With Panama
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has expressed the view that the strong ancestral and cultural links connecting Panama to Barbados warrant a strengthening and enhancing of the existing diplomatic relationship. According to him, this is necessary to “solidify a partnership that is mutually beneficial”. Mr. Stuart made the comments in a message today to celebrate Panama Day in Barbados. The Panama Canal was inaugurated on August 15, 1914, and Panama Day pays tribute to those Barbadians who contributed to the construction of the waterway. The Prime Minister noted that Barbados and Panama have enjoyed a cordial and productive relationship since they established diplomatic relations in August 1975. “The Government of Barbados recognises that Panama is a reservoir of potential philanthropy, social and political capital and a conduit for trade, investment, and tourism for Barbados. To this end, the Government of Barbados has made a conscious commitment to pursuing all opportunities available in and by way of Panama, and to fully engaging the untapped human capital of Barbadian descendants of Panama in support of this effort. Barbados also embraces the Barbadian Diaspora in Panama,” he stated. Mr. Stuart stressed that Barbados and Panama were forever linked by the Panama Canal. He recalled that at the start of the 20th century, tens of thousands of Barbadians, mainly men, recruited by the Isthmian Canal Commission to work on the construction of the Panama Canal, set out on a journey from their homeland. He noted that not only did those Barbadians play a pivotal role in what at that time was the world’s most ambitious project to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, but they also bolstered this country’s economy through their remittances, at a time of limited prospects for jobs and economic activity at home. The President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, visited Barbados last year, and the Prime Minister visited Panama in April 2015 and in June this year for the Inauguration of the Expansion of the Panama Canal. Mr. Stuart underscored the importance of such exchanges. “Visits such as these at the political level, together with increased people-to-people exchanges, have the potential to reap dividends in the future for the peoples of our two countries. The conclusion of agreements aimed at facilitating and boosting trade and other services, and at deepening cultural and tourism linkages and promoting cooperation in a range of disciplines, will enhance the overall relationship between Barbados and Panama,” he suggested. Click for the Prime Minister’s entire Panama Day Messsage Article compliments BGIS.
Bright Prospects For Barbados In Latin America
As it continues its promotional efforts in support of the international business and financial service sector, Invest Barbados recently hosted seminars and informational meetings in Mexico City, Mexico; and Bogotá, Colombia. A 22-member public-private sector delegation, led by Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, participated in seminars that were attended by a cadre of tax and legal professionals, business advisors, as well as potential and existing investors. In addition to these investment promotion seminars, delegates from Barbados engaged in a number of private meetings with members of the respective business communities. The delegation included Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Invest Barbados, Sandra Payne; Invest Barbados’ Director of Investment Facilitation, Ezra Catwell; Debbie Browne of Alexandria Trust Corporation; Jonathan Brathwaite and Eduardo Rodriguez of FlatStone Energy Partners Ltd; Derrick Cummins of J & T Bank and Trust; Ricardo Knight and Kirk Cyrus of JLT Barbados; and Paul Kavanagh Gomez from J & T Bank, Mexico. Representatives from Delany Law, JLT Latin America, KPMG, Platinum Offshore Management Inc., Scotiabank, Thompson Henry & Associates and Total Asset Management Services, Ltd. also formed part of the delegation. On his return to Barbados, Mr. Inniss lauded the collaborative efforts of the public and private sectors to promote this country’s international business offerings. “Though we all should be aware of the importance of the international business and financial services sector to Barbados’ economy, we must also note that the viability of the sector relies, in part, upon the ability and willingness of Barbados to actively promote itself and seek new opportunities abroad. As such, I am proud to have led the public-private sector delegation to Latin America, the vast majority of whom were drawn from Barbados’ professional services sector,” he stated. Acting CEO of Invest Barbados, Sandra Payne, noted that for several years, her organisation has spearheaded initiatives to diversify the sources of inward investment by targeting new and viable markets. “Though a strong marketing programme continues to retain and grow market share from traditional markets (Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States), Invest Barbados is working to open new markets and is increasing its efforts to attract investment from Central and South American countries.” She added that in terms of the Latin American region, the focus will be on attracting business, particularly in the areas of wealth management and international insurance. Senior Relationship Manager and Team Leader of Scotiabank, Lana Fingall, said her organisation was pleased to be part of the Government-led delegation to Mexico City and Bogotá. “The international business sector is an important one for Barbados, and Scotiabank is committed to the Latin American region and maintains a significant presence in Bogotá via its acquisition of Multibanca Colpatria, and through Scotiabank Mexico with hundreds of branches across the country. “Mexico and Colombia are especially important markets for us, and we believe that there is great potential for business opportunities. It is pleasing to see the significant progress being made thanks to the marketing efforts of the Invest Barbados team,” she said. KPMG partner, Louisa Ward, gave a positive report of the promotional tour. “The discussions held were engaging and thought-provoking and the feedback from our KPMG colleagues and clients in attendance was extremely positive. This has, even in the short term, led to a renewed engagement with Barbados, with prospective clients viewing our country as a financial services jurisdiction of choice.” Also a part of the delegation was Total Asset Management Services Ltd, whose Managing Director, Eveliny Arnal-Forde, commented: “I was extremely pleased to be a part of Government’s delegation. From my interaction with some of the attendees, I felt that the mission was a resounding success, and could see that the services sector holds a large potential for investment growth in Barbados.” Analysis of the international business sector has shown that its growth benefits all Barbadians; increases employment and skills enhancement; broadens the corporate tax base; attracts higher levels of foreign exchange and progressively diversifies the economy. As Government reaffirms its commitment to strengthening Barbados’ international business and financial services sector, it is cognisant that this country’s success will depend largely on its ability to compete effectively in a highly inter-connected global economy. Efforts in this regard will require the combined efforts of Government and the private sector. Article compliments BGIS Media.
Barbados receives high commendation at 2016 US Captive Services Awards
Barbados has been “Highly Commended” at the recently held 2016 US Captive Services Awards, for its ongoing commitment to the captive industry, which was most clearly shown by the introduction of the incorporated cell company (ICC) legislation in February 2016. This was announced at the award ceremony held at the Hilton Burlington, Vermont on August 8th, 2016. The judges were impressed with Barbados, one of the nine recipients of the “Highly Commended” accolade, which recognised those categories that were a particularly close call between two entries. According to the Press Release issued by organisers Captive Review, the judges commented that Barbados has risen well to the challenge facing many offshore captive domiciles, increasing its license numbers and premium volumes. Also “highly commended” was London & Capital which opened an office in Barbados late last year in order to provide further support and services to its network of Caribbean clients and their professional advisers. Under the category of Investment Management – Customer Care, the judges noted that London & Capital demonstrated a bespoke approach to captive owners and further commended the company for the care and attention it gives to each individual client. “The practice is committed to providing face-to-face service,” stated the judges. “This commitment to the American market is most clearly demonstrated by the opening of an office in Barbados to support its growing portfolio of Caribbean-domiciled captive clients,” they said. London & Capital also won the Investment Management – Innovation Category. The Awards, which is in its fifth year, were hosted to recognise and reward those providers of captive insurance products and services, who have outperformed their competitors and demonstrated the highest levels of excellence over the past 12 months. This was Barbados’s first year in submitting an entry for consideration. Barbados is currently ranked among the top ten captive domiciles globally and was shortlisted in the Offshore Captive Domicile category, along with other domiciles including the Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Puerto Rico. Bermuda was the eventual winner in that category. Over 32 awards in various categories were distributed at the event. Adapted from Captive Review, Invest Barbados
Costa Rica and Germany sign agreement to end double taxation
Last Wednesday August 10 at Germany’s Federal Foreign Ministry Office, Costa Rica and Germany celebrated the ratification of the establishment of legal instruments as part of an agreement to eliminate double taxation of income and assets, stated Costa Rica’s Ministry of Foreign Relations in a press release Friday, reports the Costa Rica Star. The agreement aims to provide clear guidelines for both countries that will allow for the elimination of double taxation where such situations might exist. This would apply to individual’s income taxes, real estate taxes; and vehicle, boat and aircraft ownership taxes. The agreement will enter into effect starting January 1, 2017. This agreement also provides enhanced mechanisms for both countries to detect fiscal evasion, as well as allows them to link and coordinate their taxation systems, and have a more effective exchange of information. Most importantly, the agreement allows for a strengthening of the two country’s economic relations, stated the ministry. The valuable legal agreement offers Costa Rica enhanced judicial security, and with it, a greater opportunity for trade and for investment by Europe’s strongest national economy, said ministry officials. Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly voted in favour of the agreement, which was a long time in the making, this year on February 2. The instruments were signed by Carlos Lizano, interim Business Attache for the Costa Rican Embassy in Germany, who was accompanied by Giancarlo Luconi Coen, Costa Rican Ambassador to Germany, and by Dr. Götz Schmidt-Bremme, Germany’s Legal and Consular Affairs Director for the Federal Foreign Ministry Office, who represented Germany in signing the legal instruments. Article compliments IFC Review.
Commonwealth Takes Notice of Region’s De-Risking Worries
Caribbean countries are not alone in worrying about how de-risking is threatening their financial stability. The Commonwealth is not only noticing it but trying to come up with solutions. Passions ran high as money transfer businesses and smaller financial institutions met this week at the Commonwealth Secretariat to address a “detrimental” decline in international banking for many businesses and individuals. The public meeting was convened to discuss the report, Disconnecting from Global Finance, which proposes solutions to the trend of financial institutions terminating or restricting so-called correspondent banking relationships (CBRs) with legitimate clients as a way of mitigating legal risks. This practice, which is a response in part to increased regulation, is known as de-risking. “Major banks are now avoiding banking customers, or categories of customers, they deem low profit or high risk. The drivers are complex and varied but global regulations that are designed to stop money laundering and the financing of terrorism have contributed to this worrying phenomenon,” said Commonwealth Economic Policy expert Samantha Attridge, Head of Finance and Development Policy. “Our report shows a worrying rise in CBR closures, doubling year-on-year since 2013. The issue is particularly affecting regions such as the Caribbean, where for example in Belize seven of Belize’s nine banks lost their CBRs, as well as the Central Bank losing one of its CBRs.” De-risking is curtailing countries’ access to essential cross-border financial services such as trade finance and international money transfers, which are essential to many economies. The issue is particularly detrimental to vulnerable economies and small states in the Commonwealth, Attridge said. Participants at the meeting on Wednesday included the Executive Secretary of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the international anti-money laundering and counter financing terrorism standard setter, as well as senior representatives from the British Bankers’ Association, HSBC Holdings, Santander and the Wolfsberg Group. Delegates applauded the Commonwealth for proposing measures including setting best practice standards for money service businesses to boost their legitimacy and reputation, and improving guidance and risk-tolerance standards for banks, that balance the need to prevent illegal activity with ensuring smaller institutions in developing countries are not excluded from the global financial system. The Disconnecting from Global Finance report also proposes building capacity for financial regulators in developing countries and ensuring they are part of global conversations on the setting of standards and policies. Paulette Simpson, National’s Executive Corporate Affairs and Public Policy of Jamaica National, one of Jamaica’s largest financial institutions, appealed for an acknowledgement by banks that people’s lives are hanging in the balance. Stressing the urgency of the situation for institutions like Jamaica National, which was given three months to terminate one 25-year correspondent banking relationship, she called for continued dialogue and immediate solutions. Article compliments Caribbean 360.
Cayman: FATCA notification and reporting due dates extended
The Cayman Islands government has extended the soft enforcement due dates for notification and reporting under the US Foreign Account Compliance Act and its UK equivalent to Friday, Sept. 2, reports the Cayman Compass. The Department for International Tax Cooperation in the Ministry of Financial Services issued a notice on Aug. 5 stating that notifications and returns submitted on or before Sept. 2 will not attract any adverse compliance consequences or enforcement measures. The extension gives financial institutions additional time to undertake their reporting obligations under US FATCA and UK CDOT, after users experienced issues with the department’s IT portal used to exchange US and UK taxpayers’ information. Article compliments IFC Review.
Many reporting entities unprepared For FATCA, CRS
New research shows that financial institutions are generally confident about meeting existing and incoming automatic exchange of information obligations, reports Tax News. However, the study also found that a significant proportion of the industry is facing higher costs and risking fines by being under-prepared for new compliance requirements. The research by Aberdeen Group and commissioned by Sovos Compliance, the tax compliance and reporting software firm, shows that there is “a large gap in preparedness” for reporting requirements under the OECD Common Reporting Standard (CRS), the United States Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), and the United Kingdom’s equivalent regime, commonly referred to as CDOT. Worryingly, many institutions, Sovos said, related high rates of inaccurate filings and excessive compliance costs, and expressed fears of significant business impacts, including reputational damage and falling customer numbers. In a survey of 100 leaders of financial institutions subject to the CRS that is being rolled out globally through the end of 2018, 64 percent of respondents said their organization is “significantly prepared” to cope with the demands of automatic EoI. However, the report showed that less than half of filings under FATCA, which has been effective for more than two years and upon which the CRS is substantially based, are accurate and complete. “This research shows that financial institutions are far less prepared for FATCA, CRS, and CDOT compliance than they feel and are putting themselves at risk of significant impact to their profit margins due to fines and the costs of compliance support,” said Nick Castellina, Vice President and Research Group Director of Business Planning and Execution at the Aberdeen Group. According to the survey’s findings, the key to accurate AEoI reporting is having an appropriate information system in place, with successful institutions much more likely to have a single centralized information retrieval and reporting platform than separate software programs for each AEoI requirement. “We found that institutions that have implemented Automatic Exchange of Information solutions are far more prepared to handle compliance,” Castellina noted. “In fact, top performers are currently 38 percent more likely to have a centralized AEoI solution. Institutions with these solutions are more likely to be able to automate the cleansing, consolidation, and reconciliation of essential data for filing, ensuring efficiency, accuracy, and compliance.” Institutions with more effective AEoI systems are also more likely to enjoy lower compliance costs than their less prepared competitors, according to the study, with the most successful firms seeing a 75 percent lower increase in costs than their peers. Nevertheless, Savos said that the level of operational costs, which has risen by as much as 20 percent, is “troubling.” Moreover, survey respondents have had six percent of their gross proceeds withheld due to non-compliance with FATCA. Consequently, half the respondents plan to implement a centralized AEoI platform to connect data from multiple systems in one place to limit costs and compliance risks. “The nature of the problem with AEOI is that it’s changing dynamically,” said Andy Hovancik, CEO at Sovos Compliance. “It’s no longer a matter of simply automating the reporting. Financial institutions must deal with data from multiple systems spread across dozens of regions around the world.” Article compliments IFC Review.
Luxembourg proposes law to enact global tax reporting rules
Companies doing business in Luxembourg will be required to file global tax information now that the nation has released draft legislation to implement new international tax reporting rules, reports Bloomberg. The rules—known as country-by-country reporting—would require companies to submit a global blueprint outlining the location of their operations, taxes paid, income earned, and other key aspects about their business. They were released last year by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development as part of a coordination multi-country effort against tax-base erosion and profit shifting. When the draft legislation, released Aug. 2 is adopted, all companies with entities in Luxembourg with consolidated annual group revenue of at least 750 million euros ($839 million) would be required to file reports for tax years beginning after Jan. 1, 2016. Companies that neglect to file could be fined as much as 250,000 euros, according to an Ernst & Young LLP alert analyzing the draft legislation. Subsidiaries The draft legislation also includes a secondary filing system for companies that have only subsidiaries, but not their parent organizations, in Luxembourg. The requirement can be satisfied if the parent jurisdiction requests the information itself, and submits it to Luxembourg through information-sharing treaties or agreements. Luxembourg is one of 44 countries that signed onto the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Exchange of Country-by-Country Reports, committing to participating in a global exchange of the reports. The European Parliament approved country-by-country reporting rules in May. The draft legislation would adopt the EU language into Luxembourg law (25 Transfer Pricing Report 102, 5/26/16). Article compliments IFC Review.
Some shell companies sidestep new UK transparency rules
Some UK shell companies under offshore control may be skirting new rules which were designed to clamp down on corruption and tax evasion by forcing businesses to reveal their true owners, a Reuters analysis of corporate filings shows. British government officials have heralded the rules, which came into effect last month, as a world-leading transparency move to tackle crime and urged other nations to follow suit. Under the new system, statements which UK companies file when they are set up and on each anniversary of that date showing changes in shareholders or directors are supposed to include details of “Persons with significant control (PSC)”. For most companies this is straightforward. But some owners use nominees or shell companies, which can have legitimate purposes but also can mask international crime, governments and international bodies like the World Bank say. Of 300 offshore shell companies identified by Reuters, 22 would typically have been required to have published the beneficial ownership information by now because their reporting dates fell in the weeks since July 1, when the rules came into force. All but one of them has not done so. The ways they have avoided the rules lay bare, for the first time, several loopholes in the new regulation. Twelve filed their annual ownership statement before the new rules came into effect on July 1, although their anniversaries fell after that date. They could thus apply the old rules which did not require them to declare beneficial owners. Others filed late or stated they did not have any beneficial owners. Shell companies can have legal aims such as easing access to international markets or servicing clients in many countries and none of the actions by the companies necessarily signal improper dealings. Robert Palmer, policy advisor at advocacy group Global Witness, said the filings showed people might be able to hide behind shell companies despite the new system. “One of the biggest flaws with the UK set up is that it is based on self-reporting and Companies House (which runs the UK Corporate register) has limited resources to go after people who fail to provide information or provide incorrect information,” he said. Asked to comment on the ways in which companies appeared to be sidestepping the rules, Daniel Munden, Chief Press Officer for the government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which oversees the process, said implementing the new system would take time. “These changes will ensure that companies are more transparent about who actually owns them,” he said. “We have always been clear that the Companies House public register will be built up over time and completed by June 2017.” The World Bank said in a 2011 report that UK corporate vehicles “feature prominently” in a database of international corruption cases its anti-corruption arm had compiled. Two years later, former Prime Minister David Cameron unveiled the planned new rules, aimed at making Britain the first major financial centre to insist beneficial owners are declared. The United States is now considering a similar step. “We need to know who really owns and controls our companies. Not just who owns them legally, but who really benefits financially from their existence,” Cameron said at the time. The UK firms Reuters identified were either UK- registered companies or Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) whose directors were foreign-based individuals representing many companies or whose members were companies registered at legal offices in low tax jurisdictions such as Vanuatu or the Seychelles. None had any obvious operations in the UK. Two of the companies identified – Peaking Investments LLP and Global Cluster International LLP – had been formed since July 1. They did not list any controlling parties. Both said in filings: “The company knows or has reasonable cause to believe that there is no registrable person or registrable relevant legal entity in relation to the company.” They did not respond to requests for comment. Asked about their statements, Joanne Johnstone, a spokeswoman for Companies House, said: “It is entirely possible for companies not to have a PSC (person of significant control), For example, 4 shareholders with 25 percent of the shares each, and 25 percent of the voting rights, none of them is a PSC.” “It is perfectly legitimate for a company to have no beneficial owners and we do not verify such statements when they are submitted to us.” If a complaint was referred to Companies House, it could refer the complaint on to the BEIS, she said. Of the 20 older shell companies, only one had published the required details as of Wednesday. The annual statements or details of persons of significant control of seven of the companies have not yet been published. Companies officially have 14 days after their anniversaries to present their ownership statements, but corporate filings at Companies House show they often file later. Johnstone said late filing incurs an automatic civil fine and both late filing and filing of inaccurate statements are criminal offences. However, no one has been prosecuted under the relevant sections of the Companies Act 2006. “Persistent breaches in delivering documents to the registrar also places the directors at risk of disqualification as a director,” she said. Twelve opted to file their statements before their due date and the June 30 cutoff. They had previously filed between July and October. None of the 22 companies have websites or publish office addresses or telephone contacts in their filings. Directors, members or agents listed as providing mail forwarding services either did not respond to requests for comment or declined comment. George Turner, a campaigner with the Tax Justice Network, said that while the practice of companies filing their annual ownership statement early was legal, it was unusual and that those companies should be investigated. “This should be a red flag that the authorities should pursue,” he said. Other experts dismissed the concerns. Lawfirm Shoosmiths advised clients filing early would simply be a way “to postpone dealing with a new and unfamiliar CS01 form” – a reference to the statement of beneficial owner. Reuters was unable to trace any details of the activities of most of the companies which filed early or late. An exception was Australia-based Ian Taylor, listed as a director for one of the firms, Gallow & McKenzie Ltd, whose registered address is a mailbox rental company in central London. It was among those which filed early. Reuters was unable to establish why it had done so. In 2009, Taylor’s company helped incorporate SP Trading Ltd., a New Zealand registered company which chartered a plane that was impounded at Bangkok airport. Thai authorities said they found weapons on board being sent to Iran from North Korea, whose arms exports were banned by United Nations sanctions. Formation agents rarely have any idea as to the activities of the companies they create and Taylor denied any knowledge of or responsibility for the actions of SP Trading in a statement to media at the time confirming that he had helped set it up. The beneficial owners of SP Trading were not sanctioned by any government and neither was Taylor in relation to his company formation activities. Taylor did not respond to requests for comment by email and telephone. On his website Taylor says he conducts due diligence on clients and that “only those with sincere business interests will be accepted as clients”. The one entity which identified a person of significant control among the 22 companies Reuters examined, was an LLP of two companies registered at a company formation bureau in the former British colony of Belize in Central America. It listed a 27-year old Russian national based in a town 300 km (186 miles) south of Moscow as the sole “person with significant control”. Reuters was unable to find any contact details for the shareholder or the partnership. The Belizean formation agent did not respond to requests for comment. Article compliments IFC Review.
Save the Date: BIBA Networking Mingle (June 24th, 2016)
The Barbados International Business Association will be hosting its third Networking Mingle on June 26th, 2016. Further details to come closer to the event.
Save the Date: BIBA Networking Mingle (April 22nd, 2016)
The Barbados International Business Association will be hosting its second Networking Mingle of the year on April 22nd, 2016. Further details to come closer to the event.
Save the Date: BIBA Networking Mingle (June 24th, 2016)
The Barbados International Business Association will be hosting its third Networking Mingle on June 26th, 2016. Further details to come closer to the event.
Mr. Gregory McConnie – President’s Address BIBA Luncheon Seminar July 22, 2016
President’s Address BIBA Luncheon Seminar July 22, 2016 by Mr. Gregory McConnie BIBA President Protocol having being established, good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and thank you for joining us for our luncheon seminar. It gives me great pleasure to greet all of you this afternoon. I must truly thank Senator the Hon. Darcy Boyce for taking the time out to engage and inform us about the function of his new role, the approaches he intends to employ, as well as receive feedback on the very serious issues affecting the way business is done in Barbados. The topic is a timely one as business facilitation is in our view the most pressing issue to be addressed. We see two main elements to business facilitation, certainty of process and agility. All users of services provided by both the private and public sectors require consistency and certainty of process in order to be able to effectively manage their affairs. This means having timeframes within which transactions are processed and delivering on them, every time. This is particularly important for the international investor where Barbados is competing against other jurisdictions for their business. Barbados must demonstrate that it can meet the high standards of service expected by international business investors and practitioners, and that it can do so consistently if it is to continue to be perceived as a high quality jurisdiction. Agility, the other aspect of business facilitation that is vital to being able to compete effectively for international business, includes initiating and implementing legislative changes and effecting the relevant business process changes in relatively short timeframes after new legislation is passed. While other jurisdictions have been able to implement new initiatives quickly, like the new LLC legislation recently passed in the Cayman Islands and similar legislation planned for Bermuda, in Barbados the Private Trust Companies and Foundations vehicles legislation have been passed but still cannot be utilized and the implementation of Incorporated Cell Company legislation has not been smooth. Our timeframes for execution must be measured in days and weeks rather than months and years. Wherever there is adversity there is generally also opportunity, and amongst the externally imposed challenges arising from BEPS, the Panama Papers and “de-risking” opportunity lies. There is no doubt in my mind that the IB Sector in Barbados can take advantage of these to expand and grow exponentially under the right conditions. However, we need to step up our game if we are to really take advantage of the opportunities available. Just this week the Central Bank of Barbados released its review of Barbados’ economic performance for the first six months of 2016. Part of the review stated that there was a 3 percent decline in the number of international business and financial services (IBFS) licenses granted during the first half of the year. Of course we know that this statistic by itself is not cause for alarm because many new companies doing international business are opting to operate as regular Barbados companies to take advantage of our tax treaties, rather than as licensed entities. However, one of the main statements made by Central Bank Governor Dr DeLisle Worrell which stood out was that Barbados’ foreign exchange reserves fell by a further $43 million to $884 million. It has fallen consistently over the past 5 years by about 40% from the 2011 levels of $1.4 billion. It should be known by now that the international business sector is the most reliable and consistent earner of foreign exchange for Barbados. This sector contributes has been $1billion to Barbados Gross Domestic Product annually. That is all foreign exchange because this sector earns no revenue from Barbados. Again, there is potential but we need to address business facilitation issues first and we need to address them immediately. Therefore, BIBA welcomes the recent appointment of Senator Boyce to provide that dedicated effort towards reducing, if not eliminating, the difficulties currently being experienced in doing business on this island. In support of Senator Boyce’s business facilitation role, BIBA intends to work collaboratively with the key Government departments to ensure that everyone involved understands the potential that the IB sector holds for Barbados’s growth, while we seek to understand the challenges those departments face when interacting with the private sector and share with them the challenges the private sector encounters, with the intention of working together to develop solutions to the issues identified. As a nation celebrating 50 years of independence we need to commit ourselves to making Barbados the easiest place for doing business in the world. This is not just the responsibility of the government but it should be a national commitment so that every man and woman sees himself or herself as having a responsibility for making this a reality and will approach their work whether it be in the private or public sector with a mindset that says I am helping to generate business activity in my country that will lead to the creation of jobs, and the generation of government revenues that will go towards financing healthcare, education and other social programmes. Thank you for your time and interest.
MR ANDREW ALLEYNE – PRESENTATION AT 2016 IBFS CONFERENCE
International Business and Financial Services Conference Wednesday, March 16th, 2016 WELCOME REMARKS Mr Andrew Alleyne, President of BIBA It gives me great pleasure to join Dr. Worrell and the Hon. Donville Inniss in welcoming you to this year’s International Business and Financial Services Conference. Each year, BIBA is pleased to support the Central Bank of Barbados in its efforts to bring together representatives from both the public and private sectors that are key to the success of this sector, to dialogue and share views on how to further advance our collective goals. The theme for this year’s conference Reflecting on the Past: Planning for the Future, is a timely topic in light of the ongoing celebrations of 50 years of Independence. It is important for us to reflect on the history of the international business and financial services sector and its immense economic and social contribution to the Barbados economy. We will hear more about the sector’s contribution from Mr. Downes later. It is this sector’s level of importance that should drive each and every one of us to continuously examine the business environment, highlight the challenges faced, and work together to find workable solutions. The issue of banks “de-risking” was raised at last year’s conference and has since developed into a major concern for the Caribbean region. The origin of this problem lies within the enacting of new international regulations intended to address money laundering and the financing of terrorism. It also requires international correspondent banks to be satisfied that their “front line” banks are also undertaking the same level of due diligence and that they know their customers. As recently as last week, the United States Comptroller of the Currency (Thomas Curry) announced that OCC may create new guidance to deal with de-risking. In his March 7th speech he said the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is collecting data on banks de-risking decision-making processes. He said “Our goal is to identify current practices and possible gaps in existing policies and procedures for conducting periodic client risk evaluations and for making account termination decisions”. While it is too early to speculate if the OCC’s involvement will improve the decision making process, the Agency might require banks to conduct enhanced due diligence tests that require input from Senior Management before breaking ties with a foreign correspondent. To further add fuel to the fire, the Caribbean has been unfairly branded as “high risk” and as a result some of these banks have started to withdraw their correspondent relations to the Caribbean. Look at Belize! The larger banks have already severed relationships with banks there, the first being the Belize Bank, and subsequently other indigenous banks. This forced a closure of several indigenous banks leaving many businesses and individuals without a means to receive or make international payments. Western Union has withdrawn its services in the Bahamas, Cayman and the Turks and Caicos. As a result Fidelity Bank has closed its Western Union accounts in the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands. Closer to home an Antigua bank, CUB recently lost its correspondent banking support when a US correspondent bank terminated its relationship. In Jamaica, Barclays has advised the Jamaica National Building Society that it will be terminating its correspondent relationship on April 1st. In some instances the decision to withdraw correspondent banking services is based on low business volumes or low revenues. However, the focus on the Caribbean is not based on an objective assessment of the region’s risk, but reflects a lack of understanding of the region by risk managers who are largely unfamiliar with the Caribbean’s high regulatory and compliance standards. Last December, BIBA’s First Vice President, Gregory McConnie, and I attended a roundtable discussion hosted by the Financial Stability Board, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Central Bank of Barbados. The discussion focused on global initiatives to lower the risks associated with correspondent banking. These included the work international standard setters are undertaking to better measure, understand and address the challenges presented by the reduction of these important banking services. Another issue of concern to all of us is business facilitation. Unlike the withdrawal of correspondent banking services, this is an issue that is within our power to fix. There is now a greater need to improve our country’s ranking in the World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business” index, especially given that the international business sector is losing some of its competitiveness due to new and expanding tax transparency laws and regulations in North America and Europe. On a more positive note, the TMF Complexity Index recently ranked Barbados 7th, in terms of “Ease of doing business” a significant improvement from the precious year when we were ranked 22nd. Within the Americas, Barbados was ranked an impressive 4th as a location to conduct business. Ease of doing business is critical for the sector to grow. We must continue to find ways of improving efficiency within our public and private sectors in order to enhance the attractiveness of Barbados as a jurisdiction from which to conduct business. It is hoped that through this conference, we can find a workable plan of action. Thank you for your attention.
Ms Connie Smith – Presentation at 2015 IBFS Conference
Protocol having been established, it gives me great pleasure to join Dr. Worrell and the Hon. Donville Inniss in welcoming you to this year’s International Business and Financial Services (IBFS) Conference. Each year, BIBA is pleased to support the Central Bank of Barbados in its efforts to bring together representatives from the public sector agencies key to the success of this sector, to dialogue with and share views with BIBA and other private sector representatives on how to further advance our collective goals. It is interesting to note that the Bank has identified the opening up of the Cuban market as one of the potential growth areas for the Barbados IBFS sector. The shift in United States policy that has created this potentiality could likely lead to more multinational companies targeting Cuba and, with a long-standing bilateral investment treaty and double taxation agreement between Barbados and Cuba already in place, I believe that we are well poised to capitalize on this interest. Ironically, as we sit and meet today to learn more Cuba, right at this very moment, history is being created in Panama at the convening of the Seventh Annual Summit of the Americas – for the first time in history, Cuba has a seat at the table for this Summit. I therefore look forward to the first panel presentation unlocking this potential for us. It is well recognized that Barbados has all of the factors necessary to continue to grow the international business sector. Indeed, we continue to show year-on-year growth in new entrants to the sector, even during the height of the international economic turbulence within the last seven years. The most recent figures show that Barbados continues to attract new IBC registrations in excess of 400 annually since 2007, and at an average rate of 458 new registrations annually over that period. In relation to international insurance, we continue to maintain our number at just over 240 active entities, and while on record our international banks have dwindled from 40 at the end of 2013, to 32 at the end of 2014, we should note that much of the business that was being carried on by companies holding banking licences, is now being conducted within IBCs, ISRLs, or just regular Barbados companies. However, we must remain ever cognizant of the challenges that threaten to undermine our growth potential. And unfortunately some of the more major challenges are not of our own making. The changes made to the domestic taxing environment in Canada last year have had a significant effect on a market segment that we have historically enjoyed. This is reflected in the number of entities currently holding banking licenses as I referenced earlier – another reason that I am keen to hear the presentations from the panel in a few minutes. Increasingly, some members of BIBA have been raising concerns with us about the hurdles they and their clients are facing as clients of local commercial banks. As was ventilated during our first BIBA luncheon seminar for this year, the strict requirements being imposed on international business clients by commercial banks is as a result of the risk profile with which Barbados is viewed by the international correspondent banks that mediate between the local commercial banks and the global financial community. This is an extremely untenable situation as Barbados seeks to fulfil the mandate of its sector’s strategic plan and become the International Business and Wealth Management Centre of choice in this hemisphere. It also does not bode well for our attempts to expand our treaty network into Africa and Latin America and attract more business from those source markets. I think that it is time that we refreshed our strategy in terms of expanding the correspondent banking relationships within our commercial banking sector and I am offering BIBA’s support to the Central Bank of Barbados in leading the development of a new strategy to attract new players into this arena. However, I must reiterate, as I always do, that if we are to keep the new businesses that we attract, and hold on to the ones that are already here, we must improve the ease with which we conduct business in Barbados. We need to put service level agreements in place that guarantee clients in the public and private sector certainty of process when they engage with a business facilitation agency. I would say that the recent implementation of guidelines for all public sector employees by the Office of Public Sector Reform is a step in the right direction and I would encourage that Office to undertake as its next project, to produce benchmarking guidelines for government agencies, especially the client-facing ones, so that there are standards to which they can be held accountable. Our judicial, business incorporation and immigration systems are the first places that I would recommend we start. On that note, we have a stimulating day ahead of us and far be it for me to delay the Minister in delivering his keynote presentation. I look forward to hearing from the presenters and yourselves on some of the key issues that I have raised, as well as the other topics under consideration, during the course of today. Thank you for your time and attention.
IBW 2016 Conference: Weathering the Perfect Storm
The Barbados International Business Association (BIBA), in collaboration with Invest Barbados and other strategic partners, will be hosting the annual International Business Week of activities October 16th to 22nd, 2016. The flagship event of this week will be a two-day conference to be held on October 20th and 21st at the Hilton Barbados Resort. This year’s conference, themed Weathering the Perfect Storm: Explore, Evolve and Adapt, provides a unique opportunity for delegates to gain an understanding of current issues affecting the international business and financial services sector and the global trends impacting its development. This year’s topics include: Is There a Need for IFC’s in the Modern World?; Dawn of Digital Currencies: Who Needs Banks Anyway?; Transparency & Privacy: Can They Co-exist; Cyber Security; Crisis Management; and Block Chain – What is it and How Does it Work? The conference registration fee is BDS$900/US$450. All meals and refreshments as well as an informal cocktail gathering on day one of the conference are included in the registration fee. Persons registering and paying on, or before, September 30th 2016, may take advantage of the early bird discounted rate of BDS$750/US$375. Companies that register three or more persons may also benefit from the discounted rate. All payments must be made to the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) by way of cheque or bank draft in advance of the conference. Registration closes October 14th, 2016. Interested parties will also have the opportunity to exhibit their services. In the event that the booth option has not been included in your sponsorship package, a limited number of booths have been made available at a cost of BDS$3,000/US$1,500 each. Exhibitor details and schedules are to be forwarded to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We invite you to be a part of this event and encourage you to register as soon as possible. All conference registrations are to be through www.investbarbados.org. If you have any queries, please email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to welcoming you to the International Business Week Conference 2016.
BIBA Announces New Board for 2016-2017
The Barbados International Business Association held its Annual General Meeting on Thursday, June 16th, 2016 and a new board was appointed to handle the affairs of the organisation. The new board for 2016-2017 is as follows: President – Mr. Gregory McConnie 1st Vice President – Mr. Marlon Waldron 2nd Vice President – Ms. Julia Taggart Treasurer – Mr. Nicholas Crichlow Secretary – Ms. Cadian Drummond Directors: Mr. Elliott Barrow Ms. Janice Burke Ms. Melanie Jones Ms. Connie Smith Ms. Dominique Pepin Ms. Tara Frater Mr. Derrick Cummins BIBA’s Annual Report for 2015-2016 was also released. Please click here to view. It includes the President’s Report, as well as reports from the Executive Director and the various committees, such as the Legal Profession, Insurance, Banking & Wealth Management, Marketing and Communications, Tax and IBCs/Service Providers. A summary of the activities undertaken by the BIBA-Canada, BIBA Charity and an overview of International Business Week 2015 are also included.
No need to panic about Panama Papers Scandal
Thirty-four companies in Barbados are allegedly listed among the thousands named in the 11.5 million confidential papers leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, detailing the establishment of offshore companies for the global elite. However, Executive Director of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) believes that while this may be an area to watch, there is no reason for Barbados to panic. “Developments of this sort are typically a cause for concern for us, as Caribbean and Latin American international financial centres (IFC) are always tarred with the same brush,” says Mr Holmes. “However, we must be confident about what Brand Barbados stands for and focus on the continuous improvement of what this jurisdiction offers, both in terms of products and providers,” he said. The Executive Director made reference to the recently enacted Corporate & Trust Service Providers Act which has initiated the process of licensing and regulating firms providing corporate, trust and management services to international companies and investors. “The setting up of corporate structures in IFCs for the purpose of global tax minimisation is not an illegal activity,” states Mr Holmes. “However, since the beginning of the global financial crisis and its deleterious effect on the tax revenues of the developed countries the offshore financial centres have been targeted as the reason and made to suffer vilification and harassment”. “The motivation for this seems very much a political reaction to moral outcries of the citizens of these countries who, with their limited understanding of how economies work, are of the view that the companies that are practicing global tax planning are not paying their fair share of the tax and therefore engaging in something that is dishonest,” said the Executive Director. “Perhaps there are circumstances where the individuals behind the corporate structures are under a duty to declare the existence of these types of companies and when they don’t this may lead to the view that they are hiding something, or worse engaging in something that is illegal”. OECD’s Secretary-General Angel Gurría issued a statement that the Mossack Fonseca leak “shone the light on Panama’s culture and practice of secrecy”. He described Panama as “the last major holdout that continues to allow funds to be hidden offshore from tax and law enforcement authorities”, and said the OECD has been “consistently warned of the risks of countries like Panama failing to comply with the international tax transparency standards.” “One can only surmise from his comments that more pressure, and blacklisting / naming and shaming of this type will follow, whether it is warranted or not,” said Mr Holmes. “Barbados does not have a reputation for secrecy. We are perceived as a well regulated jurisdiction insisting on transparency,” he continued. “The question you may wish to ask is “If a list of companies incorporated and managed by a law firm in Delaware, Nevada or Wyoming was to be leaked would the global reaction be the same?” Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, and Vice Chair of the Steering Group of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes within the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Donville Inniss noted in a recent Press Release, that Barbados has long embraced transparency and the exchange of tax information between governments. As evidenced, Barbados has officially and publicly endorsed the OECD’s Global Standard for the Automatic Exchange of Information and has agreed to facilitate compliance with the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. “Additionally, beyond being highly cooperative and transparent, Barbados’ position as a preeminent low tax jurisdiction attracts business of substance and ethical business structures that provide significant benefits to both domestic markets and the global economy,” said Minister Inniss.
BIBA partners with 12th Annual Canadian Captives & Corporate Insurance Strategies Summit
The Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) is now an official partner of the 12th Annual Canadian Captives & Corporate Insurance Strategies Summit taking place May 25-26, 2016 in Toronto, ON. The annual summit brings together over 100 risk management professionals including: current and prospective captive owners, captive managers, corporate insurance leaders and more. BIBA has partnered with the summit since its creation. “We have watched this forum grow from strength to strength over the years and it has asserted itself as the authoritative forum on captive insurance business in Canada,” says Henderson Holmes, Executive Director, BIBA. “Given the fact that Barbados is a major domicile for Canadian captive insurance companies we have supported this conference over many years now and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.” This is the only event of its kind in Canada. The summit focuses on assisting those just starting out in captives or looking to fine-tune their captives strategy. Attendees hear first hand what drives captives and how to optimize their potential and ROI. “It makes great sense for us to support the efforts of the Canadian Captives Summit,” says Holmes. “Given, the long history of business and diplomatic relations between Barbados and Canada and our reputation for being able to facilitate the business interest of Canadian firms seeking alternative risk management solutions.” The event offers 18 interactive sessions, eight scheduled networking opportunities, three exclusive panels and over twelve hours of learning. Featured speakers on the program include: Patrick Walker, Senior Manager, Group Risk Financing, Rio Tinto Graham Sanderson, Regional Director, Risk Management, Vancouver Island Health Authority Lynn Tenerowicz, Director, Risk Management, Baystate Health Frank Naus, Vice President, Research, Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation David S. Platt, Director, Insurance Risk, Encana Services Company Ltd. Todd Henderson, Senior Director, Risk Engineering & Insurance, SNC Lavalin Visit the website to learn more. About the Annual Canadian Captives & Corporate Insurance Strategies Summit The Canadian Captives & Corporate Insurance Strategies Summit takes place every spring in Toronto and is currently in its 12th year. The summit gathers risk management & corporate insurance professionals from across Canada to discuss current challenges facing the risk sector. The purpose of the summit is to increase risk managers’ awareness of captive strategy, regulatory changes, tax updates and other investment opportunities. This year’s summit takes place May 25-26, 2016 in Toronto at the Sheraton Centre. For more information visit: www.captivesinsurance.com About Barbados International Business Association The Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) is a private sector organization comprising companies engaged in international business in Barbados and companies which are otherwise strategically associated with this sector. For more information visit: www.biba.bb For more information: Melanie Raffa | Marketing Manager Canadian Captives & Corporate Insurance Strategies Summit 2016 E: email@example.com P: 1-866-298-9343 x 209