The Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory in the western Caribbean Sea. The 264 sq km territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, located south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica. The Cayman Islands are considered to be part of the geographic Western Caribbean Zone as well as the Greater Antilles. The territory is one of the more sophisticated offshore centres with an emphasis on hedge funds (where it is the market leader)
The Cayman Islands are a major international financial centre. The largest sectors are banking, hedge fund formation and investment, structured finance and securitisation, captive insurance, and general corporate activities. Regulation and supervision of the financial services industry is the responsibility of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA).
Since the introduction of the Mutual Funds Law in 1993, which has been copied by jurisdictions around the world, the Cayman Islands have grown to be the world’s leading offshore hedge fund jurisdiction. As of 2016 there were 11000 hedge fund registrations. To put this in perspective the next biggest is the BVI at about 2100 and Ireland at several hundred.
The Cayman Islands goes hand in hand with sophistication which is borne out by the presence of all of the major offshore law firms banks and accounting firms. The Cayman Island company also often serves as a vehicle for listing and is well represented on the list of companies listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange
Osiris Advisors Limited in the UK specialises in the planning and assistance in implementation of family office and corporate structures. Osiris Advisors Limited also facilitates the provision of high level legal, tax and accounting advice. Osiris Advisors is able to coordinate the formation of UK structures and where applicable assist with accounting and company secretarial services as well as a host of support services relating to tax planning and legal services. The UK corporate regime is also attractive for specific activities and Osiris Advisors Ltd can assist with this implementation.
The UK has a relatively low corporate tax rate (it is now approaching the same rate as Hong Kong and not far off Ireland), no dividend withholding taxes and a large double tax treaty network. It is also an attractive investment destination, and Osiris is able to assist those who would like to invest into the UK. In particular we have assisted with property investments and have assisted with several large property listings on AIM, the JSE and elsewhere.
British Virgin Islands:
The British Virgin Islands (BVI), officially the Virgin Islands, is a British overseas territory located in the Caribbean to the east of Puerto Rico. The islands make up part of the Virgin Islands archipelago; the remaining islands constitute the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Financial services account for over half of the income of the Territory. The majority of this revenue is generated by the licensing of offshore companies, hedge funds and related services. The British Virgin Islands is a significant global player in the offshore financial services industry with the use other world’s offshore companies . Whilst this has come with some controversy, since 2001, financial services in the British Virgin Islands have been regulated by the independent Financial Services Commission. The quality of regulation is high and the BVI prides itself on its transparency. What it is trying to achieve now is a sophisticated easy to use corporate vehicle that is as well known in London as it is in Shanghai and Hong Kong. No other corporate vehicle has come close to this level of acceptance.
The BVI Business Company is also frequently used as a listing vehicle and is to be found on the LSE JSE and Hong Kong stock markets in decent numbers
Hong Kong & Shanghai:
Osiris currently only has a representative office in Hong Kong. However, it is one of the most dynamic centres in the region. It is evidence of what freedom to trade and a lowish tax rate can achieve. At 17%, no Capital Gains Tax, a source based tax system and next door to China, it has developed into a regional powerhouse. Osiris is tending to focus on assisting companies intent on listing on the Hong Kong exchange with all of the necessary pre IPO planning, often in conjunction with our Cayman Office.
Mauritius has strong and friendly relations with the West, as well as with South Asian countries and the countries of southern and eastern Africa. Trade, commitment to democracy, and the country’s small size are driving forces behind Mauritian foreign policy. The country’s political heritage and dependence on Western markets have led to close ties with the European Union and its member states, particularly the United Kingdom and France, which exercises sovereignty over neighboring Reunion Island.
Considered part of Africa geographically, Mauritius had friendly relations with other African states in the region, particularly South Africa, by far its largest continental trading partner. Mauritius has excelled in positioning itself as the entry point into India and Africa and has succeeded in drawing significant investment by companies setting up regional headquarters.
Mauritius has introduced legislation that aims to encourage this type of activity including: no exchange controls, 3% tax rate, no Capital Gains Tax, no withholding taxes. It has also negotiated a very extensive double tax treaty network that is being continually expanded. Mauritius has concluded 41 tax treaties and is party to a series of treaties under negotiation. As Mauritius is regarded as a gateway into Africa we have highlighted those treaties with African countries.