The Cayman Islands evoke images of beautiful, white-sand beaches, the crystal-clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, and secret numbered bank accounts.
Such bank accounts are purely Hollywood fiction – it’s harder to open a bank account in the Cayman Islands than in the United States. While the beautiful, white-sand beaches and crystal-clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea do in fact exist there, the Cayman Islands also offers something few other offshore jurisdictions can: a safe, sophisticated and welcoming place for high-net-worth individuals to establish their family offices.
InvestCayman, an investment promotions agency launched by the Cayman Islands Government in the Fall of 2021, is helping to spread the word about the British Overseas Territory’s attributes to high-net-worth individuals seeking to relocate or create a family office or, as is the trend today, establish a secondary location for their family office.
InvestCayman Director Jane Scaletta said that those who work in financial services are well aware of what the Cayman Islands offers. However, many wealthy people still think of the country as a tourist destination and through Hollywood stereotypes. “The Cayman Islands is really the gold standard for family offices in the Caribbean,” she said. “It’s safe, sophisticated and, as a British Overseas Territory, stable and under common law jurisprudence.”
Although the country consists of three islands – Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman – Grand Cayman is the business hub. Despite its small population of approximately 70,000 people, Grand Cayman is surprisingly sophisticated and cosmopolitan. People from more than 130 countries live there. Scaletta said “The multi-cultural dynamic here is very unique for such a small population.”
All the world’s Big Four accounting firms have large offices there, and most of the leading, multi-jurisdictional offshore law firms operate on Grand Cayman. Water and electricity utilities, as well as telecoms, are all extremely reliable.
Through established partners, the Cayman Islands offers special economic zones for companies based in technology, commodities and derivatives, as well as maritime and aviation. This framework allows businesses to establish a physical presence in the Cayman Islands while benefiting from corporate, income, sales and capital gains taxes exemptions and less stringent work permits and residency rights requirements. It is also possible to access similar benefits without having to operate out of a particular zone.
“Grand Cayman offers a quality of life unparalleled in the Caribbean,” Scaletta said. “It’s safe and a great place to raise children, with some fantastic schools and numerous sporting organizations. We have three world-class hospitals already, plus more planned, and we have specialized doctors from all over the world.”
There are also the kinds of amenities that attract high-end tourism, like the famous Seven Mile Beach lined with multi-million-dollar condominiums and hotels like The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, one of only seven Forbes Five-Star hotels in the Caribbean. Famed Manhattan celebrity chef Eric Ripert’s only other restaurant is at that hotel, and he hosts the Cayman Cookout, an annual culinary festival that attracts some of the biggest names in the food and beverage world. The island’s dining scene is such that Grand Cayman is often referred to as “The Culinary Capital of the Caribbean.”
Perhaps one of the most attractive aspects of Grand Cayman is the ability for high-net-worth individuals to safely move around the island without being bothered. “For decades now, Grand Cayman has been frequented by celebrities who come here for a vacation,” said Scaletta. “Some have properties and live here part of the year. We don’t have paparazzi here, and residents are very respectful of their privacy.”
InvestCayman can serve as a gateway to the Cayman Islands for high-net-worth individuals, offering accurate and up-to-date information and introductions to trusted private sector service providers.
“InvestCayman can help make the requirements for establishing a family office in the Cayman Islands clear and concise and introduce high net worth individuals to the professionals they will need to do business in the Cayman Islands.”