The Cayman Islands is synonymous with discreet banking and bullet-proof tax-shelters, its near-mythic reputation only enhanced by appearances in a dozen novels and movies – most notably John Grisham’s The Firm. But do the Caymans deserve such legendary status, and if so, should you open an account there?
The Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory located in the Western Caribbean Zone of the Caribbean Sea. They are part of a cluster of large Caribbean islands often referred to as the Greater Antilles, along with Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. The Cayman Islands cover a combined 264-square-kilometres and have a population of approx. 60,000. The official language of the Caymans is English, and its capital city is George Town.
Since the 1700s, the Cayman Islands have been a British Overseas Territory, becoming a Crown colony in 1962. The islands themselves are named Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Around 58,000 people live on Grand Cayman, with just over 2,000 living on Cayman Brac and less than 200 on Little Cayman. Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are situated about 145 KM northeast of Grand Cayman. The Cayman Islands are home to many foreign expats, with more than 100 different nationalities living there. Around 50% of the population is of Caymanian descent. As well as being the capital, George Town is also the most populous town, with around 29,000 residents.
The Caymans, Bob Marley and Fidel Castro
The Cayman Islands first established themselves as a tax haven in the late 1960s, and two of their earliest clients were their closest neighbors; Jamaica and Cuba. In some ways it is both poetic and ironic that the Cayman Islands lurks nearest to two other iconic, even mythic Caribbean nations . The Caymans sit northwest of Jamaica, the island whose music and culture has influenced virtually everyone in the world who was born since the early 60s, and south of Cuba, the poster-nation for communism but in reality the greatest political enigma in modern history.
Culturally and historically, in comparison with Cuba and Jamaica, the Cayman Islands has done very little to shape the globe, and yet they were there for the Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who reportedly syphoned a billion dollars out of his country during his 60-years in power, and the fledgling Jamaican record label “Island Records” – the little independent label that became one of the biggest in the world, initially by bringing the reggae sounds of Toots and the Maytals and Bob Marley to the world, and eventually going on to sign such heavyweights as Emmerson, Lake and Palmer, Janet Jackson, U2 and Mariah Carey, and still a major force today with names like Drake, Nicki Minaj and Mummford and Sons. It’s safe to say, that Cuba via Castro and Jamaica through Island Records were among the Cayman Islands’ first big-time customers in the late 60s, and may still be today.
You Should Open An Account In The Caymans?
The stories of Fidel Castro and Island Records are just two of many relating to the Caymans, all of which have given the islands a near mythical reputation as a super-secretive banking and tax haven, a more exotic version of Switzerland. In reality, their reputation for privacy and discretion is unequalled, and if you have funds or property that you want to safeguard, there is no safer, more private place on earth than a Cayman Island bank account.
Here are just three reasons why when it comes to offshore banking, the Cayman Islands is still the undisputed champions.
- Nobody Does It Better
Make no bones about it; the Cayman Islands are all about offshore banking, and tax shelters, with an estimate $3 trillion held in accounts there. 75% of the world’s offshore companies are based in the Caymans. Movies and novels aside, the reason why so many large corporations and wealthy individuals choose the Caymans is simply because they are the best at what they do, which is basically wealth management, tax planning and investment advice, all provided by a jurisdiction that has no corporate tax.
Many of the world’s largest corporations have established offshore subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands, and subsequently direct all sales through these subsidiaries rather than through parent companies based in Europe and the United States. As a result, the offshore subsidiary is answerable to the tax laws of the Cayman Islands instead of those of Europe or the U.S. Therefore, instead of being subject to the current E.U and U.S. corporate tax rates which are both around 40%, they are subject to whatever corporate or income taxes apply in the Caymans, which are currently zero.
- Special Benefits For Americans
The Cayman Islands is possibly the world’s largest and most respected financial center, and certainly one of the most discreet. When it came to banking, Switzerland once used to rule the roost with a reputation for handling money only equaled by their skill at making watches. However, since EU banking regulations came into force and Swiss banks were forced to fall in line, they have largely lost the levels of privacy and discretion they were famous for.
The Caymans reputation for discretion and professionalism is particularly great news for Americans, as the islands are just a short flight away from the US mainland. During his time in office, former president Barrack Obama tried and failed to claw back many billions of dollars in “lost taxes”, mainly because US corporate investors who use the Caymans aren’t actually breaking any laws. They are simply taking advantage of loopholes in the United States tax code. If you are an American thinking of investing abroad, an offshore bank account in the Cayman Islands is a perfect location for you to park retained earnings and to use as a base of corporate operations.
- 100% Discretion
Unless a foreign government can provide concrete evidence that a Cayman Islands bank account holder is a criminal who is using their account to stash funds that have been earned from – or for the purposes of – criminal activities, there is no chance of an account holder or the contents of their account will ever be made public.
In 1991 US lawyer-turned-author John Grisham published his novel The Firm. The book was a huge hit, and in 1993 it was adapted for the big screen in a movie starring Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman and Ed Harris. The storyline featured an ambitious young corporate lawyer (Cruise) who unwittingly works for an organized crime network, and is then targeted by the FBI. The crime network was banking huge sums of money in the Caymans Islands. Suddenly the islands were famous – infamous even – and the public’s perception was they were the place became the “mob laundered their money”.
Ironically, while this somewhat infamous reputation has never been proved, it has never been disproved either, because of the level of privacy and discretion the island’s banks provide for their clients. One thing is for sure, no less than 80,000 companies trust the Caymans to look after their assets, including every major corporation, and if that’s not a ringing endorsement, nothing is!
For more information on the Cayman Islands and the benefits of banking or establishing a tax shelter there contact 2ndPassports.com today at email@example.com. We can advise you on what type of account would best suit you, and help you choose the best Cayman Islands’ bank for your needs.
As well as offshore banking experts, we are second citizenship specialists, and at 2ndPassports.com you will also see a selection of our Caribbean Citizenship By Investment programs, plus those in the EU, as well as a some of the best investor visa programs on offer.
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