Column: International Business Efforts Paying Off

July 14, 2015

[Opinion column written by OBA Chair, Senator Lynne Woolridge]

The bad news is that the report that Finance Minister ET Bob Richards recently tabled in the House of Assembly, Bermuda in the World Economy: Economic Relations with Asia, Canada, Europe and the United States [PDF] – 2014, is long, and occasionally too technical to be something you’d want to take to the beach to read.

But the good news is that this is a great report. It’s an analysis by Transnational Analytics of Washington, DC, that shows the business sector of our economy to be in good shape and getting better. It is a report that can do nothing but improve Bermuda’s reputation in the wide world.

If you read just the Executive Summary, the Conclusions and the first appendix, Where Did the Role Bermuda Plays in the World Economy Come From and Why? – less than 20 pages in total – you would increase your knowledge of the way the Bermuda economy works.

The Study concludes that Bermuda has a “significant economic profile in the world economy supporting 500,000 jobs worldwide, even after the effects of the global financial crisis and recession.”

Bermuda, it says, “provided more than $50 billion in trade in financial and transportation services that are key to the United States and the United Kingdom economies…

“Starting in 2012, Bermuda shifted its economic role in the world and grew rapidly to provide a highly responsive capital market to United States investors. Bermuda is now a destination for financial investment by pensions and governments amounting to more than $20 billion.”

Bermuda, the report says, “retained its economic competitiveness based on a financial regulatory environment that is supportive of investors and responsive to partner governments, such that new financial flows grew by $15-$25 billion in last two years.”

And, it says, Bermuda “continued to adapt to the demands of US and Chinese investors for important business needs otherwise unmet in their own national economies. “

That, to me, is a striking and very reassuring confirmation that the One Bermuda Alliance Government is doing all the right things to repair the international business sector of our economy.

Validation in this area is important to the OBA, but it must also be reassuring to all of Bermuda due to the constant claims from the Opposition that we are barking up the wrong tree. We have long said that the Progressive Labour Party’s treatment of international business during their time in Government contributed to the exodus of a large portion of our IB community.

That had a terrible effect on our local economy – on all those Bermudians who relied on guest workers renting their houses, buying their cars, their food and other goods and services. That lost income translated to hardship throughout the working population. Building the IB community back up, as this report says we are doing, is key to getting Bermuda and Bermudians back to work.

The study says that Bermuda stands out among its peers and other, more advanced economies for the size and geographical reach of its economy. Bermuda experienced almost $50 billion in two-way trade with eight partner countries in 2013.

“Bermuda” the report says, “has an outsized economic presence in these economies – it supports close to 500,000 jobs in the world – 70,000 in the UK and almost 330,000 in North America, 80,000 in the rest of Europe and about 10,000 in three Asian economies.

“Bermuda is the leading global reinsurance provider with one third of the top global reinsurance companies managed owned and operated on Bermuda. Large economies depend on Bermudian reinsurance to cover losses for homeowners, businesses and governments. Bermuda’s insured financial capacity covered 75% of Florida state windstorm protection, $3 billion of Super-storm Sandy losses, $35 billion for US business and homeowner insured catastrophic losses between 2001-2013, including 9% of insured losses of September 11 Terror Attack. Bermuda reinsurance provides 11% of US crop insurance capacity covering 600,000 farmers and foresters in 50 states.

“Bermuda is a leader in marine transportation trade accounting for close to $10 billion in ship purchases, shipping management and shipping multinationals, supported by a global reach that transports energy to US and UK ports.

“US and Canadian pension funds and state governments and other tax-exempts have recently increased their investment profile in Bermuda…Bermuda is recently successful in offering capital structures for financing asset-based securitization and insurance linked securities, raising at least $15 billion and as much as $25 billion between 2009 and 2013 to the benefit of US homeowners and US and European airframe manufacturers.

“Bermuda maintains its prominent position in the world economy through efficient regulation and financial innovation. That is, when and where there are financial capacity shortages, as has been the case in the United States and Europe, Bermuda meets these needs with effective access to judicial courts, legislation, and proportional risk-based, but reliable regulation.

“Where other national financial institutions are found to be too constrained to meet economic development needs, Bermuda provides the well-regulated and deep financial intermediation to help China invest and grow.”

That’s high praise indeed!

In summary, then, this report shows clearly that our recovery effort is paying off. In the world’s economy, we are punching well above our weight, and that is something of which all Bermudians can be immensely proud.

- Lynne Woolridge

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Comments (25)

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  1. get real says:

    So the OBA is praising the PLP for the changes they made to support ILS?

    Or does the OBA want us to believe that ILS, which started under the PLP, wouldn’t have grown if the PLP was in charge.

    Seems that the OBA is getting increasingly desperate trying to make its economic points. Sadly this oped is another attack on the PLP without talking about any changes made by the OBA and if the OBA think ILS will create 2000 jobs, we’re all in trouble.

  2. sage says:

    Oh yes the old “too technical” for us dummies.

  3. clearasmud says:

    “We have long said that the Progressive Labour Party’s treatment of international business during their time in Government contributed to the exodus of a large portion of our IB community.”
    We all know that the GDP grew dramatically under the PLP and we also know that they issued more work permits to IB that ever before so please why can’t the Government just stand on its own performance with out attempting to smear the former government at the same time! They are former for a reason what people want to know is what have you done for us!

    • RU Kidding says:

      They just spout talking points that have been given them by their pollsters.

      Tiring babble from the OBA, can’t talk about anything they have done so they try to trash the PLP.

  4. Mumbojumbo says:

    When you say technical…you imply convoluted correct…you imply it not palletable…legal jargon?…all law is interpretive and worded carefully so the when two implications combine in sequence they imply and have new meaning…s’dat whatchew mean…?….oh hell yes…I’ll take that to the beach and read it…but I will be going for a swim too…

  5. watching says:

    Does this woman read the stuff she signs her name to?
    Lately it does not appear so.
    While Bermuda does punch above it’s weight and while Bermuda is still in a relatively good position, how about she asks the tons of Bermudians who have lost their jobs about how IB is working out for them? and then ask the dozens who are on the line due to the mergers and acquisitions?
    How about she especially ask those who have applied for tons of jobs only to be asked to fill out the CURE form to show they were interviewed and to never hear back from the people?
    How about she ask those who have submitted resumes and applications and not even received a courtesy acknowledgement from the HR departments or employment agencies?
    How about she does an audit of all the IB firms and check out how many Bermudians are higher than entry level, and higher than AVP? Let’s see if there are mobility options for the staff or should they just be happy to be employed?
    So while we may still be a leader in the reinsurance/insurance world, our sway has lessened, and while both administrations have tried to halt this trend, it is just the way the industry is moving, and this government needs to open itself up and show support for alternative economies and to diversify our economy before it is too late.

    • Really, Really Bettty says:

      Thanks Watching…..your Spot on…..

  6. Alvin Williams says:

    If Bermuda is the host for thousands of IB jobs in foreign countries it’s to bad we can’t tax them or rather how about job security right here in Bermuda for Bermudians?

  7. Guilden M. Gilbert, Jr says:

    For those of you, like me, who prefer to research before accepting anything any Government places before us have a read of this report that was prepared for the PLP in 2011.

    http://www.mondovisione.com/_assets/files/2011-Business-Bermuda-Economic-Impact-Study.pdf

    When you compare and contrast this report with that the OBA is talking about here you will find a couple of interesting similarities:

    1) The details (numbers within) of the reports are very similar
    2) The report done for the PLP in 2011 was written by the Senor Vice President of Albright Stonebridge Group, Charles M. Ludolph, who ironically in 2012 became the CEO of Transnational Analytics LLC, the authors of the OBA report.

    Take from those similarities what you will.

    What I take from them when comparing the two reports side by side is that very little has changed in Bermuda’s global impact between 2011 and 2014, therefore, it can be easily argued that OBA policies are having no real impact and that the OBA cannot point to a single policy that is making an impact. The view of Bermuda as a domicile remains the same under both the PLP and the OBA.

    Don’t take my word for it, read and compare the reports for yourself.

    • watchmen says:

      BOOM!

    • Really, Really Bettty says:

      Thanks Mr. Gilbert. Critical thinking and Research is a must today in this political climate. Your comment is so SPOT ON, SPOT ON.

      • Guilden M. Gilbert, Jr says:

        No problem Really, Really Betty.

    • Unearthed says:

      This is the best post I think I’ve ever seen. Finally the truth for once.

  8. Chris Famous says:

    Started in 2012 eh..

    Thanks for giving credit where credit is due.

  9. Jeremy Deacon says:

    There’s a problem with electronic libraries – you just cut and paste a name in and then Bingo! This is so remarkably similar to reports in 2011 and 2012 by the same person for the PLP.

    • RU Kidding says:

      But no, this is PROOF of the OBA’s efforts to turn around the economy are paying off.

      Don’t you believe it Jeremy? Believe it!!!

      • Unearthed says:

        Nooo.. Facts don’t lie though. The OBA abolished term limits and now they are fiddling around with the work permit policy. Both have had 0 impact on the economy.

        Most OBA supporters if they are losing an argument will (99% of the time) switch from the economy to government debt as their last resort to point blame at the PLP.

        • Ed says:

          Believable perhaps to the most ignorant PLPppl

          • Unearthed says:

            Half the time OBA supporters just talk wild controversy and emotional rhetoric.

            The biggest argument they present is government debt which is a result of a combination of factors. Some of the factors are outside the reach and control of government itself when aligned with our present issues.

            Special Ed, you are the one that is truly ignorant.

  10. Seriously says:

    I am so disappointed in this lady. Typical for those who want to appease, she woefully goes to painstaking lengths to say nothing and to be the big one in charge. She needs to chill big time. I cant take her rants and senseless plagiarism of some cryptic speech writer hired by the OBA! We know the deal. Stop fooling yourself because you are alienating voters by your austere pretentious preaching!

  11. Coffee says:

    Lynne , I’ve just printed this regurgitated op ed on one thousand sheets of two ply extra soft . Thanks !

  12. Rhonda says:

    The OBA, would pick up anyone’s suit and wear it, and accept all the accolades personally that comes with it.

    • serengeti says:

      Yes of course.
      Anything good happens, and it’s ‘the OBA is taking credit but this was started by the PLP’.
      Anything bad happens, and it’s ‘don’t keep blaming the PLP. The OBA should have sorted this out by now.’

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