BDA: Myth That All Offshore Centres Are Same

April 5, 2016

Some of reporting on the ‘Panama Papers’ perpetuates the myth that all offshore financial centres are the same, however Bermuda has an extremely positive global reputation built on transparency, compliance and cooperation, the Bermuda Business Development Agency [BDA] said today.

The ‘Panama Papers’ are a leak of 11.5 million files from the database of offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca, the Guardian reports, adding that “12 national leaders are among 143 politicians, their families and close associates from around the world known to have been using offshore tax havens.”

After widespread calls for his resignation, Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson stepped down today, an apparent casualty of the Panama Papers leaks, CNN has reported.

The BDA said, “Some of the recent reporting on the ‘Panama Papers’ perpetuates the myth that all offshore financial centres are the same.

“The fact is: Bermuda is different. While there may be businesses, service providers and lax regulatory environments around the world that enable illegal tax evasion, Bermuda is not one of them.

“Bermuda is different. Bermuda has an extremely positive global reputation built on transparency, compliance and cooperation—these attributes have been differentiating hallmarks of the jurisdiction for decades.

“The EU provided a strong endorsement of Bermuda’s robust, mature, and proficient regulatory environment by awarding equivalency with its own EU Solvency II regime. Bermuda is one of just two non-EU countries to be awarded that distinction.

bermuda panama papers APril 5 2016 2

“In the United States, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners [NAIC] designated Bermuda a ‘qualified’ jurisdiction. This is yet another vote of confidence in the way Bermuda handles its business.

“Bermuda was also the first offshore financial centre to qualify for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD] ‘white list’ of jurisdictions that have implemented internationally agreed tax standards—jurisdictions not considered to be tax havens by the OECD.

“A further differentiator for Bermuda is the fact that Bermuda gives, rather than takes. Bermuda’s contribution to global economies, particularly from its insurance industry, is considerable.

  • Companies based in Bermuda contributed $35 billion over a dozen years to cover US catastrophe losses.
  • Bermuda companies paid 9% of 9/11 claims.
  • Bermuda companies paid 20% of last winter’s UK flood losses, and provide more than a quarter of capacity for Lloyd’s of London.
  • Bermuda paid 62% of claims for the UK’s largest peacetime fire and explosion—the Buncefield oil terminal fires of 2005.

“Thanks to Bermuda, cities, coastlines, homes and businesses are rebuilt after major disasters. Bermuda’s positive contribution should not be underestimated or overlooked.

“Overall, Bermuda’s economic model supports close to a half-million jobs globally through trade and investment, including some 350,000 jobs in the US and more than 100,000 jobs in the UK.

Graphic courtesy of the Panana Papers website:

“Bermuda understands and embraces the worldwide movement towards greater financial transparency and regulatory cooperation. Bermuda does not have laws that promote and protect banking secrecy. Bermuda complies with global anti-money-laundering directives and anti-terrorist financing standards.

“And Bermuda has had a beneficial ownership register in place for 60 years. Bermuda’s 90-plus tax-transparency treaties with countries around the globe underscore Bermuda’s commitment to cooperation and compliance. Bermuda’s track record shows that when asked to assist international authorities, Bermuda has cooperated.

“Homogenising ‘offshore’ and dumping all international financial centres into one bucket synonymous with immoral, illegal and nefarious activity is inaccurate and ill-informed.

“Bermuda is different.”

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Comments (9)

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  1. Onion Juice says:

    The chickens have come home to roost

  2. SpinCycle says:

    Its funny that a location in the USA made that list, and quite a pat on the back to Bermuda that we didn’t! US politicians can put that in their pipe and smoke it next time they come complaining about BS!

    • wahoo says:

      It sucks that we keep getting lumped in with the “tax haven” gang. I am sure that BDA are doing their level best to get the word out but politicians especially US and UK seem to throw our name out first when pontificating about such things.

    • jt says:

      And the U.K. …and yet the opposition there is chirping bda again.

  3. Vamos says:

    So if Bermuda is so transparent, why are the companies here? Surely not for the Gombay’s, pinkish beaches and fish sandwiches!

    • Aware says:

      The companies are here primarily for our regulatory approach – Bermuda’s regulation is geared to “large companies” rather than “small individuals” making it simpler, faster and less intrusive to be based from Bermuda.

      We all need to help the BDA and the Government to get the message heard clearly.

  4. HISTORY says:





    • About Time says:

      Bermuda has not, historically, been proactive about promoting our pristine reputation – in particular when it comes to differentiating our jurisdiction form all the others that are described as havens. Mr Webber, and the team at the BDA, are now professionally, articulately and systematically working on that differentiation strategy.
      You clearly need to learn your “history.” Webber is no novice as a modicum of research will reveal.