Survey: Business Confidence In Bermuda Drops

September 30, 2018

[Updated] Business confidence in Bermuda has “dropped dramatically”, there is “pessimism in Bermuda’s private sector” about the economy, and “concerns are increasing about taxation, the cost of doing business and Bermuda’s declining population.”

This is according to the Bermuda Business Confidence Index [BCI] which is a survey of business owners and executives across industries, with 138 surveys were completed between April 18 and May 24, 2018.

Chart extracted from the report:

1-Bermuda Business Confidence Index Report - 2018-8

According to the Survey’s Executive Summary, “The results of the 2018 survey suggest that business confidence in Bermuda has dropped dramatically since the previous study in 2016, and is now at its lowest point since tracking began in 2014.

“The Business Confidence Index [BCI] – based on nine economic considerations evaluated by business leaders – has fallen almost 20 points since 2016 to 86.4, slipping below the benchmark index of 100 points for the first time/

“The record-low BCI reflects a widespread pessimism in Bermuda’s private sector about the state of the Island’s economy and its prospects over the coming 12 months.

“Such attitudes contrast with the Ministry of Finance’s 2017 National Economic Report, published in February 2018, which states that Bermuda’s economy expanded marginally over 2017 and ‘is projected to further improve,’ conditional on various factors including increased employment, growth in tourism and capital spending.

“This survey suggests that following the first quarter of 2018, the business community does not share the government’s optimistic projections for the year

“As in previous years, the business community points generally to Bermuda’s government and politics as the top issue facing the Island today. However, this concern has eased significantly since 2016, while concerns are increasing about taxation, the cost of doing business and Bermuda’s declining population.

Chart extracted from the report:

chart extracted sept 30 2018 awef

“Business people say one of the most critical actions the government can take to help the private sector is to promote immigration and streamline the work permit process. For their part, many business leaders say they need to work more closely with government to achieve their goals.”

“If there is any good news to be found in the survey it is that on the employment front, businesses expect to marginally increase their full-time staffing levels in 2018.

“This survey shows that Bermuda’s business community is becoming increasingly concerned about the structural state of the island’s economy, its competitiveness and its ability to attract investment.

The survey notes, “Some relief may be available in the form of higher government spending following years of austerity [civil servants received a 2.5 percent pay raise in the most recent budget], and in efforts announced by Premier David Burt to begin making structural changes, such as allowing majority, non-Bermudian ownership of domestic businesses, thereby encouraging the investment of locally-earned revenues back into the Island economy.”

Chart extracted from the report:

chart extracted sept 30 2018 changes

“In unaided mentions, one-quarter of businesses say that improving immigration and the work permit process is one of the best ways to help the business climate in Bermuda [up 10 points from 2016]. Those most likely to mention immigration are large enterprises with international operations, and those in the financial services and insurance sector.

“Better government leadership and stability, although mentioned less often than in 2016, is still considered important by one-fifth of businesses [down 17 points]. Business development and foreign investment, and better taxes, are also each mentioned by one-fifth of businesses.”

Update 2.36pm: Premier and Minister of Finance David Burt stated, “The report highlights economic and external factors impacting Bermuda businesses and the confidence in Bermuda’s business environment. This is one snapshot in time and provides an opportunity for Government and business to work together to continue to strengthen our economy.

“As I have stated, the first quarter results show: Government revenues are up; Government spending is down; the deficit is down by 24%; Visitor air arrivals are up; and employment in the economy is up.

“Is everything perfect? No. We still have a long way to go.”

The Premier added, “This Government is committed to working with local and international companies to grow the economy and create jobs for Bermudians.

“In the 2018-2019 Budget Statement, I stated, ‘Bermuda’s economy is in desperate need of economic diversification as a means to provide additional jobs and careers for Bermudians. The Government will ensure that Bermuda is poised to meet new demands and will be aggressive in reaching out to new global areas of growth.’”

The Premier concluded, “The Business Confidence Index is one benchmark for Bermuda. We can measure our future successes against where we stand today.

“We have a joint responsibility to work together to improve economic growth and diversification, to create business opportunities and jobs for Bermudians. My door is open. I am available to hear the concerns of the business community with a view to finding solutions together.”

The full report is below [PDF here]

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Comments (59)

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  1. Jus' Askin' says:

    oh how businesses will paint a picture to portray the sky falling

    you want more foreign labor without investing in the locals



    • Toodle-oo says:

      People like yourself , Betty , OJ and the mixed up one , plus many others , completely fail to grasp this because you’re beating on an old racist drum that deafens and blinds you.
      As much as you all vilify and demonize the UBP and the OBA they were the ones responsible for business confidence a) in the first place and then b) sort of returning it once the OBA was elected . This confidence goes completely out of the window when the PLP is in and it looks like it’s not returning for a long time .
      Don’t believe me ? Do something foreign to yourself and go outside your usual political propaganda circles and talk with investment bankers and real estate agents about what happened when the PLP was voted in in 1998 and again in 2017.
      It took us many years to get the reputation and earn the confidence we did but it took only 2 election cycles to destroy it .
      The outside money and investment we need to survive and maintain our lifestyles does not like instability and even though you and many others fail to understand that it is what it is .
      Oh , how do you like your ever increasing cost of living thanks to the debt that your crew saddled us with ? And please don’t go on about how the OBA doubled it . It’ll make you look even worse than your first post portrayed to you out to be.

      • mixitup says:

        Thanks for the shout out! Appreciate it!

      • Jus' Askin' says:

        Far from Racist m8

        just tired of the LIES!!!

        if businesses are truly unhappy


        • question says:

          What ‘lies’ are you tired of? The PLP Burt lies about bitcoin job creation? Or his lies about how the economy is doing fine and we’re all better off since his lot got in? Or the lies about how it’s a great idea to send $1.2m to an overseas millionaire businessman as corporate welfare?
          Which lies exactly?

        • LocaliCartel says:

          We sustain our lives on capital they inject, without it we will so rapidly deteriorate that you will be begging for them back.

    • Still Laughing says:

      This comment shows the petty ignorance and narrow minded thinking that plays a big factor in the lack of confidence. Grow up, take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

      • Jus' Askin' says:

        what is the bigger picture?

        these businesses are here to make money, not improve the lives of the locals

        they do not care about us, why should we care about them?

        not many people are in my position, I get that picture ;-) ;-)

        • LocaliCartel says:

          Because a byproduct of their profits is improved life for locals, whether that’s their intent or not.

          • Anbu says:

            Cartel, u r talking to a brick wall with these lot. Surprised they even know how to turn on a light. Smh.

    • red rose says:

      sure, I’ll take my business away and I’ll make Bermudians redundant in the process. fine by me, I can do my business elsewhere any way and it is a lot cheaper

      • Jus' Askin' says:


        • Double S says:

          1. Ignorant
          2. Ignorant
          3. Ignorant

          • Jus' Askin' says:


            • Anbu says:

              The smiley is fitting for this topic. It is funny. But not for the reason you think. U think ur being cute but all u show us is how ignorant you truly are. Lmao. No retort, so ill just stick an emoji in there. Lmfao. And stop acting like that “corner office” is yours, prob just sweep the floor lmao

    • wahoo says:

      Wow. We are f#@*ed if that is what my people think. Just wondering though if the government will compensate me for the massive depreciation in my property value. $US please….I can not afford the vineyard but $US is still a respected currency.

    • Question says:

      Oh, an ignorant racist.

      • Jus' Askin' says:

        ‘racist’ may not be the word You are looking for ;-)
        far from ignorant :-D

        • Anbu says:

          Yes ignorant cause u have to use pictures lmao. Careful. Walton is coming for u

    • Logic says:

      Sure thing. I’ve got 150 locals hired in my company that I sadly cannot bring back to the states with. You’ll hire them won’t you?

      • Jus' Askin' says:


        • LaV says:

          You’re obviously jealous…because you can’t leave! LOL

          • Jus' Askin' says:

            You Obviously don’t know I can hitch a ride ;-) ;-)

            • Question says:

              Racist idiot. Why don’t you leave, go and in some racist dump somewhere else.

              • Jus' Askin' says:

                racist to whom?

                • Question says:

                  Who exactly are you and your ilk trying to persuade to leave Bermuda?

                  • Anbu says:

                    Everyone, because they cant lmao. So upset abt being chained to this rock that he/she digs at everyone who can. They jelly lol

            • wahoo juice says:

              One thing we know is that you are an idiot. Good luck you will soon be getting everything you voted for.

            • LaV says:

              You need to hitch a ride? You need to sneak out of the country because you’re not allowed, or can’t leave?
              LOL, poor miserable you.

              corner office? or cell?

  2. WSP says:

    PLP have been in office over a year and done diddly squat,so to be expected

  3. Justin says:

    The Premier is full of sh*t!! All we read is company kes making Bermudians redundant and he’s saying we are doing better.

  4. cpm says:

    Earth to major Burt
    We are spiralling out of control and may have to land on Cayman

  5. Rocky5 says:

    Just look at how the PLP Govt are making huge payments to Dr. Brown and you have clean picture that “PLP do NOT care what the Business community thinks”- 25 – 11 is a virtual dictatorship. PLP Minister Walton Brown is individually micro managing Work Permit applications creating a system of inefficiency, chaos, confusion and completely stalled any form of sensible immigration reform

  6. The Penny Drops says:

    Ahhhh now I see why the BDA CEO resigned. He’s an apolitical, clever guy with integrity. Clearly not welcome in this environment.

  7. Ringmaster says:

    The PLP rubbished the AC 35 continuously. Yet how many young Bermudians have benefited from the Endeavour program for example? Sailing by itself is not elitist but teaches kids self respect and to live by self imposed rules, examples so many do not get at home. AC 35 had so much to offer but the PLP had to make it racist/political, to the detriment of its own people. Fintech will take away jobs not create them, at least not for most Bermudians coming through the public school system.

    • Well says:

      PLP opposes anything that is:
      1) OBA affiliated
      2) Is seen as elitist

      • Double S says:

        But yet go and hold official Party events at Tucker’s Point.

  8. Well says:

    PLP are just trying to line the pockets of their friends, family and voter base before they sink the country into the ground. Then when the country is close to being a third world all those who have been given handouts for decades will take their easily obtained wealth and disappear to the USA or UK and live lavishly while the rest of us will be left on this island to pick up the pieces. Sounds like conspiracy, but I wouldn’t put it past them.

  9. Really says:

    Toddle-of kudos to you truer words were never spoken. These blinded PLP that are from a different planet than reality are in for a big surprise. They think they do not need the foreigners here when they wake up one day to see the Bermuda dollar worth 10 cents to a USD they will see and feel then. Us intelligent realistic ones will be gone. Maybe we can drop them some food once in awhile. Carry on PLP friends and family . Oh and do not count on brother EB to give you anything. Pastor Tweed will still be preaching and collecting the thiides

    • mixitup says:

      What Bermudian or PLP supporter does not think that there is value in “Inviting” Business here and assisting their platform to success? I think they all get it, but it MUST be a mutually benificial arrangement and as the recent Chief Execs of AXA/XL and others highlighted, it is NOT!

      • Double S says:

        Set you got your daily victim hood whine out. Now lets address the facts that some PLP supporters, including yourself (as evidenced by your posts on here), are xenophobic bigots. Truth hurts, I know. But it is still the truth.

        Keep calm and whine on.

        • Toodle-oo says:

          So you picked up on that “What Bermudian or PLP supporter ..blah ,blah ” also ?
          WTF is the implication there ? Only PLP voters are Bermudians? Only a ‘Bermudian’ supports the PLP ?
          The usual garbage , as is expected.

      • Question says:

        If you want to be bigoted racists, blaming foreigners and people who don’t look l8ke you for all your problems, no one is stopping you. These days it’s actively encouraged. Look at Burch.

        But don’t expect any jobs to get created. The PLP have absolutely no idea how to do that.

  10. Wondering drifter says:

    Why do we not have organizations to help bridge the gap between the government and business? They are in need of the advice.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      There is. It is called The Chamber of Commerce. Too bad the Government does not want to listen. Also too bad there are no real successful business people in the Government. Too many know of nothing but a Government paycheck.

    • Question says:

      We have them, but the government works against it the whole time, demonizing foreigners, demonizing some people, demonizing foreign investment. And here we are, with the economy collapsing again (the PLP recession) and companies leaving.
      They won’t get away with it a second time.

  11. Earth shattering surprise says:

    Really folks. Does this surprise you at all???

    Offshore financial centers (if you haven’t been following the news) are under severe pressure. This is our bread and butter.

    The PLP have done nothing at all to stimulate the economy or address the structural issues that confront the country.

    It’s all the same tired trodden mantra of a Labour Party.

    Premier is trying to get a spark to ignite with crypto. But this is a risky strategy.

    The patient is sick and a cure is not readily forthcoming.

    Do you wonder why biz confidence is tanking.

    Have you looked at the Cayman Islands. They prosper. We need to ask ourselves why that isn’t happening in Bermuda. Some may not like the answer as it doesn’t fit the narrative.

    Blessings abound.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Davey Cryptocurrency is saying Bermuda is open for business. He needs to back it up with deeds.

  12. Rada Gast says:

    The Premier continues to trot out the blatant untruth that the deficit is down 25%. It isn’t.

    The rate of increase in the deficit is down 25%.

    The electorate need to start calling out this use of false statistics every time it happens.

  13. sandgrownan says:

    Declining population is the biggest issue. We simply do not have enough people to support the debt.

    Coupled with anti-foreigner rhetoric and the capricious nature of the Dept of Immigration, you can see why confidence is falling.

    Bitcoin Dave is panicking, and so he should, he needs to get a handle on this quickly.

  14. Joe Bloggs says:

    “The Premier concluded, “The Business Confidence Index is one benchmark for Bermuda. We can measure our future successes against where we stand today.”

    Why not use 2014 as our benchmark?