Bermuda’s pint-size parameters can deceive the uninitiated. It almost defies belief that an Atlantic jurisdiction of just 21 square miles could rank amongst the globe’s top three reinsurance centres, or support a half million jobs worldwide. Yet the island’s diminutive physical scale belies its substantial economic impact — one that is only increasing amid an evolving regulatory landscape and rapid globalisation. Innovation and collaboration are key to Bermuda’s corporate success, and agile teamwork between Bermuda’s industry, government and regulator underscores Bermuda’s status as a top-tier international financial centre. The island’s gross domestic product is on the rise along with jobs growth, and the jurisdiction is witnessing new investment and company incorporations across all sectors. This oldest of British Overseas Territories has long leveraged a combination of unique elements to punch above its weight economically. Bermuda’s location 650 miles off the U.S. east coast positions the island conveniently between North American and European markets, with direct daily flights to key cities. Its regulatory structure is robust and pragmatic. A TAX-NEUTRAL SYSTEM Bermuda’s unique tax-neutral system, designed more than a century ago to support its own infrastructure, does not differentiate between foreign and local enterprises. And unlike many other offshore jurisdictions, it does not qualify as a “tax haven” under official definitions. Instead, Bermuda’s many tax-transparency treaties, beneficial-ownership register, and bricks-and-mortar businesses underscore its blue-chip status as a place to do genuine business. Tax relief is not the primary reason for Bermuda’s attraction to most global companies, however; rather, the island’s worldrespected regulation, its compliance with antimoney laundering and anti-terrorism financing standards, its one-stop-shop appeal and the speed to market it offers are the key drivers. Bermuda’s infrastructure is advanced, including excellent telecommunications and a fully electronic stock exchange. A full member of the World Federation of Exchanges and affiliate member of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX) is recognised for commercially sensible listing requirements. It represents a leading market for the listing of investment funds, debt and insurancerelated securities, and those of small to medium enterprise firms. WORLD-CLASS TALENT The island is home to a wealth of world-class talent. Leading (Big Four) accounting firms, along with auditors, financial advisers, lawyers, IT specialists, actuaries, re/ insurance underwriters, brokers, fund administrators, corporate secretaries and a full gamut of support services are located within the two-square-mile City of Hamilton. These quality financial intermediaries have a decades-long history of collaboration, which differentiates Bermuda. Established in 1969, the world-respected Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) underpins Bermuda’s success as a top financial services centre. Responsible for overseeing all financial enterprises, as well as issuing the island’s currency, the BMA works closely with industry, government and international regulatory bodies to keep its approach responsive and contemporary. Importantly, the BMA’s sophistication as a commercial insurance regulator speeds capital to markets to take on global insurance risk. Responsive legislative updates also keep Bermuda at the forefront of corporate governance. The island’s courts are more than 400 years old — a testament to a rich and trailblazing legal history. Bermuda’s court system can claim the distinctive legacy of having the oldest unbroken British roots outside the British Isles, a legacy grounded in English common law with recourse all the way as London’s Privy Council. More leading global law firms are setting up offices in the jurisdiction in recent years, joining legal powerhouses already established. All these factors have come together to create a unique marketplace. Amid the pastel buildings, balconies and palm-lined sidewalks of Hamilton, global business is being done daily to the tune of billions of dollars. Bermuda’s international business (or, “IB”) sector counts an estimated 3,700 international business employees — including 2,000 (60 percent) Bermudians — who contribute directly to all economic sectors, from retail to transport. More than 60 percent of Bermuda’s vital foreign revenues can be attributed to this IB activity. Bermuda’s economic model also supports close to 500,000 jobs globally, creating and supporting jobs in its onshore trading partners. This includes an estimated 300,000 jobs in the U.S., 30,000 in Canada, and 70,000 in the U.K. through trade, foreign direct investment and portfolio investment capacity — facilitating economic globalisation AN INSURANCE HUB The biggest engine for Bermuda’s own economy is the insurance industry, which traces its roots back to the 1960s, when the world’s first captive (or self-insurance) companies were established. Today, Bermuda is the captive market’s global leader, with 800 companies generating nearly $50 billion in annual gross written premiums. Insuring the risks of Fortune 500 companies, captives are becoming increasingly popular tools for wealth preservation and succession planning for high-net-worth individuals and family offices. The mid-1980s saw the establishment of global commercial insurers and reinsurers, followed in the 1990s and early 2000s by consecutive capital-rich waves of “big cats” — or property-catastrophe specialist firms. These followed high-severity events like Florida’s Hurricane Andrew and 9/11, providing critical capacity to the insurance marketplace and transforming Bermuda as a result. Ranked with New York and London as an insurance hub, Bermuda has the most important property and catastrophe market and is the largest supplier of catastrophe reinsurance to the U.S.; over the past 12 years, Bermuda insurers and reinsurers contributed $35 billion in catastrophe claims payments to U.S. clients; and the island also provides 35 percent of capacity for Lloyd’s of London. What does that mean to onshore communities? It represents a significant role by Bermuda in the rebuilding of cities and communities after the world’s worst disasters. Examples include the fact that Bermuda’s reinsurers paid nearly a third of insured losses from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma in 2004–2005; a quarter of Canada’s Fort McMurray, Alberta, wildfires losses in 2016; more than half of New Zealand’s 2010 earthquake liabilities; and a whopping 62 percent of the U.K.’s largest peacetime fire and explosion — the Buncefield oil-terminal fires of 2005. Significantly, Bermuda insurers also make up a quarter of America’s medical liability insurance and reinsurance market. In the past decade, the island’s track record as a catalyst for change in the industry has continued, with the rise of alternative risk financing via “cat” bonds, insurancelinked securities (ILS) and other financial instruments merging insurance with capital markets. Today, Bermuda has the largest depository of ILS listings — almost $20 billion, or three-quarters of global capacity. Bermuda’s stature as an insurance capital was underscored in 2016, when the island became one of just two non- European Union jurisdictions to win full equivalency under Europe’s Solvency II Directive regulating re/insurers. The decision by the European Parliament highlighted its faith in the BMA’s ability to regulate to the highest standards. MORE THAN INSURANCE Insurance is not the only industry powering Bermuda’s economy, though. The domicile was one of the first international trust jurisdictions and today is a premier centre for trusts, wealth-management and private-client structures, and family offices. It is also a major asset management centre, with numerous funds, fund managers and fund administration companies represented. Ship owners and ship-management companies also form a key sector, along with a full range of maritime services; and Bermuda’s registry for superyachts, tankers, cruise ships and vessels of all types is renowned as a Class 1 member of the prestigious British Red Ensign Group. The island’s aircraft registry is similarly known since its establishment in 1931 for high safety standards and regulatory oversight. Numerous new industries are also choosing Bermuda as a home jurisdiction, diversifying the island’s economy. Technology startups, bio-med companies, e-commerce entities and nearshore initiatives are attracted by the same advantages that have helped the more traditional industries of insurance and financial services flourish here for decades. Helping attract new industry and support established sectors is the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA), a public-private unit established in 2013. The agency acts as a business concierge, proactively targeting investment and connecting new prospects with industry, government and regulatory bodies to make setting up in Bermuda a smooth process. MOVING TO PARADISE Relocating to Bermuda may sound like a dream, but there are several ways that you can make it come true. Bermuda has one of the highest expat populations of any country in the world. People choose to relocate here for many reasons, including attractive work opportunities, safe living conditions, overall quality of life and, of course, the island’s incredible natural beauty. If you’re about to call Bermuda your new home, there are tips and tactics to make your transition all the sweeter. WORK PERMITS For most people who relocate to Bermuda, it’s their employer that takes care of the work permit logistics. Non-Bermudians are required to have a government work permit to work on the island, and standard permits are usually issued for periods of up to six years (with options for renewal). Once your work permit’s been secured, you can finally start settling into island life. FINDING A PLACE TO LIVE Whilst the standard of living is very high in Bermuda, life here is quite different from what you may be used to “back home.” Home ownership, for starters, isn’t an option for most people who relocate to Bermuda. Only a select number of high-value properties are available for non-Bermudians to purchase, so most people who relocate here usually rent a house or apartment during their stay. Rents are very expensive, since accommodation is in high demand. Good places to see what’s out there and available are The Royal Gazette and the local website emoo.bm. Consider working with a real estate agent, too, to help narrow your search. And once you’ve found a new home, head to emoo.bm to furnish it with pre-loved stuff. Since people are always coming and going on Bermuda, there’s a constant flow of quality goods being exchanged. CREATURE COMFORTS Sometimes all it takes is watching a programme from your home country to stave off the homesickness. And that’s where One Communications comes to the rescue with packages that will have you tuning in to your favourite series and sports programmes from back home. GETTING AROUND Bermuda is compact and well-serviced by public busses and ferries, but chances are you’ll want to get around more independently if you plan to stay awhile. To minimise road traffic, only one car is allowed per household; and you must have a property assessment number to show in order to complete your purchase (proving it’s the only vehicle owned at that site). Expect to pay high annual licencing fees for the right to have a car (upwards of $600). Many expats opt for scooters instead, since they have no limitation number per household and cost about $3,000. Having a scooter eases parking hassles, too; and you can often find good bargains on secondhand rides on emoo.bm. If you’re relocating to Bermuda, you’ll need to get a Bermuda licence (non-Bermudian licences are only valid for rental scooters). The process is straightforward, and you can apply in person at the Transportation Control Department. GROCERIES Supermarkets are spread across the island and are usually open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Most anything you eat here (apart from much of the locally caught seafood, of course) is imported, and you can expect to pay at least twice what you do for groceries in North America and most European countries. MIND YOUR WATER! Water usage on the island blindsides many new arrivals. Since there’s no freshwater source in Bermuda, your roof is the catchall for whatever ends up in your water tank (and thus coming out of your shower and sinks). You’ll learn to use water more conservatively here. You can pay to fill up your tanks if you run out, of course; but if you’ve waited till the last minute to order more during a dry period, it’s quite possible you’ll have to wait. SETTLING IN Your best bet on feeling at home here is by making new friends. Many people who’ve relocated to Bermuda pitch in on volunteer projects, a great way to meet new people and learn new skills. There are many clubs aimed at uniting expats, including American Ladies in Bermuda, L’Alliance Française des Bermudes, Emerald Isle Society, Circulo Hispanico and the International Women’s Club of Bermuda. And it wouldn’t be island life without some watering holes to pop into for friendly banter. Favourites include Blû Bar & Grill, Bulli.Social, Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, Harry’s, Port O’ Call and Swizzle Inn. All are safe bets for good times with worldly citizens and new arrivals to Bermuda. Raise a glass and say cheers to your new life! BERMUDA BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (BDA) Maxwell Roberts Building, 6th Floor 1 Church St., Hamilton Tel: 292-0632 Website: bda.bm The BDA encourages direct investment and helps companies start up, relocate or expand their operations in its premier jurisdiction. An independent, public-private partnership, the BDA connects investors and businesses to industry professionals, regulatory officials and key contacts in the Bermuda government to assist domicile decisions. Its goal is to make doing business here smooth and beneficial BERMUDA MONETARY AUTHORITY BMA House 43 Victoria St., Hamilton Tel: 295-5278 Website: bma.bm The Bermuda Monetary Authority is the regulator of Bermuda’s financial services industry. Established by statute in 1969, the authority has changed significantly over almost five decades to adapt to changing needs of the financial sector and global regulatory requirements. Today, it supervises and regulates financial institutions operating in Bermuda. Additional responsibilities include issuing Bermuda’s national currency, managing exchange control transactions, assisting other agencies with the detection and prevention of financial crime, and advising the government on banking and other financial and monetary matters. The authority develops risk-based financial regulations that it applies to the supervision of Bermuda’s banks, trust companies, investment businesses, investment funds, fund administrators, money service businesses, corporate service providers and insurance companies. It also regulates the Bermuda Stock Exchange. BERMUDA PHILATELIC BUREAU Bermuda Post Office 56 Church St., Hamilton Tel: 297-7865 Website: gov.bm Other philatelic agencies and bureaus function as separate businesses apart from local postal services, whereas the Bermuda Philatelic Bureau is a department of the Bermuda Post Office. The primary function of the bureau has been to provide sufficient stamps for the general use of the post. It has always been the BPB’s endeavour to keep in mind the philatelic collector and stamp enthusiast to ensure that stamps produced will be appealing and interesting. Issues for 2017 include 50th Anniversary Duke of Edinburgh Awards, 25th Anniversary Bermuda National Gallery (March), Tall Ships Bermuda 2017 (June), Longest Reigning Sovereign (August), Bermuda National Trust-Historical Buildings (October) and Presentation Pack 2017 (December). BERMUDA STOCK EXCHANGE (BSX) 30 Victoria St., 3rd Floor, Hamilton Tel: 292-7212 Website: bsx.com Established in 1971, the Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX) is now the world’s leading fully electronic offshore securities market, with a current market capitalisation (excluding mutual funds) in excess of $325 billion. There are 750 securities listed on the BSX, of which more than 300 are offshore funds and alternative investment structures. The BSX has emerged as a market leader for the listing of Catastrophe Bonds with more than 159 listed vehicles representing over 70 percent of the global issuances. Trading occurs daily, and settlement is on a rolling T+3 basis using BEST, the BSX’s central-limitorder- book trading mechanism, which is integrated tightly with the exchange’s clearing, settlement and depository platforms. The BSX’s technology partner is NASDAQ/OMX. The success of the BSX lies in its innovative approach to new products and markets and its ability to offer a commercially sensible regulatory environment. The exchange specialises in the listing and trading of capital market instruments such as equities, debt issues, funds (including hedge-fund structures), derivative warrant programmes and insurance-linked securities, including catastrophe bonds. The BSX, recognised by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as a designated offshore securities market, is a full member of the World Federation of Exchanges and is located in an OECD member nation. In recent developments, the BSX was granted Approved Stock Exchange Status under Australia’s Foreign Investment Fund taxation rules; Designated Investment Exchange status by the U.K.’s Financial Services Authority; and, in December 2007, was granted Recognised Stock Exchange status by the U.K.’s HM Revenue and Customs. In February 2008, the BSX was admitted to membership in the Americas’ Central Securities Depositories Association. In 2011, the BSX was recognised by the Canadian Ministry of Finance as a Designated Stock Exchange. Also in 2011, the TMX Group, operators of the Toronto Stock Exchange, made a strategic investment in the BSX. DEPARTMENT OF E-COMMERCE — MINISTRY OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Tel: 294-2774 Website: gov.bm Digital and economic progress go hand in hand. The Department of E-Commerce’s mandate focuses on promoting the key role that technology plays as a powerful driver in helping to achieve many of the economic, social and environmental objectives of the country. Leveraging the benefits of technology and remaining current in the areas of technology-related policies and legislation will help to move Bermuda’s society forwards and provide benefits and opportunities for all stakeholders. The Department of E-Commerce also provides information to those wishing to set up an e-business in Bermuda. DIGICEL BUSINESS 5th Floor, Washington House, Phase III 16 Church St., Hamilton Tel: 500-5090 Website: digicelbusiness.bm Digicel Business delivers the right business solutions, across all company sizes and sectors. They work in partnership to improve efficiency, provide security and reduce cost. If you are looking for Bermuda’s leader in innovative communication solutions that enable you to connect more profitably with customers, suppliers and communities, contact their team today. ELBOW BEACH CYCLES LTD. Elbow Beach Bermuda Resort & Spa 60 South Shore Rd., Paget Tel: 296-2300 Website: elbowbeachcycles.com Why follow the crowd when you can discover Bermuda’s hidden coves and dazzling pink-sand beaches for yourself? And in high style. Pick from the island’s newest and most advanced rental fleet, and then put yourself in the laid-back island mood with their industry-leading YouDrive™ tuition. For the widest choice of gas scooters, electric scooters, hybrid electric bikes and mountain bikes, and the most reassuring safety record on the island, book online or call today. ELECTRONIC SERVICES LIMITED 26 Harvey Rd., Paget Tel: 236-3885 Website: electronicservices.bm Electronic Services Limited is an audiovisual company with more than 30 years of experience. The firm provides technical support and equipment to major hotels, small properties and corporate offices in Bermuda. Electronic Services Limited has worked with many large overseas production companies and meeting planners to provide custom services for clients with conventions and video conferences in Bermuda. ONE COMMUNICATIONS Head Office: 30 Victoria St., Hamilton Website: onecomm.bm Introducing One Communications. The newly branded combination of Bermuda’s premier mobile, TV and internet service providers now offers all of your telecommunications needs under one roof. With this growth in available services comes the island’s best lineup of smartphones along with its first state-of-the-art fibre optic network: Fibre Wire. Experience super-fast internet speeds, the island’s largest HDTV channel lineup plus Pay Per View and Video On Demand options. Businesses across the island, large and small, will also receive specialised attention from a dedicated Business Solutions team who understand what is needed in today’s competitive markets. The focus on customer care and their innovative approach to helping businesses succeed are signature benefits demonstrating how One gives you more. WASHINGTON PROPERTIES (BERMUDA) LIMITED Church and Reid Streets, Hamilton Tel: 295-4186 Website: washingtonproperties.bm The perfect location from which to conduct business can be found in the “Heart of Hamilton.” Washington Properties, located between Church and Reid Streets, have offices available from 200 square feet to 15,000 square feet. Washington House, the newest member of Washington Properties, built in 2010, offers concierge service and security access to the building. The offices accommodate local and international businesses, whilst the retail outlets offer a variety of products and services to both residents and visitors. Within easy walking distance to financial and legal services, transportation, parking, restaurants and shopping, it is hard to find a better location.
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