The 15th annual STEP Private Client Awards will take place on December 9, 2020 at a black tie event in London,UK, on 9 December 2020.

All entries undergo a rigorous judging process with up to five finalists in each category. Judges are supported by an independent panel of experts comprising of internationally renowned practitioners in the wealth management arena.

Entries for the STEP Private Client Awards 2020/21 are now open, view categories and criteria. The deadline for submissions has been extended to 26 June due to COVID-19.


From 29 June, the Cayman Islands Registrar of Companies will have authority to impose fines for breach of the beneficial-ownership-reporting regime.

Under amendments to the Companies Law (2020 Revision) and the Limited Liability Companies Law (2020 Revision), non-exempt companies and limited liability companies must take reasonable steps to identify beneficial owners and provide their particulars to their Cayman Islands corporate service providers. Companies claiming exemption from the regime must provide written confirmation of this exemption.

Beneficial owners and other entities in the ownership and control structures of entities that are within the regime’s scope must cooperate in providing relevant information to the relevant in-scope entities, or be liable to the fines now being introduced.

The penalties start at USD6,100 for the initial breach. Continuing breaches will attract further monthly fines of USD1,220, up to a maximum of USD30,500 for a single breach. Companies that fail to pay within 90 days may be struck off the register and dissolved.

‘It is now important for all companies and limited liability companies to review their compliance with the beneficial ownership regime’, commented law firm Maples. This includes the accuracy of any beneficial ownership register or written confirmation of exemption maintained with their corporate services provider in the Cayman Islands.


By Dart Real Estate

As Much Of The World Shelters In Place In Response To The COVID-19 Pandemic, Many Are Considering And/Or Re-Evaluating Future Plans For Their Place Of Residency And Retirement. We Spoke To Advisors About Why So Many High-Net-Worth Individuals Choose The Cayman Islands As Their Home Base.

Since our shareholder Ken Dart relocated his global headquarters and family office to the Cayman Islands over 25 years ago, other wealthy international families have chosen the Cayman Islands for residency and retirement.

Many of the reasons why Ken Dart selected the British Overseas Territory then hold true today, except to say that the Cayman Islands has now become an even more attractive proposition. Two leading international private client lawyers, Hal Webb and Matthew Sperry, explain why Cayman is the first choice for relocation, retirement or residency by investment for many of their clients.

Hal Webb is a partner and head of international private client services with Bilzin Sumberg, based in Miami, Florida. Most of Hal’s clients are from Latin America, and he also has many clients from Europe, Asia, Canada and other parts of the world. Hal is a member of Legal Week’s Private Client Global Elite, ranked in the leading international legal directories and a member of the Florida Super Lawyers and The Best Lawyers in America for tax law, trusts, and estates.

Matthew Sperry is a partner in the international private client team with Katten, based out of New York and Chicago. He is a member of the Legal Week Private Client Global Elite, ranked in the leading international leading directories and part of the Global Leaders Forum for wealth management.

Both work with international clients and families looking to relocate from their home jurisdiction for a variety of reasons including estate planning, tax planning, security issues, socio-political issues, lifestyle reasons or retirement.

“For full-time movers, a relocation is sometimes tax-driven or for retirement. Cayman is a great place if you want a peaceful lifestyle, beautiful beaches and modern amenities. That really appeals to people – as they want to have all the high-level amenities they are used to, yet live on a Caribbean island, and still be relatively close to their former home.”

Hal Webb
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RBC In Camana Bay

“For US retirees there can be some tax advantages with a permanent relocation to Cayman. US persons can escape high state taxes, including property and sales taxes. In addition, some of the individual states impose death taxes, and if you take up residence in Cayman you are not going to be subjected to that either.”

Matthew Sperry comments specifically on what US retirees are looking for.

Cayman’s stable government, economy, and strong rule of law also feature in the jurisdiction’s appeal. Sperry explains: “Most clients are looking for stability and they want to know there is strong rule of law. We see a lot of Latin American families, Middle Eastern families and Asian families who are very concerned about that aspect.

“Cayman is underpinned by English common law, and it has an excellent judiciary with specialist judges who are accustomed to dealing with cross-border, international matters. That gives people a level of confidence that you don’t get from some other jurisdictions.”

Webb agrees: “Many people settle on Cayman, over the other Caribbean islands, because it is a sizable financial centre and a safe place to live. I think very highly of the professional community in Cayman, and believe there is a great deal of brain power there. That is probably one of the reasons why many family offices have recently moved their operations to Cayman.”

Sperry also highlights Cayman’s reputation as a world-leading financial centre and investment hub: “Cayman is a great base for investment, which is appealing to many wealthy international families. It’s a very sophisticated, international finance hub, and gives wealthy families access to all the international markets whilst giving the benefit of being positioned offshore.”

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Scotiabank In Camana Bay

Cayman’s recent success as a hub for relocating wealthy international families was highlighted by Webb, who stated: “There has been a lot of immigration into the Cayman Islands over the last couple of years. I was there in January, and all the professionals I spoke with were talking about the number of Canadians and Americans moving to Cayman or buying property there. There appears to be a strong commitment to continuing to build out world-class amenities and infrastructure that organisations like Dart are making – and that only makes it even more appealing.”

Webb adds: “I have even seen some people who are not planning to reside in Cayman now, but buy property there, because they are preparing in advance to eventually retire in Cayman.”

Sperry added: “The quality of the real estate inventory in Cayman is very high and built to the highest standards of construction. Cayman does a great job, and their building codes are equivalent to places like Florida. The investment that Dart has put into the islands over the last 10 years has really upped the ante and made Cayman even more attractive.”

In terms of Cayman’s residency by investment options for mobile, wealthy international families, Sperry believes Cayman is ahead of the game: “Cayman’s residency by investment programmes, whether you are investing in a business or a private residence, are very straightforward. If you compare Cayman’s commercial investment programme with, for example, the USA’s EB-5 scheme, Cayman looks very favourable. The investment you make in a US business through EB-5 can be a long and convoluted process and ultimately the investment has to be commercially successful, whereas in Cayman you make the investment in a business and you are in. It’s even simpler if you make an investment in residential property.”

If all this sounds appealing, the path to obtaining permanent residency in the Cayman Islands is a straightforward process and the team at Provenance Properties, the official Christie’s Real Estate affiliate in the Cayman Islands, can help find the perfect property.

For example, purchasing this three-bedroom luxury beach home at The Residences at Seafire, which offers optional turnkey furniture packages from Restoration Hardware, qualifies buyers to apply for Cayman Islands residency if all other requirements are met. The Provenance Properties team has a wide range of other luxury listings from stunning stand-alone family homes to convenient beachfront condos.

To gain comprehensive information about relocation to the Cayman Islands, we recommend you contact a Cayman Islands-based law firm, and there are several who have specialist teams focusing on this area of expertise. These law firms can also assist in guiding you through the process should you wish to proceed on the path to Cayman Islands residency.

For more information please contact


The Cayman Islands government has further extended the deadline for filing 2019 reports under the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) to 16 November 2020.

The deferral is possible because of the US government’s recent deadline relaxations due to the coronavirus outbreak. It is giving so-called Model-1 jurisdictions until 31 December 2020 to provide their FATCA data for tax year 2019/20.

The Cayman Islands has already deferred reporting under the OECD Common Reporting Standard (CRS) system to 18 September for the 2019 reporting period. Its Department for International Tax Cooperation (DITC) says it is not currently proposing to make any further changes to this deadline. However, it says it is ‘monitoring the international landscape carefully’ and will consider any appropriate adjustments if other international deadlines are modified.

The Cayman Islands government is keen for the industry to meet its CRS filing obligations, as it is currently undergoing a peer review assessment by the OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (the Forum).

As well as filing CRS data, financial institutions and trustee-documented trusts will also have to file CRS compliance forms by 31 December 2020, and annually thereafter. Although the deadline is some way off, the Ministry of Financial Services notes that it is a critical component of the Forum’s peer-review process.


By Dart Real Estate

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Before Robin Goodman of RBC Wealth Management Financial Services Inc. left Canada to participate in the STEP Cayman Conference on 23-24 January at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, she was told her by colleagues in the Cayman office that it was going to be “super cold” here during her stay. So she packed her heavy winter jacket for the trip.

“Your idea of super cold is much different than mine,” she said with a smile to the conference attendees while serving as one of the panelists in a breakout session titled “Family offices — what makes them work in the Cayman Islands.”

Robin Goodman of RBC Wealth Management Financial Services Inc.

The Cayman Islands’ appealing winter weather aside, the four panellists for the family office breakout session all offered numerous other reasons why the jurisdiction is attractive for domiciling family offices.

Dart VP Business Development Chris Duggan, who served as moderator for the panel, listed the factors that enticed Ken Dart to create a family office here on Grand Cayman back in 1993 — factors that still exist, or have been improved upon, today.

Duggan said some of those factors included tax neutrality; the safety and security on the islands, both in terms of personal security and investment security;  a politically stable government in a British Overseas Territory that is governed by English Common Law; good infrastructure in relation to a reliable, fibre-based network for communications; strong building infrastructure to provide safe places to live and work; proximity to the United States with abundant airlift to North American cities; good healthcare; a time zone that made it easy to communicate and conduct business with people located in North America and Western Europe; and best-in-class service providers including accountants, lawyers, trust practitioners and others in the financial services industry.

“Having all of those factors working in unison is what really sets Cayman apart from some other jurisdictions,” Duggan said.

For panellist Alex Leman, who is in the process of creating  a family office on Grand Cayman, all of the factors Duggan listed as important to Ken Dart were also important to him.

“Every one of those variables you just mentioned is a consideration to me,” he said.

Leman noted that in Ken Dart’s case, his establishing a family office on Grand Cayman and then actively investing here actually contributed to the improvement of the factors that attracted him to the Cayman Islands in the first place.

“I think that speaks to the trajectory of Cayman,” he said. “Cayman has strengths that are foundational and growing.”

Leman also lavished praise on the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, the regulator of the financial services industry.

“The regulatory relationship here is the best I’ve ever worked with,” he said, adding that financial service providers can propose new and sophisticated structures to the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and have the professionals working there understand and discuss those structures, all the while being effective and diligent regulators.

Having top-notch talent in the public sector is only one aspect of the talent that lives and works on Grand Cayman, making it ideal to domicile a family office, Leman said. “Some of the smartest people I know are here in Cayman,” he said.


Earlier in the discussion, the panellists were asked to give their own definition of a family office.

Leman quoted an old friend in the industry who liked to say, “If you’ve seen one family office, you’ve seen one family office.” That’s because by the very nature of the structures and family dynamics, they’re all different.

“There is no one definition of a family office,” said panellist Sonia Park-Root of RBC Wealth Management Canada. “A family office’s purpose is driven by what the family office is trying to accomplish.”

In general, however, family offices are formed to ensure wealth stays in a family over generations. However, Park-Root said wealth isn’t about only financial capital, but also intellectual capital, human capital and even social capital.

“All families have different dynamics and some are more challenging than others,” Park-Root said. “But I think the most successful family offices are those that have structures in place to deal with family dynamics.”

Speaking about the global regulatory challenge facing family offices, Goodman said in times past, people could live in one country and have their wealth domiciled in another.

“That’s changed dramatically,” she said. “Now, you go with your money to a jurisdiction. What people are really looking for now is a jurisdiction with a history of having to deal with wealth and with families, and one which has the trust professionals to do that.”

Cayman fits that bill, all the panellists agreed, and Leman spoke to the trust professionals aspect of that in particular.

“The sheer talent pool of people in Cayman who can serve as trustees is unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been.”

This Article Originally Appeared In The February 2020 Print Edition Of Camana Bay Times With The Headline “Why Cayman For Family Offices.”


Further key changes to the Cayman Islands anti-money laundering (AML) regulations were gazetted on 5 February.

The amendments address some recommendations made by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) in last year’s mutual evaluation report on the jurisdiction’s AML regime. The CFATF report, published in March 2019, prompted the Cayman Islands government to appoint a dedicated task force to create and execute a comprehensive action plan to correct the report’s highlighted ‘strategic deficiencies’.

As part of this effort, 11 Bills were presented to the Legislative Assembly in July 2019. With the CFATF’s February 2020 deadline now imminent the new measures are being rushed into force.

The latest amendments to the Cayman Islands Anti-Money Laundering Regulations (2020) include:

  • abolition of the ‘equivalent jurisdiction list’ as a factor in whether Cayman Islands entities carrying on ‘relevant financial business’ must apply simplified due-diligence to an entity applying to do business with them. From 5 August 2020, financial services providers will have to make these decisions by conducting risk assessments on the applicant that will need to be recorded on the customer file;
  • application of a 10 per cent beneficial ownership threshold. The regulations require identification and verification of beneficial owners of legal persons at a threshold of only 10 per cent, unless simplified due-diligence is applicable. Although the threshold in many jurisdictions of service providers that carry out AML functions for Cayman Islands entities is 25 per cent, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority has now made clear that there is no basis for deviating from the statutory 10 per cent threshold for corporate entities and partnerships;
  • the know your customer (KYC) confirmations provided by an eligible introducer must now list the applicant for business being introduced, and (for non-natural persons) their beneficial owners. Financial service providers must monitor the relevant customers and beneficial owners and screen them against applicable sanctions lists; and
  • the AML regulations now require financial service providers to have procedures to ensure compliance with relevant targeted financial sanctions obligations, and identifying assets subject to applicable targeted financial sanctions.