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Published 19th April 2007, 1:1pm

George Town, Grand Cayman – 16 March 2007 – The General Registry of the Cayman Islands Government introduced this week an Arabic language facility, to enable registration and other certificates to be issued bearing the company name in both Arabic and English.

The service enhancement was an outcome of a roundtable on Islamic Finance convened by the Portfolio of Finance & Economics recently, which included representatives from the Cayman Islands Government, Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) and private sector professionals with specialist capabilities in capital markets products to consider ways in which Cayman could specifically cater to the Islamic market.

“This customisation of our Registry service for a market of growing importance to us is an indication of our commitment to innovation and quality, and we look forward to expertly catering to Islamic finance structures for the long term,” said Deborah Drummond, Deputy Financial Secretary (Financial Services), Cayman Islands Government. “I’d like to thank, in particular, the leadership at the General Registry and the local office of the Saad Group for making the new Arabic language facility a reality so quickly.”

Charles Quin, QC, President of the Cayman Islands Law Society said: “The ability of the Cayman Islands to quickly implement service enhancements such as the Arabic language facility is a clear indicator of the jurisdiction’s swiftness in responding to commercial opportunities, such as the growth of Islamic finance. Enhancements such as these also help contribute to the worldclass quality of financial services providers that exist in the Cayman Islands.”

The Cayman Islands is fast becoming the leading offshore jurisdiction for Islamic finance structures, which have a current estimated market size of between $250 billion and $500 billion1. Specifically, Cayman Islands institutions have become experts in structuring “sukuks,” bond issues that comport with Shari’a law, which prohibits interest payments and requires tangible assets or equity to be used as collateral.

Sukuks that are developed and marketed in the Middle East predominantly use Cayman Islandsdomiciled issuers over other jurisdictions. Cayman’s established legal regime, competitive costs, efficient turnaround and professional infrastructure are strong incentives for financial institutions to structure finance vehicles in Cayman. In addition, the Cayman Islands’ strong reputation in the world of global finance is a significant advantage in securing the desired bond listings and ratings.

A ground-breaking $600 million sukuk, structured in Cayman, was successfully closed in February 2007. The sukuk was established for the Dar Al Arkan Real Estate development company, a leading residential real estate developer in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The landmark three-year issue marks the first sukuk issued by a Saudi corporate in the international capital markets. The issue was heavily subscribed, with many western investors, particularly hedge funds, attracted to the diversification and strong asset backing provided by a rated Islamic bond.

About the Cayman Islands Financial Services Sector

Building on 40 years of steady, consistent growth, the Cayman Islands financial services industry continues to be one of the top ranked in the world in terms of quality, business integrity and assets under management. The industry encompasses banking, trust services, mutual funds, insurance, vessel and aircraft registration, capital markets products and the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange.

 

For more information, please contact the Financial Services Secretariat at (345) 945-5819 or via email at financepr@gov.ky.