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Published 14th March 2005, 3:1pm

14 March 2005 - George Town, Grand Cayman - A report released today by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) assessing regulation within the Cayman Islands' banking, insurance and securities industries and anti-money laundering regime has recognised the jurisdiction's comprehensive regulatory and compliance frameworks.

"An extensive program of legislative, rule and guideline development has introduced an increasingly effective system of regulation, both formalising earlier practices and introducing enhanced procedures," noted the assessment team in the executive summary of the two-volume report.

The report further stated that "the supervisory system benefits from a well-developed banking infrastructure with an internationally experienced and qualified workforce as well as experienced lawyers, accountants and auditors," adding that, "the overall compliance culture within Cayman is very strong, including the compliance culture related to AML [anti money-laundering] obligations..."

Kenneth Jefferson, Financial Secretary, Cayman Islands Government provided the following comment on the IMF assessment. "Government, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) and industry leaders have worked in partnership over time to build a quality financial services centre that operates well within accepted international standards. I am pleased to see that the quality of our service providers and CIMA personnel was evident to the assessors."

The IMF assessment provides useful recommendations within each area of assessment that will be reviewed among Government, CIMA and the financial services industry with the aim of continuing to uphold recognised international standards.

CIMA Managing Director Cindy Scotland stated, "It is very rewarding that the findings of the IMF report are substantially consistent with CIMA's own prior self-assessment," she said. "This evaluation by the IMF demonstrates how well the Cayman Islands' approach to supervision and regulation is working, by ensuring the right balance between the interests of government, the regulator, the international community and the financial services industry."

The IMF assessors also recognised Cayman's anti money-laundering (ML) and anti-terrorist financing (TF) initiatives. "A sound legal basis and robust legal framework for combating ML and TF has resulted from major regulatory revisions and improvements in the past four years...," stated the IMF assessors. "An intense awareness of AML/CFT is supported by a sound supervisory program. The Cayman Islands has been a leader in developing anti-money laundering programs throughout the Caribbean region."

The Hon. Sam Bulgin, Attorney General of the Cayman Islands welcomed the IMF's endorsement. "I am fortified by the overall strong evaluation Cayman gained on AML/CFT compliance. The review was time-intensive on both sides and the IMF's third-party assessment is important both for clearly recognising what we have achieved and how we can continue to demonstrate leadership in the AML/CFT area on a global basis."

Both volumes of the IMF report on the Cayman Islands are available through the IMF Web site at www.imf.org or via a link on the Government's main Web page at www.gov.ky. The on-site assessment was carried out during a two-week mission from 29 September to 10 October 2003. The assessment evaluated the Cayman Islands against Basel Committee, International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards. The assessment team was comprised of a cross-section of experts from both the IMF and the global financial services industry.

About the Cayman Islands Financial Services Industry

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 and assets under management. The industry encompasses banking, trust services, mutual funds, insurance, vessel registration, capital markets products and the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange.

The Cayman Islands Government has been continuously working both domestically and internationally to maintain a strong regulatory and compliance framework. Domestically, this includes adherence to the FATF international anti-money laundering standards and the Basel Committee, IOSCO and IAIS global standards in the regulation of financial services and updates to governing legislation. Internationally, this includes bilateral mutual co-operation arrangements such as the mutual legal assistance treaty with the U.S. and various regulatory co-operation arrangements maintained by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority.

Note to Editors:

Additional fact sheets and backgrounders summarizing the banking, securities, insurance and AML/CFT sections of the report are available.

 

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