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  REPORT - BERMUDA. The island of innovation
 

A STRATEGIC LOCATION AT THE CROSSROADS OF THE U.S. AND EUROPE, WORLD-CLASS INFRASTRUCTURE AND KEEPING ONE STEP AHEAD WITH FLEXIBILITY AND QUALITY HAVE PUT BERMUDA ON A PAR WITH NEW YORK AND LONDON AS A SOPHISTICATED INSURANCE CAPITAL
A jurisdiction of choice for business and tourism

Celebrating its 500th anniversary this year, Bermuda has much to be delighted about as the world’s attention is increasingly drawn to this small archipelago. In recent years the island has transformed itself into a world-class blue-chip financial center; it enjoys one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, is home to 75% of Fortune 500 companies and has become a global leader in high-stakes risk financing. With a government intent on remaining at the cutting edge of international business services and ensuring that Bermudians share in the opportunities this provides, continued economic prosperity seems assured.

Tourism and financial services make up the bulk of the country’s economy, accounting for more than 70% of GDP. Just a two-hour flight from New York, Bermuda has capitalized on its strategic location at the crossroads of Europe and America by implementing an efficient and business-friendly environment that has propelled the island to fame as the world’s risk capital.

Over 50 years of servicing the international business community has contributed to the development of a world-class-service infrastructure. Bermuda boasts top international legal firms, as well as reputable accounting firms and a strong banking system. Add to this state-of-the-art communications systems and high intellectual capacity and Bermuda has everything that international business leaders need and some things that they don’t - an idyllic setting, splendid golf courses and a lovely mild year-round climate.

Contrary to popular belief, Bermuda is not an offshore banking center. Neither is it located in the Caribbean.

Already a world leader in the insurance/reinsurance industry and the global leader in the captives industry (this self-insuring mechanism was first established on the island in the early 1960s), Bermuda is now flourishing as an up-and-coming center for investment funding (i.e. hedge funds), as well as taking the lead in establishing itself as the digital heart of the Atlantic.

“Business leaders have said that if Bermuda hadn’t existed, they would have created it,” comments Premier Alexander Scott. “We offer an ideal location, environment, and infrastructure. Within a six-block radius people can do more business than if they were jetting around the world. We have all the support and amenities that you would expect to find in London, New York or any of the other major business centers. And here you can play golf when you have finished your work.’’

An enjoyable place to operate with a long-established business-friendly infrastructure in place.

Bermuda has a well-deserved reputation for the integrity of its financial regulatory system, which is a result of continual efforts by the government to meet and exceed international financial standards. The Bermuda Monetary Authority, the independent body responsible for monitoring its financial sector, emphasizes transparency and rigorous entry controls. In addition, Bermuda’s tradition of strong public-private relationships has allowed the island to remain at the forefront of developments in the global financial sector.

Minister of Finance Paula Cox states, “I think the challenge we have overcome despite our small size is the fact that we are prepared to be competitive, to seek to reinvent ourselves and to also continually raise the bar. This is helped to a large extent by the relationship between the government and the private sector.”

Another of Bermuda’s strengths lies in its beauty. An ideal location for corporate conferences, the island is set amongst coral-colored beaches and turquoise waters, and offers eight golf courses and gracious hospitality. The Ministry of Tourism and Transport is working to raise the number of air arrivals to 400,000 within the next three years and to promote the island as a golf and spa destination during the winter months. Minister Dr. Ewart Brown comments, “Bermuda is special, especially for our North American visitors, because it so close. I travel all around the world but when I return to Bermuda, I am always reminded of what Mark Twain said - ‘You can go to heaven if you want to, I’ll stay in Bermuda’.”