Bermuda’s business leaders have pledged support for the Bermuda Government’s efforts to remove the island from the European Union’s list of noncooperative tax jurisdictions.
The head of Bermuda’s largest trade organisation, meanwhile, said that he is optimistic that Bermuda will ultimately be removed from the EU list.
John Wight, president of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, said: “It is regrettable that Bermuda has been included in the list of non-co-operative jurisdictions for tax purposes given our long-recognised reputation as a centre of regulatory excellence.
“We are optimistic of Bermuda being removed from this list and of our ability to demonstrate our full compliance as a tax jurisdiction at or before the next meeting of the Council of the European Union. We are confident that Government will take every measure necessary and enlist the help of all necessary stakeholders in the business community to ensure removal from this list.”
The Bermuda Business Development Agency released a statement that included comments from Roland Andy Burrows, its chief executive officer, and the heads of industry groups on the island.
Mr Burrows said: “Bermuda is a world-respected platform for business that has always adhered to the gold standard.
“We stand firmly behind that reputation, and we commend our government’s consultative approach with the EU to date. Our industry stakeholders are committed to working with the government and regulators to ensure Bermuda is recognised as fully compliant. We look forward to a positive result as soon as possible.”
Others who added support were:
• Patrick Tannock, chairman, Association of Bermuda International Companies. He said: “Abic has been supportive throughout this process and is committed to continuing to work collaboratively with other industry groups to support the Bermuda Government in its efforts to meet EU requirements.”
• John Huff, president and CEO of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, said: “We have every hope today’s EU determination will prove temporary. While Abir understands there is no immediate tangible impact to Bermuda or its markets, we are appreciative of the Bermuda Government’s commitment to remedy the designation as soon as possible.
“There is bipartisan and industry consensus in Bermuda to meet international standards.
“The Bermuda re/insurance market is a valuable partner in the EU, and has paid over $72 billion to EU policyholders and cedents over the past 20 years. Abir is confident policymakers will act in the best interests of consumers to ensure continued level-playing-field access to our market’s claims-paying capital and risk-management expertise.”
• Craig Bridgewater, chairman of Alternative Investment Management Association network in Bermuda, said: “As the advocate for Bermuda’s asset management sector, the AIMA network in Bermuda fully affirms this jurisdiction’s efforts to consistently meet the highest global standards on tax co-operation and transparency.
“We support the Bermuda Government’s determination to have that longstanding reputation recognised and to achieve a positive EU designation for Bermuda.”
• Sylvia Oliveira, director, of Bermuda International Long Term Insurers and Reinsurers, said: “The Government of Bermuda assures us it is working at the highest levels to rectify the unfortunate placement of Bermuda on the EU’s list of non-co-operative jurisdictions.
“As a staunch member of Bermuda’s global business market, Biltir stands firmly behind the island’s top-tier reputation. Our collective view is that Bermuda is a leader in tax transparency and compliance and continues to be a great place to do business.”
Kathleen Bibbings, president of Bermuda Insurance Management Association, said: “Bermuda’s captive insurance sector, like other industry partners throughout our market, has a long, proven track record of co-operation and transparency, and as a jurisdiction, we’ll work with the EU to meet requirements. We remain confident that Bermuda’s full compliance will be confirmed shortly.”
Keith Robinson, chairman of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, Bermuda, said: “The Bermuda trust industry is well-regulated and Bermuda rightly regarded as a leading trust domicile. Our industry will continue to support the efforts of the Government of Bermuda to see Bermuda removed from the list of ‘non-co-operative’ jurisdictions at the first opportunity.”