The latest Bermuda Development Agency year end review reveals 2019 was a year of triumph and challenge.
Despite a challenging economic environment, the BDA directly assisted in the incorporation of 31 new entrants in Bermuda last year, from a number of key target industries: insurance, technology, high net worth services and infrastructure.
BDA chief executive officer Roland Andy Burrows said significant achievements were made, with Bermuda being granted reciprocal status by the United States insurance regulatory body, while external factors, including EU economic substance requirements and Brexit, required focused attention to mitigate any potential impact on Bermuda’s economy.
“In light of the current business environment, I am encouraged by what the BDA has achieved domestically and internationally for the benefit of Bermuda,” Mr Burrows said. “As we move into 2020, the island’s gold-standard regulatory regime and outstanding reputation continues to give us a competitive edge over other markets. We have seen that most recently with the results from the Financial Action Task Force assessment. I thank all of our stakeholders for their ongoing support as we work together to achieve further growth for the island.”
A spokesman for the company said in 2019 the BDA worked with public and private sector stakeholders to champion Bermuda as a world-leading financial jurisdiction in key markets, connecting with prospective investors, international businesses and important institutions.
“The UK, the US and Canada have always been significant target markets for the BDA’s activities given the longstanding and successful economic relationships that exist and close proximity with direct daily flights, but 2019 also saw an enhanced strategic focus on key governmental and commercial centres such as Brussels, Singapore, Hong Kong and Mexico City,” the BDA revealed.
Another area of focus for the BDA in 2019 was in working collaboratively with Government, industry and the Bermuda Tourism Authority to increase the number of business visitors to the island. For its part, the BDA hosted 18 on island conferences, attracting 880 international guests which resulted in 2,879 hotel nights booked and an estimated visitor spend of $2.88 million. Recently released BTA figures show business visitors to the island increased by 1.4 per cent in 2019 versus 2018, with the estimated average spend per business visitor up 9.5 per cent to $1,523.75.
New events established by the BDA included the country’s first Tech Week, hosted in partnership with FinTech Bermuda, which saw five days of industry events focused on emerging technologies. The event also featured the Bermuda Technology Education Summit, which was aimed at encouraging middle and high school students to consider future career opportunities in this increasingly important sector.
The BDA worked closely with industry and Government to advance critical legislative reform in 2019, assisting with the formulation of seven new pieces of legislation across the year. Notably, 2019 saw the introduction of:
• a new and popular corporate vehicle into the Bermuda market, the Incorporated Segregated Accounts Company, by way of the Incorporated Segregated Accounts Companies Act 2019
• the Superyachts and Other Miscellaneous Act 2019, legislation designed to attract more high-end players from the lucrative superyacht market to the island
• the Digital Assets Business Amendments Act 2019, legislation aimed at expanding the scope of the licensing regime to include digital assets derivatives, digital asset benchmark administrators and digital asset trust service providers
• the Submarine Communications Cables Act, draft legislation to facilitate Bermuda’s ambition to become a leading hub for subsea cables
Find the End of Year Review 2019 at www.bda.bm/reports