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Financial Services
Catching up on tourism as the main
contributor to Anguilla's economy

Why all Senior Executives should know where Anguilla is

When you think of Anguilla, what do you think? For many of you, you may have to perform a Google search just to work out where we are. For others, with even the vaguest of notions that we are a small island of approximately 15,000 people located a couple of hundred miles east of Puerto Rico, a brief ferry hop north of Sint Maarten, in the eastern Caribbean our name may conjure up images of our 33 white sandy beaches and turquoise waters – as the tourism strapline puts it so well: “tranquility wrapped in blue”.

However, the latest figures available show that the financial services industry is fast catching up on tourism as the main contributor to the country’s economy. Whilst the high end tourism market in which Anguilla operates has undoubtedly taken a hit these past few years, this is as much due to the increase in offshore business passing through Anguilla. Anguilla’s zero-tax environment is an especially attractive component of its appeal and, coupled with its reputation as a well-regulated jurisdiction, marks it out as a burgeoning financial services centre.

As a vibrant close-knit business community, both the public and private sectors contribute to the growth of Anguilla’s economy by actively courting and promoting new avenues for investment. With regard to the promotion of the jurisdiction, Anguilla Finance has been set up in the last year to market the island’s financial services sector, to look to increase its awareness in both new markets and new geographical locations.

On the legislative side, a major new development is the International Insurance Act. It will enshrine improvements to the conduct of the jurisdiction’s growing insurance business which should serve to further encourage market participants that Anguilla is the place to do that business.

A big addition to the Anguilla legislative slate will be a new Insolvency Act, which will meet the needs of today’s business community and insolvency practitioners by seeking to adopt the best practices prevalent in other countries, as tailored for the specifics of the Anguilla financial services arena, to introduce statutory certainty as to the insolvency procedures and policy for Anguilla entities. The FSC are also looking to push forward with plans for investment business legislation, so the promulgation of securities business by Anguilla entities will need to be licensed and actively supervised by our regulatory watchdog. Not only will this assist with ensuring the reputation of Anguilla remains unblemished by bad publicity, but it will further enhance the jurisdiction’s standing with the OECD and onshore regulators keen to see the adoption of effective supervision and regulation across the globe’s financial services centres.

To this end, Anguilla’s proactive approach ensures its place on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”) white list of financial service centres, and its desire to comply with the OECD’s requirement to seek to enter into tax information exchange agreements (“TIEAs”) with other jurisdictions, with seventeen already in place, including with the UK, Canada, Germany, France and Australia, with three more in the pipeline at present.

In the summer of 2011, the OECD Peer Review Report (Phase 1) on Anguilla was published, which further emphasised the great strides the jurisdiction has made in meeting the requirements laid down by the OECD. Our “robust and modern” financial services industry was lauded and the rapid and continuing development of the TIEA exchange of information network was noted. Anguilla was also commended on the “strong” anti-money laundering regime in place.

As you can see from the above, the public and private sectors’ combined efforts to market Anguilla as a financial services centre, the push to improve and update our financial services legislation and the satisfaction of the OECD’s requirements regarding TIEAs, anti-money laundering and availability of ownership and identity information, not to mention the desire to tackle swiftly any perceived omissions in the jurisdiction’s statutes noted by the OECD Peer Review Report mark out Anguilla as having made, and continuing to make, significant strides in its efforts to position itself as a major player in the international financial services arena. It is a well-regulated OECD-compliant jurisdiction with a modern suite of financial services legislation, a smooth online company incorporations procedure via ACORN and a developing body of sophisticated professional service providers with client satisfaction at the heart of all they do.......oh, and not forgetting those 33 beaches!

Steve Garlick
Chief Executive Officer
Anguilla Finance


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