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Global players woefully unprepared for Cyber, BEPS and Europe's General Data Protection Regulations challenges – Bermuda Roundtable

 

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Bermuda's sophisticated insurance market is the third-largest in the world, behind London and New York and the only one besides Switzerland to have been awarded Solvency II equivalency with the EU. These insurance, reinsurance and ILS (insurance linked securities) markets have given gravitas and substance to Bermuda's status as an international financial centre. For example, Bermuda's stock exchange lists over 75% of the world's listed ILS.

Since the global financial crisis of 2008 there has been a major shift in the level of transparency and disclosure for tax purposes and also in the way in which governments assist each other in a global effort to stamp out corruption and tax evasion. Bermuda has been a leader in this field since the last century through its involvement with the OECD and the development of tax information exchange agreements and model terms (FATCA, CRS and now CbC). In this context it is also important to note that Bermuda was not listed as one of the 17 "non-cooperative" tax jurisdictions on the recently released EU blacklist. Bermuda has also seen a renaissance its fund industry after legislation was passed in 2013 allowing exempt funds to be set up and started in just one day (page 10).

Global Game Changers: BEPS and Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

As a result of recent OECD projects (namely BEPS, the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting project), how businesses hold, maintain and license their intellectual property assets (IP) will have to change or suffer the consequences of additional taxation or even double taxation. Businesses may have to evidence how the IP is developed or has value added to it in the jurisdiction where it is held in order to avoid this. An unexpected result of this is an increase in interest in establishing new IP heavy businesses in Bermuda where employees can actually create, develop and maintain IP in the jurisdiction thanks to the excellent IT infrastructure and connectivity to the rest of the world. Bermuda has also shown that here businesses can actually innovate in partnership with government and the regulators (page 8-9, 11).

The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation comes into force on May 25th of 2018. This privacy legislation imposes restrictions on international transfers of personal data outside the EU. This means that GDPR needs to be adopted or aligned to by all jurisdictions looking to attract or retain businesses that conduct business in or to the EU. Anyone processing fund subscriptions or doing AML/KYC work for EU clients will definitely be impacted by the European regulation. Along with that, the EU's proposed e-Privacy regulation also holds a number of surprises, potentially implementing highly restrictive rules for which most global players may be woefully unprepared.

GDPR: Just four letters, but they could cost your business EUR20m - or more. With draconian fines the EU wants to give citizens back control over their personal information. If your company isn't already GDPR compliant, you need to get going - ensuring the correct procedures are in place can take many months.

The Opalesque 2017 Bermuda Roundtable took place in Hamilton, Bermuda, with:

  1. Christopher Eaton, KPMG Islands Group Cyber Lead
  2. Marc Weaver, Chief Operating Officer, Centaur Fund Services
  3. Neil Glass, Managing Director, WW Management
  4. Steven Rees Davies, Partner, Corporate, Appleby (Bermuda)
  5. Brent Slade, Chief Operating Officer, Horseshoe Group
  6. Sean Moran, Head of Business Development, Bermuda Business Development Agency
The group also discussed:
  • KYC and AML in 1990 in Bermuda: The overkill which now is a global standard (page 24)
  • How is Bermuda affected by the extraterritorial reach of regulations? (page 13)
  • How has Bermuda's new "PIPA" data protection legislation put it ahead of the game? (page 13)
  • Why no cyber insurance would be paying up for the Equifax data breach (page 15)
  • Why is there still so much reticence around cyber insurance? (page 21-23)
  • Can Bermuda be a global leader in the development of cyber-related insurance coverage initiatives? (page 15-16)
  • How do independent fund directors monitor cyber security? (page 19)
  • Bermuda as a centre for crypto-assets and ICOs. Opportunities in InsureTech and Digital Identity (page 16-18)
  • How can GDPR Article 17 - the right of erasure or the 'right to be forgotten' - work on Blockchain technology (page 19)-20?
  • What is a Board Apprentice (page 24)?
  • Why has Centaur Fund Services chosen Bermuda as its second global hub? (page 12, 25)
  • What's the most efficient way to lead innovation (page 23, 25)?
  • What does the future hold for Bermuda and other offshore financial centres given the increased competition from midshore or nearshore centers like Singapore and Hong Kong and even some of the U.S. States like Delaware? (page 25)

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