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Opalesque Roundtable Series - Cayman 2010

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Dear Reader,

There have been speculations in the international mainstream press like Cayman is going to fail because the EU is going to rise. The members of this Opalesque Cayman Roundtable do not see things that way: Europe's success does not have to mean Cayman's failure, as the products and regulations are seen as complimentary by the members of the Opalesque 2010 Cayman Roundtable.

In fact, a minimal number of funds have left Cayman for an European jurisdiction. As of September, only four funds move to Luxembourg and two to Malta, while Cayman continues to be the leading hedge fund jurisdiction and expects to register 1,200 new open-ended funds in 2010. This is the same figure as in 2009, bringing the total the number of Cayman hedge funds back to the pre-crash level of 9,589. Cayman Islands hedge funds are still the global benchmark and premium hedge fund products - if fund managers explore or set up European offerings, it is usually complimentary to their existing fund offerings rather than as a substitute for Cayman Islands funds.

Leading law firm Maples and Calder has shared the following statistics on Cayman hedge funds:

  • The vast majority of funds formed in 2010 have at least one independent director and over 60% have two independent directors
  • 80% have independent fund administrators
  • About 25% have more than one prime broker at launch
  • Downward fee trend: Less than half of funds still charge 2% management, but over three-quarters are in the range of 1% to 2%
  • Incentive fees remain predominantly at 20%
  • Very few funds have incentive fee clawback mechanisms
  • About 50% of funds still have a fund level gate and only about 15% have an investor level gate
  • About 25% of funds have a soft lock and about 15% a hard lock.
OECD further strengthens Cayman's recognition

Meanwhile, in a qualitative review following the initial quantitate review, the OECD recently recognized Cayman Islands' legal and regulatory regime complies with international standards for transparency and exchange of tax information. Cayman achieved this "white list" status fairly early on and now has 20 signed tax information exchange agreements and is awaiting signature on a further six agreements and currently negotiates with four more OECD member states. This recognition by the OECD adds to earlier recognition of Cayman's adherence to international standards by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Organization of Securities Commission (IOSCO) and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).

The Roundtable was sponsored by Maples and Calder and Maples Finance and took place on Sept. 28th 2010 at their local Georgetown office with:

  • Jon Fowler, Head of Investment Funds Group, Maples and Calder Cayman
  • Karen Watson, Senior Vice President, Maples Fund Services
  • Norm McGregor, Partner, Deloitte
  • Don Seymour, Managing Director, dms Management
This Roundtable further includes details on:
  • Historical review: How did Cayman manage to became the dominating offshore hedge fund jurisdiction?
  • How important are the recent developments of jurisprudence in Cayman? Can international investors have confidence using the Cayman Island structure knowing that if something does go wrong, they can rely on a very robust court system here that will readdress the grievances?
  • What should hedge fund managers and investors know about ASC 740 or FIN 48? Would the fund changing from US GAAP to IFRS help? Should, or can, the fund attempt to restate NAV's and/or adjust subscriptions/redemptions? Is there potential for clawback of redemption proceeds under Cayman Islands law once an investor has redeemed out? Does the fund pass the entire liability on to current investors?
  • FATCA, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, will be a massive undertaking from an operational standpoint for many stakeholders in the hedge fund industry due to the requirement to gather information on the ultimate investors. How can the industry prepare for FACTA?
Enjoy the read!

Matthias Knab
Director Opalesque Ltd.
Knab@opalesque.com

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