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Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Push for Islamic finance in Bermuda

Cheryl Packwood, the chief executive of Business Bermuda, was in Dubai this month as part of one of her regular trips to the Arabian Gulf.

As the region grows in importance as a centre of Islamic finance, Ms Packwood is keen to publicise Bermuda's role in supporting Sharia-compliant products as well as promoting the territory as a place to do business.

As the group's recent Islamic Finance Report identifies, Sharia is "probably the fastest growing of all financial products and services" with global Islamic banking assets growing to US$1.2 trillion (Dh4.4tn) in 2012. It goes on to say that "increasingly the heart of Islamic finance is in the six nations which together comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council".

The report also outlines the numerous facets that make Bermuda a good place to do business. First, the territory has a 50-year track record in creating new financial products that promote cross-border investment.

Second, it has an advantageous tax environment: there is no tax on income or profits or capital gains. There is no withholding tax and no restrictions on the cross-border movement of capital. Third, Bermuda has a regulated environment that offers transparency, compliance and investor protection.

Fourth, the territory hosts a range of international firms including PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG and Deloitte. "No other country in the world has a higher percentage of actuaries, accountants or underwriters among its population," the report says.

"This not only facilitates business but ensures that existing businesses grow."

Finally, as photographs of the dazzling turquoise waters and white beaches show, Bermuda offers pleasant quality of life.

(The National / 23 Dec 2012)

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