Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands - a leading financial centre

Jurisdiction at a glance

The Cayman Islands are located in the western Caribbean Sea. They are the peaks of a massive underwater ridge, on the edge of the Cayman Trench, 8000 feet deep. The islands lie in the centre of the Caribbean south of Cuba and North West of Jamaica.

The Cayman Islands - often referred to as "the Caymans", "Cayman Islands", or just "Cayman" -were first sighted by Christopher Columbus on May 10, 1503 during his fourth and final voyage to the New World. The islands, along with nearby Jamaica, were captured by the Spanish, and then ceded to England in 1670 under the Treaty of Madrid. They were governed as a single colony until 1962 when the Cayman Islands became a British Overseas Territory and Jamaica became an independent commonwealth realm.

The Cayman Islands is listed by the UN Special Committee as one of the last non-self governing territories. A nineteen-seat Legislative Assembly is elected by the people every four years to handle domestic affairs. A Governor is appointed by the British government to represent the monarch.

Financial services

The economy of the Cayman Islands was once centred on the turtling trade. However, this industry began to disappear in the twentieth century and tourism and financial services became the economic mainstays during the 1970s. As of December 2016, just over 100,000 companies were incorporated on the Cayman Islands including 184 banks and trust companies, 740 captive insurance companies and more than 10,500 funds.

The Cayman Islands financial services industry encompasses banking, mutual funds, captive insurance, vessel and aircraft registration, companies and partnerships.

Throughout the global community the Cayman Islands is recognized as a sophisticated, mature and diverse financial centre. As a premier financial services jurisdiction, Cayman attracts the world's leading accounting, legal and investment firms, and the banking industry remains a cornerstone of Cayman's success.

Adherence to the regulatory standards of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision is fundamental to the regulatory approach, and the Cayman Islands is an active member of the Basel Committee's Offshore Group of Bank Supervisors.