|The Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands are a group of three islands situated in the Western Caribbean. Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac total some 100 square miles and have a population in the region of 24,000. The islands are a British dependent territory and thus Parliament at Westminster retains the right to legislate for them. The colony is internally self-governing, politically stable and committed to supporting its reputation as an international financial centre. The principal language is English and the currency for business the US dollar.
The Cayman Islands is not a party to any tax treaties. In recent years the Cayman Islands has entered into various international anti-narcotics trafficking and anti-money laundering agreements.
Company law is found in the Companies Law (2000 Revision). The various types of corporate vehicle available for business purposes fall into three main categories:
- Ordinary Resident Company - a company normally trading within the Cayman Islands, 60% of which is beneficially owned by Cayman qualified persons; Ordinary Non-resident Company - a company which the Financial Secretary is satisfied does not carry on or intend to carry on business within the Islands and which has been certified as non-resident; Exempted Company - a company which has declared its intention to carry on its business entirely outside the Cayman Islands.
The legal requirements of ordinary companies, whether resident or non-resident, are the same, while exempted companies enjoy the following benefits:
- a guarantee against any possible Cayman Islands taxation for 20 years; the company may freely alter its Memorandum of Association; it does not have to keep a register of members in the Cayman Islands or file an annual return of shareholders; it need not hold its general meetings in the Cayman Islands; it may have bearer shares; it must hold a directors’ meeting in the Cayman Islands at least once a year, but alternate directors may be employed.
All Cayman companies must have at least one director, who may be an individual or a corporation. All changes to directors must be registered with the Registrar within 30 days. Where the directors are not resident of the Cayman Islands a resident agent is required. It is usual to appoint a company secretary especially if there is only one director.
The share capital may be in any currency, the standard authorised capital is US$50,000 and there need only be one member. Companies can be incorporated within 48 hours providing the chosen company name is approved. The company name does not have to include the word ‘Limited’.