ROUNDTABLE: BANKING, FUNDS & ASSET MANAGEMENT
Q4: ANY FINAL THOUGHTS?
“Now is the time when we can actually make a difference.”
Burns: One of the giant potential bonuses for Bermuda is that we have developed a pretty big nexus of investors in the private equity and ILS world, probably hedge funds as well. I know that an initiative is being rolled out now to open the door and get more family offices on the ground, but we also need boots on the ground for investment asset managers.
From my experience, the biggest task ahead of us is to be consistent with our messaging and prove to the world that Bermuda has a lot of capital to invest, which alongside our industry reach, talent, legal and compliance infrastructure as well as political stability place the Island in a gold position. There is a bright future ahead of us and we need to be proactive to capitalise on our value proposition.
Demerling: One thing that we haven’t touched on is the environment, social and corporate governance (ESG) element. We are seeing a lot of structures wanting to set up around that asset class, whether it involves climate funds or forestry and ILS which is recognised as a sustainable investment.
There’s a lot of positivity and plenty of opportunities, but we need to build on it very quickly because that window could close and we need to move forward while we have the momentum. We are proving that we are less expensive than other options, but we are also maintaining our credibility and reputation while delivering great service and responsiveness.
It’s going to continue, but we need to push harder. Now is the time when we can actually make a difference.
Knox Clingerman: The BDA has done a phenomenal amount of work and their collateral is looking really good. There was a quote in last year’s publication along the lines of “we already have everything a New Yorker needs” and I love that.
There’s an amazing lifestyle here, and it’s the lifestyle that will bring people to Bermuda.
It’s simple: we keep delivering the message and the BDA is ideally placed to send that out globally in the next couple of months. This is a time for us, so let’s work together and have a great end of year.
Lightbourne: Bermuda offers the ideal ‘live, work and play’ environment, and importantly we are safe and stable, all of which is particularly relevant when it comes to family offices. This was identified as a growth area at the beginning of the year and the government is currently looking at expanding Bermuda’s wealth management offering.
We already have a strong trust and private client environment and the introduction of an enhanced family office regime will not only open up the opportunity for those looking to establish or expand something here but also for Bermuda to attract more capital and investment.
“It’s the lifestyle that will bring people to Bermuda.”
Laura Knox Clingerman
“We’re having a very positive outlook on the asset management industry.”
Kearns: We’re having a very positive outlook on the asset management industry and just need to keep the momentum moving along. A lot of people have contributed a great deal when it comes to putting Bermuda out there, and I believe that is starting to pay dividends. We need to continue pushing the jurisdiction.
Hughes: I certainly agree that there’s good momentum, but now is the time to keep pushing forward and helping all the industries around this table. Years ago, I dreamed up the idea of having free zones for hedge fund managers to be based in Bermuda. It’s something extra that would tip us ahead of our competitors and I think we need that extra push to keep the momentum moving forward.
These free zones are quick and easy to set up, it’s seamless and there may even be a tax benefit or the prospect of free office space for a year. It all comes down to marketing. We need to attract more people to Bermuda who can benefit from our services.
Millar: Well said. Let’s keep pushing towards success. A lot of great work has been done over the last couple of years, but we can’t afford to sit on our laurels. We need to keep moving forward. Let’s continue to innovate, and look to the future.
It has been said that market trends tend to move in decades and the 2020s has been dubbed the ESG decade. A lot can happen in 10 years, there is opportunity. So well done, and let’s just keep pushing.
O’Rourke: Digital transformation is going to impact us all and is probably developing faster than we all anticipated, but I see the banking sector evolving into other areas in the not-too-distant future. There will be bespoke, niche banks here to service casinos, digital asset businesses and possibly offshore wealth clients who do not have a full-time presence here but need access to our Bermuda-based banking system.
The BMA has already put out a consultation on this. We have constructively engaged with them and are trying to be as helpful as we can in differentiating those banks from what our banks do. We believe there is enough opportunity for some additional banks, but they must serve a particular niche that is currently not being served.
When we have this conference next year, I hope we will have some positive developments to report.
Neff: Despite COVID-19, this call does suggest there is added momentum behind the asset management space and I think that momentum is increasing. This is a huge opportunity for us.
I would simply add that timing is everything and at the moment, with all the uncertainties in the world, if you want to talk about Hong Kong, you can also talk about the US. There are many places in the world where very wealthy people are not feeling as comfortable as they once were. We have clients (including billionaires) who are having conversations with us about moving their financial affairs to a place where they feel safe. These are very wealthy people who are now interested in a panic room, a panic jurisdiction.
They want stability for their families, they want the rule of law and they want to be in a very nice place. Bermuda ticks all those boxes. If you consider the political uncertainty and the issues around the pandemic, it’s creating a very interesting moment for Bermuda and the chance to attract—and be very attractive to—family offices. We should be doing everything we can to get them in right now.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock / Konontsev Artem
“We need that extra push to keep the momentum moving forward.”