Minister of Finance Bob Richards, left, underscored the Government’s approach to business. David Cash, right, stressed the importance of fast-tracking new product creation in the mutual funds, re-insurance and trust sectors. *File photos
Minister of Finance Bob Richards, left, underscored the Government’s approach to business. David Cash, right, stressed the importance of fast-tracking new product creation in the mutual funds, re-insurance and trust sectors. *File photos

Growth can only be achieved by collective action.

This from Michelle Wolfe, president of the Bermuda Association of Licensed Trustees (BALT).

The group recently held a symposium among industry leaders at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.

The 2014 Conversation of Bermuda brought together over 50 industry leaders. 

Discussion centred on stimulating growth through legislative reform, outpacing offshore competition by creating innovative trust products, managing the swell of contentious trust litigation, responding to the administrative burden of tax information agreements and, importantly, coherently restructuring governmental regulation of the industry. 

Ms Wolfe, of Meritus Trust Company Limited, opened the 2014 Conversation. She spotlighted that growth could only be achieved by collective action. Government and industry must work together, she stated. This became the overarching theme of the day’s conversations.  

The First Conversation reviewed recent trust law reform proposals. Alec Anderson of Conyers Dill & Pearman and chair of the Trust Law Reform Committee (TLRC) addressed this topic by summarizing current initiatives. Kiernan Bell of Appleby and chair of the BDA’s Law Reform Committee introduced the law reform process and emphasized that success greatly depends on the close collaboration of industry and government. 

The Second Conversation was introduced by Anthony Poulton of Baker & McKenzie, London. 

Mr Poulton presented an overview of today’s litigation environment much of which, in his view, arises from the generational transfer of wealth. 

After lunch, Everard T (Bob) Richards, Minister of Finance, underscored the Government’s approach to business, echoing remarks made earlier that real growth will take place only where there is a tight and concerted working relationship between Cabinet Ministers and the Public Service, on the one hand, and the business community, on the other. 

The Third Conversation was devoted to a discussion of Bermuda’s interaction with UK and US tax reporting authorities (IRS and HMRC) especially in connection with the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and similar UK initiatives to combat evasion by tax residents using foreign accounts.

David Cash, CEO, and Derek Stapley, director of the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BBDA), listened carefully. They stressed the importance of fast-tracking new product creation in the mutual funds, re-insurance and trust sectors. They confirmed that the BBDA were committed to assisting the trust industry in improving its competitive position.

The 2014 Conversation concluded with a lively town hall, moderated by Kim White of State House Trust Company Limited.