Bermuda’s pint-size parameters can deceive the uninitiated. It almost defies belief that an Atlantic jurisdiction of just 21 square miles could rank amongst the globe’s top two reinsurance hubs, or support a half million jobs worldwide. Yet the island’s diminutive physical scale belies its substantial economic impact — one that is only increasing amid an evolving regulatory landscape and rapid globalisation.
Innovation and collaboration are key to Bermuda’s corporate success, and agile teamwork between Bermuda’s industry, government and regulator underscores Bermuda’s status as a top-tier international financial centre. The island’s gross domestic product is on the rise along with jobs growth, and the jurisdiction is witnessing new investment and company incorporations across all sectors.
This oldest of British Overseas Territories has long leveraged a combination of unique elements to punch above its weight economically. Bermuda’s location 650 miles off the U.S. east coast positions the island conveniently between North American and European markets, with direct daily flights to key cities. Its regulatory structure is robust and pragmatic.
A Tax-Neutral System
Bermuda’s unique tax-neutral system, designed more than a century ago to support its own infrastructure, does not differentiate between foreign and local enterprises. And unlike many other offshore jurisdictions, it does not qualify as a “tax haven” under official definitions. Instead, Bermuda’s many tax-transparency treaties, beneficial-ownership register, and brand-name bricks-and-mortar companies underscore its blue-chip status as a place to do genuine business. Tax relief is not the primary reason for Bermuda’s attraction to most global companies, however; rather, the island’s world-respected regulation, its compliance with anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing standards, its one-stop-shop appeal and the speed to market it offers are the key drivers.
Bermuda’s infrastructure is advanced, including excellent telecommunications and a fully electronic stock exchange. A full member of the World Federation of Exchanges and affiliate member of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX) is recognised for commercially sensible listing requirements. It represents a leading market for the listing of investment funds, debt- and insurance-related securities, and those of small to medium enterprise firms.