CHALLENGE To find a jurisdiction that has a great reputation, good legislation,
considerable experience and an efficient and effective captive regime.
SOLUTION With a responsive, forward thinking Financial Services Commission
and excellent captive insurance managers, Anguilla offers a dynamic well
regulated domicile with good international legislation for both existing and
potentially new captive insurance companies.
RESULT Anguilla has become recognised as a prime offshore jurisdiction of
choice for small to mid size captive insurance companies. It has grown
to become the 5th largest captive domicile in the world and its reputation
continues to grow.
Since 2008, the global economic downtown has had a detrimental effect on the financial world. However, Anguilla’s financial services sector continues to buck the trend, and has steadily evolved into a leading domicile, particularly for captive insurance vehicles. In fact, over the last five years, Anguilla has firmly established itself as a new and dynamic force in the captive industry, building a fine reputation that has attracted a plethora of small to medium sized captives to its shores.
This has been endorsed by the press, not least by one of the industry’s leading publications, “Captive Review”. Captive Review currently ranks Anguilla as the world’s fifth largest domicile (by number of licensed insurance entities). Although it may still be some way away from catching the long-standing “big three” of Cayman, Bermuda and Vermont on premium and asset volume, Anguilla’s niche market growth is undeniably impressive and certainly provides a platform to access even more market share in the future.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
A number of factors can be attributed to this growth, both of an internal and external nature. While other jurisdictions have been implementing significant and sometimes overwhelming legislative and regulatory changes, Anguilla has simply made necessary amendments and enhancements, allowing the regulators to keep the legislation current, whilst remaining focused on maintaining the service and application turnaround levels that have helped build its reputation. As a result, the jurisdiction continues to enjoy both natural growth and an influx of existing captives migrating from other domiciles.
As the growth figures indicate, Anguilla prides itself on having an approachable and responsive Financial Services Commission (“The Commission”), whose staff has worked extremely hard to combine the increasing standards and demands of international regulatory oversight with a commercial outlook. The Commission is cognizant of the ever-changing demands of the international business community, and has responded by expanding into new premises and employing new experienced staff to maintain the high standards to which both licensed captive managers and owners have become accustomed.
To further highlight Anguilla’s improved global reputation, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) recently placed Anguilla alongside the BVI and Cayman Islands as a centre of excellence for compliance in the region. With stringent due diligence requirements for new business and many monitoring procedures in place, the myth that offshore domiciles are an easy target for money laundering can be firmly dispelled.
OFFSHORE VS ONSHORE
Each captive insurance company must engage an insurance manager that is domiciled in Anguilla and licensed by the Commission. Anguilla boasts a number of suitably qualified insurance managers, many of which are independently owned, including multi-jurisdictional practices, which again highlights the fact that the industry has duly recognised the attractiveness and growing importance of Anguilla as a jurisdiction.
There are a number of reasons why captives are formed offshore rather than onshore, with the primary advantages relating to cost, low or zero local taxes and favourable legislation. Generally speaking, offshore regulations relating to initial capital requirements and the required margin of solvency are far less stringent when compared to many onshore counterparts, as well as offering a wider range of investment opportunities.
It is obviously important for the regulators and the insurance managers in any jurisdiction to ensure that capitalisation is sufficient to support the net written premium and anticipated exposure levels, particularly when third parties are exposed. However, for small to medium-sized single parent captives, the non-discriminatory requirements of offshore domiciles can have a significant impact on a risk manager’s feasibility assessment.
With regard to new business, whilst the application review process is extremely detailed, the Anguilla regulators constantly strive to work to turn around all applications in a timely manner.
In a similar vein, Anguilla is unburdened by the restrictive regulations of other jurisdictions. For example, unlike other domiciles, there are no requirements to appoint local directors; there are no requirements to hold annual general meetings in Anguilla; nor is it mandatory to establish bank accounts there. Therefore, if a proposed captive’s parent has an existing banking relationship in place, albeit offshore or onshore, the Commission will permit further accounts to be opened in the newly licensed entity’s name.
A prudent approach regarding the annual audit requirement is also taken. Should the parent company have existing audit relationships, the Commission allows applications to be made for “non-admitted overseas auditors” to become approved.
Furthermore, due to Anguilla’s moderate and flat fee system, its captives are not subjected to fee increases of other jurisdictions that are directly linked to the success of the business and, therefore, can only be described as punitive. Again, this forms part of the reason Anguilla has firmly established itself as a leading choice for prospective captive owners, especially for smaller, family owned structures which need to ensure cost-efficiency and stability to remain viable.
In summary, as the friendly, welcoming and non-intrusive nature of the Anguillian people attracts a diverse array of international visitors, the pragmatic, professional and commercial approach of the local financial services sector, private and public, attracts equally important international visitors to Anguilla’s shores.