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BERMUDA

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Bermuda

Bermunda is a group of about 150 small coral islands in the North West Atlantic (being much further north than is commonly believed and considerably closer to New York and Boston than the Caribbean) under the US defence umbrella. A series of bridges connect the main islands which cover a total area of 53.3 square km. It has a population of approximately 66,000 in 2006, who are primarily of European and African origin. Bermuda is a dependent territory of the United Kingdom and remains the oldest British colony today.

Bermunda enjoys one of the highest per capital incomes in the world by providing luxury tourist facilities and financial services to worldwide tourists. More than 80% of its business comes from North America. With its excellent communications and travel connections, Bermunda is the third largest insurance centre after London and New York. It is also of special interest to Hong Kong businessmen wishing to establish an offshore company: the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has also approved Bermuda Exempted Companies for listing purposes.

The type of Company used for international trade and investment is an exempt company, it is exempted from the requirements of the 1981 Bermuda Companies Act regarding local companies. In particular, an exempted company may be 100% foreign owned. All other Companies incorporated in Bermuda must be at least 60% owned by Bermudan residents.

The incorporation procedure for Bermudan Companies is complicated and takes 2 to 3 weeks. Initially an advertisement must be placed in a local newspaper announcing the intention to incorporate a Company. The name of the proposed company, together with the objects clause, must be disclosed in the advertisement, also whether the company is exempt or domestic. An application for consent to incorporate is made to the Bermuda Monetary Authority. The following information should be included in the application:

  • -The name of the company
  • -The proposed registered office address
  • -The nature of intended business
  • -The names, addresses and nationalities of the proposed directors
  • -The names, addresses and nationalities of the proposed shareholders and their interest in the proposed company
  • -The Memorandum of Association detailing the share capital and classes of shares and whether the liability of the company's members will be limited or unlimited
  • -Proposed bank account details
  • -Bank character references relating to the proposed beneficial owners
  • -The appropriate registry fees

A Bermuda Exempt Company must observe the following reatrictions and requirements:

  • -A Bermuda Exempt Company may not trade within Bermuda, and may not own real estate there.
  • -A Bermudan Exempt Company is not permitted to engage in banking, insurance, assurance, reinsurance, fund management, collective investment schemes, giving investment advice or any other activity which may suggest an association with the banking and insurance industries. All the above activities are prohibited unless licensed.
  • -The registered office must be maintained in Bermuda. Off-the-shelf companies are not available.
  • -A name can be in any language that uses the Latin alphabet. If a non-English language name is used, the Registrar may request a certified English translation to satisfy him that the name is not restricted.
  • -A minimum of two directors (or one secretary and one director, or one secretary and one 'permanent representative'), who must be natural persons.
  • -A minimum of one shareholder is required, and bearer shares are not permitted.

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