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CAYMAN ISLANDS

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CAYMAN ISLANDS

History, Political Structure and Law

The Cayman Islands are a group of islands situated in the Caribbean Sea (West Indies) approximately 500 miles south of Miami, Florida. It comprises the islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. The total area of the three islands is estimated to be 260 sq km, with a population of approximately 45,000. The Cayman Islands enjoy sophisticated legal, accounting and banking services and derive political stability since they are a British colony.

It established its own Stock Exchange in 1997. The financial services sector is one of the main industries in the country, and there is a substantial commitment to the continued development of the offshore financial services industry. The Cayman Islands have became increasing popular particularly in Asia, as it is one of only two offshore centres approved by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange for public listing in the Hong Kong bourse.

Economy and Infrastructure

The Cayman Islands almost reach full employment, with most revenue being derived from tourism and the financial services sector. The Cayman Islands are an important world financial centre, over 500 banks and trust companies have registered there. Communications and transport links are excellent with regular flights to and from Miami, which is only an hour's journey, and has direct air links with New York, Atlanta, Houston, Tampa and Jamaica.

Company Incorporation

There are two types of Cayman Islands companies: the Exempted and the Non-resident. In spite of the lower ongoing licence fees for a Non-resident Company, the former is more popular in Asia since an Exempted Company can submit a less detailed annual return in the format of a simple declaration, do not have to end with the suffix 'Limited', and they may apply for a 20-year tax exemption certificate, further enhancing their tax exempt status. Furthermore, the company name can be expressed in Chinese characters, so long as its translation is provided.

The rules below applies to the company trading and business activities:

  • -All Exempted Companies must have a registered office provided by a licenced service provider.
  • -An Exempted Company is not allowed to trade within the Cayman Islands or own real estate in the Cayman Islands.
  • -A minimum of one shareholder and one director are required and corporate directors are permitted.
  • -An Exempted Company must keep a Register of Members and the original or a copy should be kept at the Registered Office.
  • -Although bearer shares are permitted, they are not encouraged and bearer share certificates must only be held by approved custodians.

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