MIAMI, USA: Two months before the fifth OffshoreAlert's Financial Due Diligence Conference, organisers said they expect a favourable turn-out from the Cayman Islands, but not necessarily from its rival, Bermuda.
David Marchant OffshoreAlert's editor 'I am expecting a healthy turn-out from Cayman's financial services sector," said David Marchant, OffshoreAlert's editor and conference organiser.
However, Marchant pointed out that this is not so much the case in rival jurisdiction and fellow British overseas territory, Bermuda.
He said that while OffshoreAlert has its critics in Cayman, it is really frowned upon in Bermuda. He believes the island is more concerned over controlling the flow of information about the Bermudan jurisdiction, than addressing the issues contained in the information.
"Bermuda takes itself awfully seriously as a jurisdiction and likes to control the flow of information to the international community," said Marchant.
"I have formed the opinion that an unhealthy number of locals - not expatriates - in Bermuda perversely believe that exposing financial crime and trying to help victims is 'impolite.'"
Marchant added that, in general, the critics of the work undertaken by OffshoreAlert often have something to hide.
"In my experience, people who dislike OffshoreAlert tend to be parochial in nature, dishonest and are likely to be involved in the type of illegal activity that the newsletter is known for exposing," he said.
He said people who would attend the conference would be interested in addressing the problems of financial crime.
"Those who want to attend will be looking for ways to better manage their general business risks and reduce their exposure to serious financial crime."
Marchant said the OffshoreAlert newsletter is more popular in the Cayman Islands than, perhaps, any other country. He also noted that Cayman's financial experts have always made up a large percentage of the watchdog conferences.
"OffshoreAlert is generally very well-received and respected in Cayman," said Marchant.
He said conferences such as this were important in the fight against crime and legitimate organisations should have nothing to fear from the work of OffshoreAlert, but those involved in criminal activity did.
"Anyone who provides sham arrangements - such as false invoicing schemes and shell companies that merely pretend to have bona fide operations or establishes hidden-ownership legal entities, such as asset protection trusts to assist clients in avoiding their financial and/or regulatory reporting obligations to third parties - can have no complaints if their actions are investigated or questioned," he said.
"There is a fine line between tax evasion and tax avoidance, and the goal-posts are frequently being moved by major countries. This is good news for Cayman's professional advisors, because it means there is a continuing need for their services and expertise, which generates substantial amounts of fee income."
The fifth OffshoreAlert Financial Due Diligence Conference will be held at the InterContinental Hotel, in Miami and takes place on the 24 and 25 April.