By Ross Webber (pictured), Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA) – Global regulatory burdens, cost pressures, fintech disruption, and political uncertainty on both sides of the Atlantic are shaping up to pose significant challenges to the asset-management industry in 2017 and beyond. Britain's sortie into extended Brexit negotiations and Trump's tax-reform ambitions seem to be holding investors and companies on tenterhooks. The only thing constant, as the old axiom goes, is change.
In Bermuda, we keep abreast of geopolitical developments that affect all our jurisdiction's industries. While perplexing issues will continue to run their course, choosing Bermuda as your domicile remains the intelligent choice. As internationally-focused companies weigh their options, Bermuda provides an attractive, serious and safe harbour from which to do sophisticated business worldwide. Bermuda is a business centre with longevity for those companies who appreciate a lasting, recognised and respected solution. Our message to decision-makers is this: amid global disruption, we offer a reliable, well-regulated, secure, blue-chip base.
That message has significant resonance in the asset-management sector, where Bermuda has witnessed impressive recent success. We're attracting increasing fund incorporations and more asset managers who are establishing a physical presence, as well as new service providers like fund administrators and law firms. Headcount at existing companies that provide critical support to funds is also rising, in tandem with total assets under management and administration. Our investment management ecosystem is committed to the facilitation of speed-to-market and innovative solutions.
We're delighted Bermuda is a destination for leading industry conferences, with the Regulatory Compliance Association (RCA) Symposium, Hedge Connection's Global Fund Forum, and the World Alternative Investment Summit (WAIS) now successful annual fixtures on the calendar. For decades, investment professionals from all over the world have associated our island with premier events and thought leadership in the funds space.
It's good news for a sector that has much to gain from Bermuda's advantageous one-stop-shop environment–a place where innovation thrives and cross-industry opportunities arise as the norm. A steady increase in family offices and investments in insurance-linked securities (ILS) are two good examples, attracting inward investment to the island from diverse sources.
With the lion's share of global ILS, Bermuda counts more than USD70 billion in listings, or 70 percent of the world's total–our market offers truly alternative investment strategies. Like private equity, ILS, hedge fund re, and fund-of-fund re, etc, provide those looking to diversify away from hedge funds a good play, and our `convergence' market, tapping into decades of funds and risk-management talent, is driving the latest innovation in this sphere.
Similarly, we remain focused on the full suite of services and solutions our domicile can offer to family offices–vehicles such as life-insurance captives or segregated account companies (SACs), and a broad array of venture capital and private-equity opportunities that allow investors to leverage the deep multi-industry expertise available in Bermuda, including direct access to one of the world leading reinsurance markets. Uniquely, our market also offers a very collegial, collaborative, business-friendly environment, a place where government works closely with the regulator and industry across all sectors.
Ultimately it comes down to quality. As a brand, Bermuda has long been known for this attribute–whether we're talking about quality business, quality people, quality regulation – or quality rum! We're very proud the same reputation continues to set us apart from other jurisdictions today. Companies that select Bermuda do so for one reason beyond any other, and it's because they want to meet the highest standards.