Rivers seeks support from US senators
(CNS): Financial Services Minister Tara Rivers was in Washington, DC, last week, trying to persuade US Senators and others that Cayman’s financial services industry is well regulated and adhering to tax transparency standards. Picking up from an earlier visit, the minister spoke with American lawmakers about the industry here and its record of compliance as well as the impact of bank de-risking on Cayman residents and businesses. She also reminded them of the longstanding and beneficial relationship between the US and Cayman.
Rivers and her policy and legislation director, Michelle Bahadur, met with Texas Senator John Cornyn, the assistant majority leader of the US Senate and member of the Senate Finance and Judiciary Committees. He is the second highest-ranking Republican Senator.
Officials said in a release that Rivers briefed him on Cayman’s record in adopting and enforcing international standards for tax transparency and information sharing to dispel the myths that have persisted in the US about this jurisdiction.
“For many years, Cayman has worked hand in glove with the US Treasury and, by extension, the IRS to ensure that Cayman cannot be used to avoid US taxes,” Rivers said. “Cayman shares tax information with US Treasury and the IRS through US FATCA and prior to that, in 2001, we signed a bilateral agreement that fulfilled a similar purpose.”
She continued, “Likewise, we share tax information with more than 100 countries around the world through the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard. Sharing information globally allows tax authorities to better ensure that taxpayers pay their taxes in the countries in which they are due.”
Rivers told Cornyn about Cayman’s requirements for beneficial ownership disclosure upon the formation of companies, contrasting this with the lax rules on beneficial ownership in US states like Delaware. Cornyn was reportedly surprised about the depth and breadth of Cayman’s laws, and agreed that senators making statements to the contrary are incorrect.
The minister also met Senator Chuck Grassley (Republican-Iowa), the chair of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and a senior member of the Finance Committee. As the co-sponsor of a Senate bill that would impose civil and criminal penalties in the US for providing false or fraudulent beneficial ownership information for corporations or limited liability companies, officials said that he was keen to hear about Cayman’s experiences in developing and implementing our beneficial ownership framework.
During her trip Rivers spoke with the chair of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Mike Crapo (Republican-Idaho) about the impact of de-risking on Cayman financial institutions, money transfer providers and individuals. Carpo has oversight power of the Federal Reserve Bank and the US Treasury’s financial services powers. According to the release, he promised Rivers that he would look into the loss of banking services to customers here because of de-risking.
During her meeting with Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (Republican-Missouri), who serves as Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, Rivers thanked him for holding a public hearing earlier in July on the effects of bank de-risking. He said he would also continue to shed light on de-risking in his subcommittee to learn more about the effect on Cayman.
Rivers addressed similar issues in a meeting with a senior professional staff member for Senator Sherrod Brown (Democrat-Ohio), the Ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
The minister rounded out the visit to DC by speaking to 75 people at an event hosted by the Global Women Innovation Network (GlobalWIN) and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP, which assists the Cayman Islands Government with US legal counsel.