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Anglo-America, Japan, and the function of hedge funds

Anglo-America, Japan, and the function of hedge funds

2023-04-02 13:27:20


‘Small place, massive cash’ was the apt title of one of many first analyses regarding the place of the Cayman Islands within the worldwide monetary system (Roberts Citation1995). Twenty years later, the archipelago south of Cuba is, after all, nonetheless small in geographic phrases. The quantity of overseas capital booked within the Cayman offshore monetary middle (OFC), nevertheless, has grow to be larger in this time period – a lot larger. Considerably improved availability of information regarding OFCs and their counterpart international locations over the past 20 years permits for a greater understanding of the function that the Cayman Islands performs in worldwide finance. This tiny group of islands within the Caribbean with roughly 58,000 inhabitants and a home economic system of lower than US$3 billion has attracted overseas capital of over US$4100 billion if we keep in mind banking property, direct funding and portfolio funding; word that the overall inventory of exterior property is probably going a lot increased, as a result of there are not any knowledge obtainable for trusts (see Harrington Citation2016). Setting the quantity of overseas property in relation to the GDP of a specific jurisdiction leads to a particular ‘offshore-intensity ratio’ (Fichtner Citation2015). Based on this ratio, the Cayman Islands is by far essentially the most intensive OFC on the planet with overseas property amounting to over 1500 occasions Cayman’s home economic system. Furthermore, the Cayman Islands just isn’t solely massive in relative phrases, but in addition in absolute ones; the small Caribbean archipelago has attracted extra exterior property than superior industrial international locations comparable to Japan, Canada or Italy, regardless of them having economies a number of hundred occasions Cayman’s GDP. Consequently, Cayman isn’t just any random small island OFC, it is among the largest monetary facilities on the planet and a central node in up to date international finance. Nonetheless, this distinctive OFC is severely under-researched. Because the authorized domicile of selection for the worldwide hedge fund trade (Clarkson et al. Citation2014), and because the second largest jurisdiction on the planet concerning the issuance of asset-backed securities (ABS) from 1983 to 2008 (Cetorelli and Peristani Citation2012), the Cayman Islands has performed a key function for monetary ‘innovation’ in latest a long time. From 2004 to 2007, Cayman had even been the most important jurisdiction regarding the issuance of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), in line with Culp and Forrester (Citation2010). Hedge funds in addition to opaque CDOs have contributed to the event of the worldwide monetary disaster and thus such monetary ‘innovation’ has critical penalties for worldwide monetary stability (Lysandrou Citation2012; Lysandrou and Nesvetailova Citation2015; Wójcik Citation2013a, Citation2013b). Using all sources of publicly obtainable knowledge, this paper compiles the primary ‘anatomy’ of the pivotal Cayman OFC. The goal is to carry out a fine-grained evaluation of the three fundamental segments of cross-border finance: (1) banking, (2) direct funding, and (3) portfolio funding. This in-depth case research of the Cayman Islands OFC is extremely complementary to latest research in Financial Geography, e.g., on the function of superior enterprise companies for offshore finance (Wójcik Citation2013a), on offshore jurisdictions and overseas direct funding (FDI) (Haberly and Wójcik Citation2015a, Citation2015b), and eventually on the political geography of offshore banking (Haberly and Wójcik Citation2014). So as to additional our understanding of the extraordinarily ‘profitable’ growth of the Cayman OFC, this paper introduces the Anglo-America/Anglosphere method from worldwide relations (IRs) and Worldwide Political Economic system (IPE) to the evaluation of the Cayman OFC. Moreover, I analyze the essential function of Japan, which has escaped nearly all current research concerning the Cayman Islands.

The rest of this paper is organized in six sections. Within the first part, I briefly focus on the present analysis concerning the Cayman Islands. The second part analyzes the event of the oldest phase of the Cayman OFC – banking. The next two sections are devoted to the massive area of funding. Particularly, within the third part I scrutinize the comparatively small however rising phase of direct funding earlier than analyzing the key phase of portfolio funding, together with the essential hedge fund sector, within the fourth part. The fifth part introduces the Anglo-America/Anglosphere method to the analysis on the Cayman OFC. Lastly, the sixth part concludes by discussing avenues of future analysis in addition to some coverage implications.


Regardless of the significance of the Cayman Islands OFC, the literature remains to be surprisingly scant. Students from Financial Geography have arguably contributed essentially the most to advancing our understanding of the Cayman Islands and its function within the worldwide monetary system. Roberts’ (Citation1995, 237) conclusion that the Caymans have created the picture of a decent up-market OFC and ‘strategically positioned themselves on the nexus of the circuits of quick and fungible monetary capital’ remains to be legitimate at the moment. Moreover, Roberts (Citation1995) argues that the standing as a dependent territory of the UK is of central significance for the success of the Cayman Islands as an OFC, as a result of this standing ensures political stability. She identifies a collection of Nineteen Sixties legal guidelines designed to draw overseas capital as a cornerstone for the event of the Cayman OFC. Speedy progress started within the Nineteen Seventies after the top of the Bretton Woods system and the concomitant transition to free trade charges, which included the abolition of capital controls by most Western international locations. Based on Roberts (Citation1995), the variety of overseas banks energetic within the Cayman Islands grew at an annual common fee of 23% between 1972 and 1982. That is primarily because of the fast growth of the Euromarkets within the Metropolis of London (Palan Citation1998; Burn Citation1999), which subsequently included OFCs such because the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands (Ridley Citation2007). Hudson (Citation1998a) has in contrast the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas and concludes that the particular growth of those OFCs can solely be defined by analyzing the habits of transnational actors (e.g., American and Canadian banks and legal professionals) and essential counterpart international locations (primarily the USA). Furthermore, he emphasizes the important thing function of belief by overseas monetary actors within the specific OFC, which takes time to develop and in apply limits the mobility of capital (Hudson Citation1998b). Hudson (Citation2000) confirms the view by Roberts (Citation1995) that the standing as a British dependency has been useful to the Cayman Islands, as a result of the independence of the Bahamas in 1973 led to a flight of capital from there to Cayman.

Moreover Financial Geography, IR and IPE have contributed considerably to the analysis about offshore finance usually and the Cayman OFC specifically. Palan (Citation1998, 635) coined probably the most cogent definitions of offshore (finance):

Offshore is authorized enclaves distinguished from their ‘on-shore’ brethren, not essentially due to their location, however as a result of they outline a territory or a realm of actions by which states select to withhold some or all of their rules and taxation. In that sense, offshore indicators a profound fissure within the lifetime of the state system: it denotes nothing lower than the bifurcation of the juridical house of sovereignty into mutually dependent relative areas.

Palan et al. (Citation2010), too, stress the significance that the Cayman Islands is a British dependency; actually, it’s nonetheless legally appropriate to confer with the British Abroad Territories as ‘colonies’ of the UK (Hendry and Dickinson, Citation2011, 4). Furthermore, Palan et al. (Citation2010) report that in 2008 Cayman was the fourth largest worldwide banking middle on the planet, nevertheless, concentrating solely on short-term financing. An essential level that Palan et al. (Citation2010) spotlight is that the majority OFCs, and Cayman specifically, act as secrecy jurisdictions. Secrecy by opaque monetary constructions performed a key function within the company scandals of Enron, Olympus and Parmalat in addition to within the near-collapse of the massive hedge fund LTCM, which all had vital subsidiaries in Cayman. Based on the Tax Justice Community, the Cayman Islands is quantity 5 within the 2015 Monetary Secrecy Index, which mixes a secrecy rating with a world scale weight in monetary companies exports (TJN Citation2015a; Cobham et al. Citation2015). Cayman’s comparatively excessive secrecy rating of 65, nevertheless, is decrease than these of different main OFCs, comparable to Switzerland (73) or Singapore (69), reflecting regulatory enhancements lately (TJN Citation2015b).

The evaluation of the Cayman Islands OFC by Freyer and Morriss (Citation2013) focuses totally on authorized points, however nonetheless represents probably the most complete endeavors to hint the event of this jurisdiction because the Nineteen Sixties. Their core argument is that the success of the Cayman OFC stems primarily from what they name the ‘collaborative policy-making course of’ that features native politicians and regulators, overseas consultants (primarily legal professionals from Canada and the USA) in addition to British officers. Furthermore, Freyer and Morriss (Citation2013) argue that the excessive reliability of the Cayman authorized system, based mostly on English frequent legislation, and – much more essential – its capacity to ‘innovate’ have been essential for the rise of the Cayman Islands to one of many largest monetary facilities on the planet. A central instance that Freyer and Morriss (Citation2013) focus on is the creation of the Cayman Islands Financial Authority (CIMA) within the mid-Nineteen Nineties; the laws for CIMA was developed along with the main Cayman legislation agency Maples & Calder (based by two British legal professionals within the Nineteen Sixties) and the Financial institution of England. Lastly, Harrington (Citation2016, 24) has argued that the creation of the Cayman Particular Belief Different Regime (STAR) legislation in 1997 represented an important ‘innovation’ because it ‘eradicated the necessity for a belief to have beneficiaries – one other step within the co-optation of traits of the company construction, making trusts extra handy to be used in business funding.’

Moreover the tutorial literature on the Cayman OFC, there are analyses from governmental and worldwide organizations. America Authorities Accountability Workplace (GAO) has performed a research concerning the components that trigger US residents and companies to shift monetary actions to the Cayman Islands. Along with the plain motivation to save lots of taxes, one more reason was to simplify transactions with third international locations; the great popularity of the Cayman Islands for stability, authorized certainty, and compliance with worldwide requirements additionally appears to play an essential function for the success of this jurisdiction (GAO Citation2008). In 2009, the IMF has assessed the regulation of the Cayman Islands monetary middle. The regionally obtainable experience in issues of economic legislation and accounting – primarily offered by massive worldwide superior enterprise companies companies – is recognized as an essential aggressive benefit of this jurisdiction. The best hazard to the success of the Cayman Islands OFC, in line with the IMF (Citation2009, 11), is ‘reputational threat’ – the potential lack of confidence by overseas buyers. Lastly, the OECD discovered Cayman to be ‘largely compliant’ with worldwide requirements of tax data trade (OECD Citation2013).

The varied research offered right here have analyzed a variety of essential points regarding the growth of the Cayman Islands OFC. Nonetheless, the obvious analysis hole is that there isn’t a publication that has systematically compiled all obtainable knowledge about this OFC – each diachronically to see when massive inflows occurred and geographically to find out what function sure international locations play in numerous monetary segments. Such an ‘anatomy’ of all related monetary knowledge is a elementary prerequisite for a profound and complete evaluation of this pivotal OFC. The Cayman OFC might be analytically separated in three distinct but interrelated segments: banking, direct funding, and portfolio funding.


Banking represents the historic basis upon which Cayman has constructed its OFC. Through the Nineteen Sixties, the Cayman Islands enacted a collection of legal guidelines tailor-made to draw monetary enterprise from overseas, particularly banks (TJN Citation2015b). The essential resolution that enabled the later growth of the Cayman Islands OFC was to stay underneath British sovereignty when in 1962 Jamaica (which had ruled Cayman) turned unbiased. Expatriate legal professionals from Britain and Canada drafted many Cayman legal guidelines, both copying them from the Bahamas or adapting British legal guidelines (Freyer and Morriss Citation2013). By means of its historical past as a British colony, the Cayman Islands inherited English frequent legislation. That is of central significance to the success of the Cayman OFC, as a result of monetary actors from Anglophone international locations (USA, UK, Canada, and so forth.) are aware of it and since within the English authorized custom legislation evolves in a bottom-up vogue from particular person case choices, thus considerably facilitating transnational finance. The important thing distinction between frequent legislation and civil legislation is that usually Anglophone frequent legislation solely stipulates what’s prohibited, whereas civil legislation (France, Germany, Japan and so forth.) identifies what’s permitted (Vlcek Citation2008). The consequence is that new monetary ‘improvements’ (comparable to ABS, CDOs or hedge funds) might be arrange simply, as a result of strict regulation is barely put in place in case of conspicuous misconduct or sturdy strain from highly effective overseas actors.

The Bahamas was one of many largest offshore banking facilities within the Nineteen Sixties. When, nevertheless, Nassau skilled political instability within the late Nineteen Sixties, resulting in the independence of the Bahamas from the UK in 1973, Cayman was prepared and took over a lot of the fleeing enterprise (Hudson Citation1998a; Freyer and Morriss Citation2013; Ridley Citation2007). Through the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties, Cayman skilled fast progress in offshore banking because of the liberalization and deregulation of finance pursued primarily by the USA and the UK in addition to the event of the Euromarkets – themselves a type of offshore market, as a result of Britain determined to withhold rules on the buying and selling of foreign currency echange within the Metropolis of London (Burn Citation1999). Information on cross-border banking within the Cayman Islands started in 1983 and are available from the Financial institution for Worldwide Settlements (BIS). The BIS collects two sorts of statistics, the Locational Banking Statistics (LBS) and the Consolidated Banking Statistics (CBS), every utilizing a unique methodology. The LBS seize the positions of all banking places of work resident within the reporting international locations (44 in 2015, together with Cayman) vis-à-vis counterparties situated in over 200 international locations. Thus, the LBS are based mostly on the precept of residence. Be aware that within the LBS banks report their positions on an unconsolidated foundation, together with intragroup claims and liabilities between subsidiaries of the identical financial institution. The CBS, alternatively, are based mostly on the nationality of banks. These statistics seize the consolidated positions of internationally energetic banking teams headquartered within the reporting international locations (31 in 2015). Information embody the claims of overseas subsidiaries of reporting banks however exclude intragroup positions. The CBS can thus be used to investigate the publicity of internationally energetic banks of various nationalities to particular person jurisdictions, such because the Cayman Islands. In different phrases, LBS measure all worldwide positions of banks resident in Cayman (‘inside-out perspective’), whereas CBS measure the consolidated worldwide banking claims vis-à-vis banks and non-banks situated within the Cayman Islands (‘outside-in perspective’). Figure 1 reveals LBS (claims) and CBS knowledge for Cayman from end-1983 to end-2014.

Determine 1 Growth of the Cayman Offshore Banking Sector, 1983–2014 (billion US$).

From 1983 to 1991, the worldwide claims of financial institution subsidiaries resident within the Cayman Islands (LBS) grew a lot quicker than the consolidated claims of internationally energetic banking teams from the international locations collaborating within the CBS on counterparties resident in Cayman. From the early Nineteen Nineties till the mid-2000s each measures grew with roughly the identical tempo; LBS elevated from about US$415 billion to roughly US$1125 billion whereas CBS elevated from round US$90 billion to over US$600 billion. Then, nevertheless, LBS grew by 50% in simply two years to a peak of over US$1800 billion in 2007–2008, when the worldwide monetary disaster started, earlier than stabilizing at round US$1400 billion from 2012 till at the moment. The monetary disaster didn’t cease the upward pattern of the Cayman Islands in CBS. Consolidated overseas claims briefly declined from over US$900 billion in 2007 to US$735 billion in late 2008. Nonetheless, since then claims have elevated steadily to a brand new all-time peak of US$1060 billion in 2014, or roughly 350 occasions Cayman’s GDP. These are astonishing dimensions for such a tiny jurisdiction with solely about 58,000 inhabitants. In most segments of cross-border banking Cayman is within the international high 5. In a single particular measure the Cayman Islands is even the third largest jurisdiction. That is exterior loans and deposits of reporting banks vis-à-vis particular person international locations (unconsolidated ‘outside-in perspective’; a part of LBS). reveals the 15 largest jurisdictions on this phase of cross-border banking in March 2015.

Desk 1 Exterior loans and deposits of reporting banks vis-à-vis particular person international locations, March 2015 (billion US$)

The banking statistics by the BIS present different helpful details about the Cayman offshore banking sector as properly. For instance, 68% of the claims reported by banking places of work situated within the Cayman Islands are intragroup, 26% are to non-banks and solely 6% are to different banks – and over 91% of all claims are in US greenback (BIS Citation2015a). These numbers appear to verify the findings by the IMF (Citation2009) that the most important issue for the Cayman banking sector is US banks that switch consumer’s funds to in a single day sweep accounts within the Cayman Islands (over 57% of all property in 2008). Such sweep accounts are worthwhile for banks and their shoppers (principally massive companies) as a result of they scale back reserve necessities and since extra funds in checking accounts can mechanically be ‘swept’ in a single day in devices comparable to Eurodollar deposits, repurchase agreements or cash market funds (FDIC Citation2009). Cayman acts as a pure conduit for overseas banks on this phase; or, within the phrases of Gonzalo Jalles, the CEO of Cayman Finance, ‘a big a part of the banking property registered in Cayman are US banks inserting in a single day deposits in their very own Cayman registered department. The cash is successfully being transferred between accounts in NY and never being uncovered to how an area banker in Cayman decides to speculate it’ (Klein Citation2013).

Traditionally, in a single day sweep accounts in OFCs such because the Caymans developed as a result of Regulation Q prohibited US banks from paying curiosity on demand deposit accounts. Regulation Q was repealed in 2011 and this may increasingly partly clarify the drop in Cayman LBS from US$1800 billion in 2011 to about US$1400 billion since then (see Figure 1). Current Regulation D, nevertheless, nonetheless limits the variety of home sweeps to 6 per thirty days (FED Citation2012). Sweep accounts within the Cayman Islands permit US banks to evade Regulation D. When the Federal Reserve discontinued the reporting of information on home sweeps in March 2012, they measured simply over US$800 billion. The IMF report means that sweeps of US banks to their Cayman branches are about the identical magnitude. Based on US Treasury Worldwide Capital (TIC) knowledge, in June 2015 complete US banking and short-term securities claims on the Cayman Islands amounted to virtually US$720 billion (or practically 20% of complete US worldwide claims) – the second highest worth of all international locations, behind the UK with US$860 billion (Treasury Citation2016). On stability, in a single day sweep accounts of US banks within the Cayman Islands improve the complexity of the US monetary system, scale back reserve necessities of US banks, and doubtlessly improve consumer’s threat as a result of Cayman accounts usually are not insured by the US Federal Deposit Insurance coverage Company.

LBS knowledge will also be utilized in one other manner, to investigate (unconsolidated) cross-border positions reported by banking places of work situated within the BIS reporting international locations vis-à-vis counterparties resident within the Cayman Islands. Based on these knowledge, the unconsolidated claims by BIS reporting banks to the Cayman Islands measured US$1840 billion in March 2015. Apparently, over 56% of those claims are on non-banks and solely 44% on banks (BIS Citation2015a). As well as, a surprisingly excessive share of 17% is denominated in Japanese yen (70% in US greenback and seven% in euro). This can be a sturdy indication that Japan performs a big, but hitherto not analyzed function within the Cayman OFC. Then there are additionally the CBS, that are reported by nationality of banks. The consolidated positions on counterparties resident in Cayman permit for a exact geographical evaluation of the Cayman offshore banking middle. Particularly, I take advantage of consolidated claims on an final threat foundation together with different potential exposures. In March 2015, these consolidated claims on counterparties resident within the Cayman Islands amounted to US$1074 billion (BIS Citation2015b). Earlier than we flip to a granular geographical evaluation, it is very important word that the overwhelming majority of the claims are on ‘non-bank monetary’ (over 73%), which in all chances are primarily hedge funds and different funding autos. reveals the claims of the ten largest international locations.

Desk 2 Consolidated claims on the Cayman Islands by nationality of reporting banks, March 2015 (billion US$)

clearly reveals that banks from the USA and Japan play the dominant function concerning consolidated claims on the Cayman Islands; collectively they account for 63%. Switzerland additionally performs a big function, however primarily as a result of US$72 billion in ensures prolonged to counterparties resident in Cayman (included in different potential exposures). German banks have the most important publicity to Cayman by derivatives contracts (US$18 billion) and American banks have the very best credit score commitments with virtually US$25 billion. An in depth evaluation of the CBS knowledge reveals a number of different fascinating information: The three classes bundled in ‘different potential exposures’ (derivatives contracts, ensures prolonged, and credit score commitments) all present a robust peak in 2008-09, reflecting the distinguished function of derivatives and particular objective autos legally domiciled in Cayman within the monetary disaster. Moreover, there are a variety of abrupt jumps within the knowledge of some international locations; for instance, complete claims by US banks (excluding different potential publicity) leaped from US$40 billion in December 2008 to US$163 billion in March 2009. Since then US claims have elevated steadily to over US$283 billion in March 2015. Japanese claims jumped from US$226 billion in December 2012 to US$284 billion in March 2013. It’s unclear whether or not these leaps solely replicate higher reporting by banks or real elevated claims. What’s placing in is that claims vis-à-vis banks are negligible in comparison with claims on non-bank monetary. This reveals that the Cayman Islands don’t operate as a world banking middle within the sense that banks from completely different nationalities lend to one another however somewhat that overseas banks (primarily American and Japanese ones) lend cash to hedge funds and different funding funds. International banks resident in Cayman principally conduct intragroup transactions in US greenback. Over the past thirty years, the Cayman Islands has grow to be one of many largest worldwide banking facilities – the worldwide monetary disaster however. Nonetheless, this part has proven that we have to dissect the anatomy of the Cayman offshore banking sector as a way to perceive its function within the worldwide monetary system, which lies primarily in being the offshore jurisdiction of selection for US and Japanese banks. The subsequent part turns in direction of the dissection of Cayman direct funding.


Earlier than we analyze the geography of Cayman inward and outward direct funding, it’s essential to briefly focus on what direct funding means. The massive area of funding is separated into direct funding and portfolio funding. Portfolio funding is outlined as fairness or debt devices which can be held passively to make monetary good points; the attribute characteristic of FDI, in contrast, is the goal of the investor to exert management over a overseas firm (UNCTAD Citation2015a). Globally, the phase of portfolio funding is way bigger than direct funding. The previous quantities to US$48 trillion and the latter measures US$28 trillion (IMF Citation2015, Citation2016). This discrepancy is much more distinct for the Cayman Islands, as a result of a big a part of international FDI is greenfield tasks, i.e., the constructing of latest services. The tiny dimension of the home Cayman economic system precludes vital inflows of greenfield FDI. Therefore, overseas portfolio funding is way bigger than FDI and the overwhelming majority of Cayman direct funding needs to be associated to finance. reveals the ten largest counterpart international locations of the Cayman Islands for each inward direct funding (IDI) and outward direct funding (ODI). The information are from the Coordinated Direct Funding Survey (CDIS) by the IMF. The Cayman Islands doesn’t take part within the CDIS. Nonetheless, IDI and ODI counterpart values permit the IMF to derive knowledge for Cayman.

Desk 3 Inward and outward direct funding shares of the Cayman Islands, 2014 (billion US$)

CDIS knowledge can be found solely since 2009. Cayman direct funding has greater than doubled in simply 5 years (IMF Citation2015). Nonetheless, akin to banking we have no idea if these numbers replicate real progress or simply higher reporting. In 2014, complete Cayman IDI amounted to about US$550, or over 180 occasions the GDP of the Cayman Islands – a really excessive worth. Be aware that Cayman direct funding is probably going even increased than these numbers counsel, as a result of we do not need the corresponding direct funding knowledge from different massive OFCs, comparable to Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) or Jersey. Cayman ODI (US$540 billion) is decrease than IDI; the distinction of US$17 billion is both Cayman direct funding into non-reporting OFCs or outward portfolio funding. We will assume this as a result of given the tiny dimension of the home Cayman economic system nearly all inward funding (portfolio and direct funding) has to go away the jurisdiction once more, probably altering its type whereas passing by. Thus, the Cayman Islands and different OFCs with minuscule GDPs are pure entrepôt jurisdictions regarding funding.

America is by far the most important supply of direct funding with 52% of complete IDI into Cayman (see ). Information from the US Bureau of Financial Evaluation (BEA) permit us to dissect US ODI to the Cayman Islands extra exactly. The BEA solely publishes US ODI knowledge for ‘United Kingdom Islands, Caribbean’, which incorporates BVI, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and Turks and Caicos Islands; this amounted to US$288 billion in 2014 (BEA Citation2015). Nonetheless, we will infer from the CDIS knowledge on US ODI that Cayman accounts for nearly 100% of this inventory. Therefore, it’s cheap to switch the main points of BEA knowledge on ‘United Kingdom Islands, Caribbean’ to the Cayman Islands. Thus, in 2014, simply two classes accounted for 80% of Cayman IDI from the US, 1) holding corporations (nonbank) and a couple of) finance (together with depository establishments) with over 40% every – all classes pertaining to manufacturing are negligible (US$185 million). The USA can be the most important vacation spot for Cayman ODI (US$100 billion). The Netherlands is the second largest supply of Cayman IDI and the third largest vacation spot for Cayman ODI (US$54 billion, respectively, US$76 billion). The Netherlands is the dominant international direct funding conduit, specializing in ‘Particular Objective Entities’ (SPEs). Weyzig (Citation2013) has performed an in-depth case research concerning the Netherlands and located that Dutch SPEs permit multinational enterprises (MNEs) to keep away from paying withholding taxes in lots of growing and EU international locations and allow revenue shifting by royalty funds. reveals that the Cayman Islands is concerned on this course of through direct funding to/from the Netherlands. Luxembourg, one other massive international direct funding conduit, performs an analogous function because the second largest vacation spot for Cayman ODI (US$88 billion). UNCTAD (Citation2015b) estimates that growing international locations face tax income losses of US$100 billion per yr because of the function of OFCs and SPEs in worldwide direct funding.

Brazil and China additionally use the Cayman Islands as a direct funding conduit; actually, Cayman is the most important vacation spot of Brazilian FDI (IMF Citation2015). A mixed China-Hong Kong can be the second largest vacation spot for Cayman ODI. Cayman ODI to China-Hong Kong has greater than doubled from 2009 to 2014 (US$41 billion to US$94 billion) (IMF Citation2015). Chinese language MNEs have been discovered to channel direct funding by OFCs (immediately and in addition not directly through Hong Kong) not solely to attenuate taxes (‘round-tripping’) but in addition to hide the possession of property and to realize entry to overseas capital markets (Vlcek Citation2013; Buckley et al. Citation2015). The BVI (additionally underneath UK sovereignty) is by far the most important offshore jurisdiction regarding Chinese language direct funding; in 2013 an astonishing US$780 billion had flown from there to China-Hong Kong (IMF Citation2015). The Worldwide Consortium of Investigative Journalists has revealed that – with the assistance of superior enterprise companies companies comparable to PriceWaterhouseCoopers – many kin of China’s political and financial elite have arrange shell corporations within the BVI, highlighting the function of OFCs as secrecy jurisdictions (Walker Guevara et al. Citation2014). The function of the Cayman Islands for Chinese language funding appears to be extra centered on MNEs from China that search entry to US capital markets. The superior enterprise companies agency PriceWaterhouse has devised a authorized ‘innovation’ in 2000 that allowed many Chinese language companies to avoid China’s restrictions on overseas funding in industries comparable to IT, e-commerce and training (Gillis Citation2012). This authorized machine is known as the ‘variable curiosity entity’ (VIE). VIEs permit Chinese language companies to publicly checklist overseas, often within the USA, and thus to realize entry to overseas capital. The authorized construction works as follows: The Chinese language company is separated into two elements – the companies which can be open to overseas possession are transferred to a so-called wholly overseas owned enterprise (WFOE), the restricted companies are put within the VIE, which is owned and managed by Chinese language people. Then, an offshore holding firm is created that owns the WFOE, usually within the Cayman Islands as a result of till 2014 it had been the one OFC allowed to publicly checklist companies in each the USA and Hong Kong (Sutherland and Anderson Citation2015). Subsequently, the Cayman holding lists its shares within the USA. Nonetheless, the problematic side had been how one can consolidate the restricted companies which can be a part of the VIE with out violating Chinese language guidelines on overseas funding. The answer devised by accounting companies was to imitate possession by a collection of authorized contracts between the Cayman firm and the VIE. These contracts give the Cayman holding sufficient de facto management over the Chinese language VIE that it is ready to consolidate it underneath present accounting guidelines, regardless that Chinese language legislation really prohibits overseas funding on this sector. Thus, this authorized construction constitutes a gray zone with appreciable hidden threat for buyers within the Cayman firm, as a result of the entire construction rests on the willingness of Chinese language authorities to tolerate it. In 2014, the Chinese language e-commerce large Alibaba (the Cayman holding, that’s) raised a report US$25 billion with its preliminary public providing (IPO) within the USA, thus most likely perpetuating the VIE construction given the sheer dimension of the IPO. Nonetheless, buyers in Alibaba don’t have any de jure management over the Chinese language company, as they solely personal shares within the Cayman holding. Alibaba describes the scenario to buyers in a registration assertion to the US Securities and Trade Fee (SEC) as follows: ‘It’s possible you’ll face difficulties in defending your pursuits, and your capacity to guard your rights by the US federal courts could also be restricted as a result of we’re integrated underneath Cayman Islands legislation, we conduct considerably all of our operations in China and most of our administrators and all of our govt officers reside outdoors the USA’ (SEC Citation2014).

China’s authorities appears to tolerate the usage of VIEs in restricted sectors, however provided that the offshore holding is managed by Chinese language people, by twin class shares or different preparations (Gillis Citation2015). This episode reveals that Cayman is on the forefront of latest developments in finance that always contain monumental threat for some events (shareholders on this case) whereas benefiting others (Chinese language founders, Cayman itself). Moreover, the rise of VIEs helps the argument that there’s an ‘superior enterprise services-offshore nexus’ (Wójcik Citation2013a) that drives the event of OFCs. Haberly and Wójcik (Citation2015b) have discovered that Cayman is a part of the ‘Anglo Alliance’ direct funding community, performing as a robust hyperlink between the ‘Pax Americana’ and the ‘Higher China’ subnetworks. This part has shed new mild on the particular traits of Cayman direct funding. Nonetheless, regardless that it already measures about half a trillion US greenback it represents the smallest of the three monetary segments. The biggest phase by far is portfolio funding.


Fairness and debt devices (e.g., shares and bonds) which can be held for monetary achieve (i.e., are beneath 10% of voting rights) signify the majority of world cross-border portfolio funding. Probably the most complete knowledge supply for this phase is the Coordinated Portfolio Funding Survey (CPIS) by the IMF. In mid-2015, 70 jurisdictions have participated within the CPIS, together with Cayman. Nonetheless, the Cayman Islands stories solely portfolio funding held by banks thus excluding the huge hedge fund sector (Lane and Milesi-Ferretti Citation2010; Zucman Citation2013). This renders the official Cayman CPIS knowledge nearly ineffective. Along with the reported property, the IMF additionally publishes derived portfolio funding liabilities. These knowledge are derived from the 70 reporting international locations and canopy 234 jurisdictions. Particularly for non-reporting OFCs or underreporting jurisdictions, derived portfolio funding liabilities are extraordinarily helpful. For mid-2015, the Cayman Islands reported (outward) portfolio funding property of US$61 billion (IMF Citation2016). The derived portfolio funding liabilities, nevertheless, reveal that Cayman (inward) portfolio funding is over US$2574 billion – 42 occasions greater than the official Cayman knowledge counsel. Thus, at mid-2015 the Cayman Islands have been the sixth largest monetary middle on the planet regarding cross-border portfolio funding. The USA has been the most important jurisdiction with US$9790 billion, adopted by the UK (US$3728 billion), France (US$3049 billion), Luxembourg (US$2926 billion), and Germany with US$2835 billion (IMF Citation2016). The massive discrepancy between reported property (that exclude hedge funds) and derived liabilities (which embody them) reveals that the hedge fund trade performs a central function for Cayman portfolio funding (Zucman Citation2013). The monetary geography of the Cayman hedge fund sector is analyzed intimately additional beneath. First, I disaggregate Cayman portfolio funding as a way to establish the most important counterpart international locations. As Coates and Rafferty (Citation2007) have famous, nevertheless, the true ‘nationality’ (i.e., the final word possession) of portfolio funding is difficult to confirm as a result of funding devices could cross-multiple jurisdictions.

The international locations collaborating in CPIS have reported US$2574 billion of portfolio funding into the Cayman Islands in mid-2015. The biggest counterparty by far has been the USA with US$1206 billion (or 47%), adopted by Japan (US$558 billion), Hong Kong (US$343 billion), the UK (US$91 billion), and Luxembourg with US$83 billion (IMF Citation2016). These 5 international locations are answerable for virtually 90% of complete portfolio funding into Cayman. Because of the extreme underreporting of the Cayman Islands, CPIS knowledge usually are not helpful for figuring out the locations of Cayman portfolio funding. Japan is the one main counterparty of Cayman that stories portfolio funding liabilities, an inspired merchandise of CPIS; in mid-2015, Japan measured US$51 billion of inward portfolio funding from the Cayman Islands. Thus, lower than one tenth of the Japanese portfolio funding of over half a trillion US greenback to Cayman has flown again. A considerable share has most likely ended up within the USA. Based on US Treasury knowledge, the worth of US securities held in Cayman amounted to a staggering US$1506 billion in mid-2015, making the Cayman Islands the third largest counterpart jurisdiction behind Japan and China (Treasury Citation2016). The truth is, when excluding long-term US Treasuries, of which the central banks (or different public establishments) from each Japan and China maintain greater than US$1000 billion, Cayman is the most important holder of US securities on the planet. US portfolio funding into Cayman amounted to US$1206 billion. Therefore, Cayman portfolio funding into the USA is US$300 billion bigger than vice versa. It’s cheap to imagine {that a} substantial share of this distinction might be ascribed to buyers from Japan and Hong Kong that use Cayman as a conduit for portfolio funding into the massive American fairness markets. In 2003, the Cayman Islands Financial Authority (CIMA) has created the Retail Mutual Funds (Japan) Laws as a way to allow Japanese monetary establishments to launch hedge and mutual funds domiciled in Cayman eligible for Japanese buyers. The method included a number of visits by CIMA personnel to Japan and substantial analysis to align these particular Cayman rules to Japanese legal guidelines (Solomon Harris Citation2006). Thus, Cayman acts as a fund conduit for Japanese buyers, offering them with a level of secrecy once they put money into the USA, in rising markets, and probably in politically delicate China (Japan Occasions Citation2012).

The mix of US Treasury knowledge (for US securities held in Cayman) and CPIS knowledge (for all different holdings) allows us to visualise Cayman’s place in worldwide portfolio funding. Figure 2 reveals fourteen massive international locations on this phase which have vital funding ties with Cayman; the dimensions of the jurisdictions is equal to their worth of inward portfolio funding from the opposite 13 economies. The Cayman Islands and all portfolio funding into this jurisdiction is proven in purple. The USA because the dominant nation in cross-border funding is put on the middle of the graph and coloured darkish gray (in addition to the portfolio funding into the USA); all different jurisdictions are proven in mild gray. Jurisdictions have been organized for optimum visible readability. The determine makes clear that the USA remains to be the undisputed middle for worldwide portfolio funding, adopted by the UK. France, Germany, and Japan play a a lot smaller function as locations of portfolio funding. China (for which CPIS knowledge turned obtainable for the primary time in mid-2015) remains to be small in portfolio funding as a result of sturdy restrictions for overseas buyers (see Fichtner Citation2016 for 4 novel visualizations of world finance). Figure 2 reveals that Cayman is among the largest international nodes for portfolio funding, however primarily acts as a conduit for funding into the USA, both through American ‘round-tripping’ or from Japan and Hong Kong. Luxembourg, Switzerland, and the UK additionally report notable portfolio funding into Cayman however on a a lot smaller scale than in comparison with the USA, Japan, and Hong Kong. In mid-2015, portfolio funding from Cayman to the USA (US$1506 billion) has really been the most important particular person cross-border inventory of portfolio funding on the planet, forward of US portfolio funding into the UK with US$1336 billion (word that reserve holdings, comparable to the massive quantity of US Treasuries held by Japan and China are excluded in CPIS). This huge holding of portfolio funding by Cayman residents can solely be understood by analyzing the monetary geography of the Cayman hedge fund trade.

Determine 2 The Cayman Islands’ place in worldwide portfolio funding, mid-2015.

Till just lately, knowledge on the worldwide hedge fund trade had been solely collected by non-public corporations comparable to Hedge Fund Analysis (HFR). In 2011, the Worldwide Group of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) started publishing biannual hedge fund surveys. These surveys, nevertheless, solely cowl massive hedge funds with property of greater than US$500 million. In 2014, over 50% of the 1486 massive hedge funds surveyed have been domiciled in Cayman (IOSCO 2015) – for giant UK hedge funds the worth is even 69% (FCA Citation2015). Based on the consulting agency OliverWyman, in 2013 about 60% of complete hedge fund property have been legally domiciled within the Cayman Islands – 14% in BVI, 12% in Delaware (Clarkson et al., Citation2014). Therefore, each sources point out that Cayman is the domicile of selection for the worldwide hedge fund trade. The truth that nearly all of your complete hedge fund trade is (legally) concentrated in Cayman is exceptional for such a tiny jurisdiction. Figure 3 plots the event of complete hedge fund property and Cayman portfolio funding. Information for hedge funds are from HFR, which maintains a database of over 7500 funds; knowledge for derived portfolio liabilities are from the IMF, and knowledge for estimated portfolio property are from Zucman (Citation2015).

Determine 3 Growth of Hedge Fund Property and Cayman Portfolio Funding, 2001–2014 (billion US$).

The result’s astonishing; all traces have moved extraordinarily shut collectively from 2001 to 2014. This means that 1) Cayman has been capable of preserve its function because the main domicile for hedge funds all through this era, and a couple of) that the hedge fund trade is considerably bigger than the info from HFR point out. Calculations by the creator based mostly on CIMA’s Investments Statistical Digest counsel that the Cayman hedge fund trade had roughly US$2030 billion in property underneath administration in 2013 (web asset worth of grasp funds and stand-alone funds divided by 0.82 as a way to regulate for the 18% of non-reporting funds; see CIMA Citation2014). Thus, if Cayman accounted for 60% of complete hedge fund property in 2013, the worldwide hedge fund trade ought to have amounted to almost US$3400 billion as a substitute of US$2630 billion – that is in step with estimates from eVestment for mid-2013, which put international property underneath administration by hedge funds at US$3411 billion (Baert Citation2013). The remaining distinction between Cayman hedge funds property of US$2030 billion and Cayman portfolio funding of US$2200 billion might be attributable to the estimated 15% of world non-public fairness property which can be domiciled in Cayman (Clarkson et al., Citation2014). Hedge funds domicile in Cayman as a result of there are not any direct taxes, as a result of regulation is directly each lax and complex (based mostly on English frequent legislation), and eventually as a result of the jurisdiction allows a sure diploma of secrecy. The Monetary Occasions revealed in 2011 {that a} small group of ‘jumbo administrators’ sat on the boards of lots of of hedge funds, making it nearly not possible for them to successfully fulfill their fiduciary duties to buyers; within the phrases of a quoted knowledgeable: ‘We now have specialist directorship companies constructing obscenely massive portfolios of directorships with out even incomes a rebuke from the Cayman’s regulator’ (Jones Citation2011). A case that illustrates how hedge funds use Cayman secrecy is Tiger World. This fund created shell corporations in Cayman with agency names together with the authorized suffices of European international locations, such because the Dutch ‘NV’ or the German ‘GmbH’. Then ‘Blau GmbH’, ‘Fest NV’ and different shells construct up quick positions in a number of listed companies, whose shares fell considerably after damaging analysis stories emerged, which might have been ordered by Tiger World, netting the fund substantial income (Johnson Citation2014). Paradoxically, Cayman rules should be free to a sure extent to present hedge funds sufficient ‘flexibility’, however on the identical time, the regulatory infrastructure needs to be refined to take care of the picture of a reliable up-market OFC to buyers and to keep away from strain by overseas international locations.

Most likely as a result of overseas strain, the Cayman regulator started publishing yearly funding statistics in 2008. These knowledge permit for a granular evaluation of the monetary geography of Cayman’s large hedge fund sector, which comprised over 11,300 funds at end-2013 (CIMA Citation2014). I don’t use knowledge on all registered funds, however solely on grasp funds to keep away from double-counting by funds of hedge funds (detailed knowledge on stand-alone funds usually are not obtainable). Grasp funds had web property of US$1230 billion in 2013, which represents about 60% of complete Cayman hedge fund property. About 75% of grasp fund property have been invested in ‘North America’ (Canada and the USA) and solely 19% in ‘Europe’ (most likely primarily within the UK). Thus there’s a sturdy focus of hedge fund funding within the USA (funding in Canada is probably going minor). Hedge funds require a variety of companies to operate, comparable to web asset calculation in addition to registrar and switch company companies. CIMA knowledge present that the overwhelming majority of those companies is being offered in simply three jurisdictions, all of that are English-speaking: the Cayman Islands (34%), Eire (28%), and the USA (22%). Lastly, there’s detailed details about the placement of hedge fund managers; these knowledge are essential as a result of they present the place the funding choices are literally being made. Once more, we discover a vital geographic focus in English-speaking, or Anglophone, international locations. America is clearly dominant: a rare 70% of all grasp fund property have been managed within the USA. The UK (i.e., London) accounted for 16%. Which means that roughly 86% of grasp hedge fund property have been managed in simply these two international locations. For the USA, CIMA statistics present granular knowledge about hedge fund supervisor areas. New York is the predominant administration location with over 40% of all web property domiciled in Cayman, Connecticut accounted for 11%, and California for 7%. Illinois and Massachusetts accounted for about 3% every, whereas roughly 2% have been managed in Texas, New Jersey and Minnesota, respectively (CIMA Citation2014). Thus, simply two larger areas acted because the administration location for a minimum of 70% of complete property: New York-Boston (together with Greenwich and Westport in Connecticut) and London. From analysis concerning the world metropolis community we all know that New York and London are the 2 dominant international monetary facilities (Taylor et al. Citation2011; Taylor and Derudder Citation2015); Wójcik (Citation2013b) – drawing on Unusual (Citation1998) – makes use of the time period ‘the New York-London axis’, or just ‘NY-LON’, to explain the joint dominance of those to interconnected monetary facilities (see Norfield Citation2016 for an insightful evaluation of London’s function in international finance). The intense focus of world hedge fund managers in these two larger areas, nevertheless, appears unparalleled (with the attainable exception of the funding banking trade, which can be concentrated in NY-LON – and strongly related to hedge funds). The Anglo-America or Anglosphere method from IR and IPE appears particularly apposite to elucidate the joint dominance of the USA and the UK in international finance. Furthermore, this method offers a believable rationalization for the large dimension and the particular anatomy of the Cayman OFC that this paper has dissected.


The Anglosphere method by Vucetic (Citation2011, 7) builds upon constructivism and conceptualizes the neighborhood of the English-speaking international locations as based mostly on a shared racialized Anglo-Saxon identification, ‘a social form that exists as a result of individuals imagine it exists’. Vucetic bases his evaluation on historic case research about essential interactions between the core international locations of the Anglosphere (USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). He intentionally selected episodes that immediately concern the sphere of nationwide safety as this area is often theorized to signify the least-likely case for cooperation between sovereign states in an ‘anarchical’ system of IRs. He argues that it clearly is a puzzle for many standard IR theories how the ‘Anglo-American battle turned ‘unthinkable’ whereas peace and cooperation turned reliable’ (Vucetic Citation2011, 20). Therefore, there’s a significantly excessive stage of belief between Anglophone decision-makers as a result of they typically don’t understand counterparts from the Anglosphere as an ‘different’. Gamble (Citation2006, 9) makes use of the time period Anglo-America and argues that the Anglophone international locations signify an ‘imagined neighborhood’, which has not one distinct middle, however consists of various states and nations, comparable to Australia, Britain, Canada, Eire, New Zealand, Scotland, Wales, and the USA. He argues that ‘Anglo-America is a political house constituted by wider financial, political, ideological and cultural relationships’ (Gamble Citation2003, 86). Students have discovered empirical proof for the existence of a particular Anglo-American mannequin of capitalism. Corridor and Soskice (Citation2001), and Amable (Citation2003) argue that the Anglophone economies represent a definite socio-economic mannequin – ‘liberal market economies’ or ‘market-based economies’ by which monetary markets play a pivotal function. Furthermore, the authorized methods of all Anglophone international locations and territories are based mostly on frequent legislation, which facilitates monetary actions inside this Anglo-American transnational house. Inexperienced (Citation2015) has proven that an ‘Anglo-American developmental sphere’ was essential to the event of the pivotal Euromarkets in London, which, in flip, led to a ‘transatlantic regulatory suggestions loop’ that induced wider worldwide monetary deregulation. Thus, Anglo-America has performed a key function for monetary globalization. The revelations concerning the unparalleled cooperation by the Anglophone international locations within the extraordinarily delicate subject of intelligence (dubbed the ‘5 Eyes’) have corroborated the cogency of the Anglo-America/Anglosphere method considerably (McGregor Citation2013).

Nearly all worldwide socio-economic statistics deal with the Anglophone international locations solely on the grounds the place they’re situated geographically, i.e., the UK is seen as a part of ‘Europe’, Australia as belonging to ‘Asia-Pacific’, and Cayman, BVI and others as ‘Caribbean’. The Anglo-America/Anglosphere method, alternatively, means that these states and territories usually have far more in frequent with different Anglophone international locations than with neighboring international locations and, thus, needs to be analyzed collectively. Analysis by Heemskerk and Takes (Citation2016) helps this view. Using neighborhood detection by modularity maximization, they analyze how the most important a million international companies are related by interlocking directorates. They discover proof for the existence of a globally dominant ‘North Atlantic & Commonwealth Group’, which integrates the Anglophone international locations. Making use of the Anglo-America/Anglosphere method to the Cayman Islands opens new avenues for explaining the extraordinary dimension and the distinctive anatomy of this central OFC. The truth that Cayman is underneath British sovereignty has been seen as central by Roberts (Citation1995) and Hudson (Citation2000) as this standing offers political stability. What has not been mentioned thus far is that this political standing additionally offers a excessive stage of belief to the USA, the predominant counterparty of Cayman. In 2009, London suspended native authorities within the Turks and Caicos Islands (one other British dependency) and put the governor in cost for 2 years as a result of proof for widespread corruption (Reuters Citation2009; see additionally Clegg Citation2012; Hintjens and Hodge Citation2012). This occasion demonstrated that the UK will assure stability in all of its offshore ‘colonies’, comparable to BVI, Bermuda, Jersey or Cayman, which makes them qualitatively completely different from (aspirant) OFCs which can be unbiased, comparable to Panama, Belize or the Seychelles.

The event of the Cayman OFC is inextricably linked with its sovereign energy, the UK. Within the Nineteen Sixties, the Colonial Workplace assisted Cayman (in addition to the BVI and others) with the adoption of British legal guidelines as a way to set up OFCs, reportedly to keep away from being left with financially dependent territories within the Caribbean (Picciotto Citation1992; Freyer and Morriss Citation2013). Nonetheless, British assist for the Cayman OFC continued after London ended growth aids to Cayman within the mid-Nineteen Seventies, supposedly as a result of it was thought that Cayman and different British OFCs introduced extra enterprise to the Metropolis of London than they induced tax avoidance within the UK (Freyer and Morriss Citation2013). London additionally performed a key function in repeatedly aiding negotiations with Washington when the USA complained about conspicuous deficiencies in Cayman rules. Arguably, solely this tripartite relation has made it attainable that Cayman turned the domicile of selection for the hedge fund trade and the most important holder of US securities (excluding Treasuries) on the planet. Thus, the Cayman Islands might be conceived as a quintessentially Anglo-American OFC. A closing key hyperlink between Anglo-America and the Cayman OFC is the superior enterprise services-offshore nexus recognized by Wójcik (Citation2013a). Nearly all main superior enterprise companies companies, comparable to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Ernst&Younger, and Deloitte, in addition to most massive international legislation companies are Anglo-American, i.e., have nearly all of their operations in Anglophone international locations (primarily in NY-LON) and are sometimes the results of mergers between American and British companies. Anglo-American superior enterprise companies companies have performed a pivotal function for the ascent of the Cayman OFC. The truth is, two former heads of the Cayman regulator CIMA have been recruited from such companies, that are concerned within the creation of most Cayman legal guidelines pertaining to finance (Freyer and Morriss Citation2013). The nexus between the UK, superior enterprise companies, and Cayman might be even be inferred from the very excessive worth of British companies exports to the Cayman Islands, which have amounted to about US$3.5 billion in 2013 (ONS Citation2015). This worth is increased than British companies exports to a lot bigger international locations comparable to Denmark, India or Hong Kong.

The Anglo-America/Anglosphere method offered on this paper as one believable rationalization for the distinctive growth of the Cayman Islands OFC is said to, but in addition differs from, the idea of the ‘Second British Empire’ by Palan (Citation2015). Based on that argument, the UK dependencies (Bermuda, BVI, Cayman, Jersey, Guernsey and so forth.), but in addition former colonies comparable to Cyprus, Hong Kong, and Singapore, type a ‘Second British Empire’ in finance, which is centered on the Metropolis of London. This idea is certainly very helpful to focus on the ancillary function of the UK ‘colonies’ for the sturdy place of the Metropolis of London in worldwide finance (see additionally Norfield Citation2016 on this level); nevertheless, I might be skeptical to incorporate Hong Kong and Singapore, as a result of each are clearly not underneath the sovereignty of the UK anymore, and in addition compete with the Metropolis in sure monetary segments. The Anglo-America/Anglosphere idea has the benefit to emphasize the sturdy trans-Atlantic monetary integration of the Metropolis with New York (i.e., NY-LON). Whereas the time period ‘Second British Empire’ would counsel that London is firmly in management I might argue that in lots of instances there’s a joint Anglo-American management in worldwide finance (see Fichtner Citation2016 for a research of the persistent structural energy of Anglo-America in 9 key segments of world finance). The evaluation of the Cayman Islands OFC on this paper reveals that whereas it is a crucial issue that this jurisdiction is underneath UK sovereignty, Cayman primarily caters to the pursuits of American (and to a lesser diploma additionally Japanese) buyers and isn’t as strongly related to the Metropolis of London.


Financial Geography, IR and IPE in addition to economics have more and more engaged the essential matter of offshore finance lately. The target of this paper is to investigate one of many largest and most central OFCs in nice element – the Cayman Islands. Specifically, I contribute to the literature by dissecting the anatomy of the Cayman OFC in a really exact and fine-grained method. This novel dissection of the Cayman OFC reveals that in all three monetary segments – offshore banking, direct funding, and portfolio funding – the most important counterparty is the USA. American banks make the most of Cayman intensively for in a single day sweep accounts and different intra-group transactions. Cayman direct funding and portfolio funding can be clearly dominated by the USA. Nonetheless, the Cayman Islands just isn’t an OFC solely catering to the USA. This paper is the primary to investigate the essential function of Japan for the Cayman Islands. Japanese banking claims on Cayman residents are virtually as massive as American ones and Japanese portfolio buyers have routed half a trillion US greenback to this tiny Caribbean archipelago. This can be a surprisingly excessive worth for Japan, amounting to almost 50% of US portfolio funding to Cayman, regardless that the dimensions of the Japanese economic system is barely a few quarter of the American economic system. The reason being that the Cayman regulator has created particular rules to arrange funding and hedge funds for Japanese buyers.

Cayman is qualitatively completely different from most different OFCs, particularly from many small aspirant ones. The first goal of the Cayman Islands appears to not be to draw illicit monetary flows (though there’s most likely a big quantity of black cash in Cayman), however to operate as a conduit for giant worldwide monetary establishments, enabling them to scale back taxes in addition to evade ‘onshore’ regulation. In that regard, Cayman might be extra akin to Luxembourg, which acts as a significant hub for European funding funds and huge MNEs, than to Switzerland, which primarily attracts non-public funds or the Netherlands, which acts as the most important direct funding conduit. The Cayman Islands is among the largest OFCs on the planet, however, extra importantly, it’s a central node of up to date international finance. This tiny group of islands within the Caribbean acts as the worldwide domicile of selection for the hedge fund trade. Different monetary ‘improvements’ for which Cayman has performed a key function are opaque CDOs that contributed to the monetary disaster in addition to doubtful VIEs utilized by many Chinese language companies to get entry to US capital markets. Most of those ‘improvements’ carry clear advantages to Cayman and sure monetary actors, whereas entailing vital hidden prices and dangers for different teams and international locations, thus impairing the transparency and the soundness of world monetary markets. The worldwide monetary disaster has induced a brief decline of the Cayman OFC; nevertheless, all three monetary segments hit new all-time highs lately.

A novel contribution to the evaluation of the Cayman OFC by this paper is the introduction of the Anglo-America/Anglosphere method. Cayman represents one node in a triangle with the USA and the UK – or with NY-LON to be extra exact in geographical phrases. No different monetary trade illustrates this higher than hedge funds, that are quintessentially Anglo-American. Hedge fund managers are extraordinarily concentrated in NY-LON; hedge fund assist companies are being offered principally by Cayman, Eire, in addition to the USA; and the authorized domiciles of those funds are concentrated primarily within the Cayman Islands with BVI and Delaware performing as secondary authorized facilities. Therefore, Cayman acts as a core aspect of the worldwide Anglo-American hedge fund trade. Drawing on Palan’s (Citation1998) definition of offshore, Cayman could possibly be seen as a authorized enclave inside the Anglo-American transnational juridical house for the advantage of massive monetary actors, as a result of the UK, as Cayman’s sovereign energy, allows the withholding of regulation and taxation whereas on the identical time guaranteeing political stability and belief. Furthermore, the Cayman Islands performs a key function in connecting Japan and China (together with Hong Kong) to Anglo-American monetary markets. Cayman’s ‘power’ on this context is that it combines relaxed regulation with comparatively refined monetary authorities which can be capable of react shortly to worldwide developments. On this manner, Cayman allows oblique entry to the essential US monetary markets that could be significantly fitted to buyers from Asia, particularly China. Future analysis ought to analyze the function of Anglo-America for offshore finance, specializing in key OFCs comparable to Bermuda, BVI, Delaware and Eire, and their hyperlink to NY-LON. Moreover, research on the nexus between Anglo-America, superior enterprise companies companies (e.g., the Massive 4 accounting companies), and offshore finance are essential.

Lastly, just a few coverage implications come up from the findings of this paper. On the very least, all massive OFCs comparable to Cayman ought to should take part absolutely in CDIS and CPIS (with out having the ability to exclude sectors, comparable to hedge funds) or face critical penalties. Solely full reporting allows regulators and researchers to investigate the complicated international community of direct and portfolio funding. As well as, the introduction of necessary country-by-country-reporting for giant multinational companies would carry a lot wanted transparency regarding their monetary actions in OFCs. A extra formidable measure can be to create a complete international monetary register as proposed by Piketty (Citation2014) and Zucman (Citation2015), together with necessary participation for tax havens. This might treatment the truth that cross-border monetary shares involving trusts (an Anglo-American frequent legislation specialty) are virtually fully unaccounted for (Harrington Citation2016). Massive ‘up-market’ OFCs, comparable to Cayman or Luxembourg, search to attenuate reputational threat and are due to this fact usually receptive to reforms – if overseas political strain is powerful sufficient. Thus, the amelioration of offshore finance in the end relies on the political will of the OECD international locations, and significantly that of the USA and the UK.

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