By Shurna Robbins
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands, Dec 28 (Reuters) – The Cayman Islands are promising immigration incentives to keep foreign firms from quitting the Caribbean hedge fund hub, but locals want a bigger share of jobs in the lucrative financial sector.
The British overseas territory, a beach-lined island group south of Cuba that is legal home to most of the world’s hedge funds, has seen a drop during the global credit crisis in the number of companies located there, industry experts say.
Caymans Prime Minister McKeeva Bush and other local policy makers want to prevent any exodus of companies in the strategic financial industry, that accounts for more than half of the national economy, by offering more attractive, flexible immigration regulations in the islands.
“First, you have to stabilize the companies that are already here and stop the hemorrhaging,” said Sherri Bodden-Cowan, who heads an Immigration Review Team that is trying to improve immigration procedures.
“Then we can talk about new business. We are looking at attracting fund managers, brokers, deal-makers who have a lot to say on where capital goes on creating funds,” she added.