Insisting that her recent meetings with European Union (EU) technocrats and policy-makers were to protect her country’s economic mainstay, Bermuda’s Premier declared that it was time to give her country a ‘political face’ as she engaged key regulators on matters related to the Solvency II Directive.
In particular she sought to explain the OFC’s efforts towards Solvency II equivalence and restated the case against a ‘one-size fits all’ approach to insurance companies and captives in mitigating insolvency risks.
Few island OFCs regard Brussels as a place where increasingly scarce political ‘currency’ should be expended in the cause of international business and financial services. Indeed, Washington and London are the usual ‘hotbeds’ of frenzied politicking in matters of this nature.
Paris has since joined this list largely as a result of the OECD’s work on tax co-operation and transparency. This work which has its genesis in the late 1990s was the reason why one OFC established a permanent presence in the French capital to monitor, respond, and influence the process of international rule-making, to very good effect.
Until recently EU financial services disciplines have been of little concern to the majority of OFCs because of their limited territorial reach. Indeed most OFCs who maintain missions in the ‘capital’ of the European Union hold only a ‘watching brief’ in matters of financial services with the mainstay of their activities focussed on the multilateral market access deliberations within the ACP-EU grouping.
What the Premier has perhaps understood is that with the rise of the G-20 as global standard setter and enforcer of international financial services norms in pursuit of their objective to rebuild and strengthen the world economy, that elevating her country’s profile in Brussels is now just as important as maintaining its visibility in London, Washington and Paris.