Industry Leaders Series

The Bermuda Business Development Agency

July 04, 2020 Thomas Burton Season 1 Episode 1
Industry Leaders Series
The Bermuda Business Development Agency
Show Notes Transcript

Kicking off our Industry Leaders Series, Andy Burrows, CEO of the Business Development Agency, explains the advantages and process of starting up a company in Bermuda.  Learn more at © Hamilton Recruitment 2020. Subscribe so you don't miss an episode and don't forget to leave us a rating.


We feel Bermuda is the only jurisdiction where business can meet with government, the regulator, investors, lawyers and other required service providers, in one day. Everyone is readily accessible and accommodating.


Hello and welcome to our podcast. Could you please introduce yourself? 


Thank you, Tom. I am Andy Burrows. I am the CEO of the Bermuda Business Development Agency, commonly called the BDA.


Could you tell me a little bit about the advantages of a company looking to set up operations 
in Bermuda, Andy?


Absolutely. Bermuda’s pro-business culture and gold-standard regulatory and legislative framework, combined with its stability and convenient location, being just 90 minutes away from New York, have underpinned its development as a blue chip jurisdiction.  If I could put it simply, there are really [four] unique advantages as to why Bermuda is the best place for your business. 


Firstly, quality and the expertise. Our financial services regulator, the Bermuda Monetary Authority, has established a robust regulatory system to meet the highest international standards during its 50 years in operation.

The BMA takes a pragmatic view and understands the importance of enabling innovation without compromising compliance. Our world-leading Re/Insurance industry is just one part of a long-established and mature market that includes offerings across high net worth services, trusts and private clients, funds, private equity, FinTech, shipping and aviation, just to name a few. This means we have a wealth of talent on Island in addition to the International Stock Exchange. 


Secondly, Bermuda is business friendly. We are easily accessible, given our location between North America and Europe.

Our time zone is convenient for global markets. English is the official language and the Bermuda dollar is on par with the US dollar. 

Thirdly, Bermuda’s stable regulatory and political environment. It's also a draw when combined with its English-style legal system. We are recognized as a global leader against financial crime, as confirmed by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force in early 2010. 

Bermuda ranks first overall against the current stringent technical compliance requirements, it’s in the top seven globally for overall level of effectiveness, and is one of only two jurisdictions in the world, the other being the UK, at a high level of effectiveness in relation to its risk assessment and domestic coordination mechanism. 

Fourthly, Bermuda is globally connected, and Bermuda offers a sophisticated and beautiful island lifestyle. This helps to attract and retain talent and capital.


That’s a lot of reasons why a company would be interested in setting up on the Island. Could I ask, Andy, what sort of professional support services are there in Bermuda for any such organization looking for those types of service provision?


Tom, Bermuda is home to highly-qualified industries including legal services, trusts and corporate service providers, accounting and banking, which consists of five deposit-taking entities, four banks and a credit union serving the needs of local and international business. 

Bermuda has more than 15,000 residents who are in the financial business, legal and regulatory sectors, who have broad experience in transatlantic capital markets, banking, finance and insurance. So businesses are sure to find the quality support they need here.


It's obviously a very important consideration for anyone looking to set up operations on the Island to know that there is that full complement of professional support services available.

What would you say makes Bermuda a distinctive choice really as a jurisdiction in which to do business versus other offshore centres out there? 

I think we condense it simply to how we commonly describe ourselves. We feel Bermuda is the only jurisdiction where business can meet with government, the regulator, investors, lawyers and other required service providers in one day. Everyone is readily accessible and accommodating. We think that is what distinguishes us in any other jurisdiction.


Fantastic. And very briefly, if you can, how difficult and is it for an overseas player to set up a presence on the island? And here I'm thinking things like cost or time or regulation, that type of thing.


There are several options for setting up a business in Bermuda. What you need to do will depend on the nature of your business, whether you wish to conduct business in the local market, and the type of business entity you choose to set up. 

Generally speaking, formation of a limited company partnership or a limited liability company, which does not require the consent of the Minister of Finance, may be accomplished generally within one day after the application is received.


If the consent of the minister is required, the time usually is two to three working days from the date that the BMA has received all necessary information regarding the proposed company, and all personal declarations from the proposed beneficial owners. For those entities that require a license to operate a financial institution, for example, a more detailed application process is involved and costs vary. It depends on the nature and scale of the business a person wishes to establish in Bermuda. The fees are generally published on the BMA website and the Registrar of Companies website.


But for more information on this, I encourage people to contact us at the Bermuda Business Development Agency. Our number is +1 441 292 0632. We can help to guide you through this sort of process and you can find more information on the website and the Bermuda government website.


As I understand it, there are basically two main types of company that can be set up in Bermuda. There are exempted companies and local companies. Would you mind outlining the main differences between these types of company?

The local companies are generally companies where the ownership is particularly Bermudian. There is something called the 60-40 opportunity and that's where you set up a company where the ownership is 60% Bermudian, 40 percent non-Bermudian. And that’s generally that is an option.


For somebody looking to set up an exempt company on the Island, for instance, what sort of assistance in a practical sense is available from the Bermuda Development Agency or government or other parties in order to help them set up a presence on the Island?


They will go through a service provider, which is generally a lawyer. And then they will then go through supplying all the necessary paperwork. And the process remains, as I said in the other few earlier, , it depends on the type of company it is under one day if it doesn't require consent. Or it's two or three days after all documents have been filed [if it does require consent].


As a general rule, professional services staff who are not local Islanders, for example, expat accountants or lawyers that you've referred to, they need to have work permits and those can take several months to approve. However, I believe there's something called the New Business work permit. How does this work?


Bermuda provides a range of work permit and immigration options, one of which as you say, is the New Business work permit. This helps business get up and running quickly and allows companies that are new to Bermuda to receive up to 5 permits with automatic approval for the first six months without a need to advertise for the positions. New Business work permit holders may be employed in any category, provided that their position is not an entry level position, a graduate position or trainee position or position specify in a closed category or a restricted category.


New Business will permit are available as either one, two, three, four or five-year permits to help new companies get up and running as well as recruit talent outside of the Bermuda workforce. These currently run a range between US$1,700 to $6,700.

There are other dedicated permit schemes available as well, including the FinTech work permit program. 


FinTech is a big thing at the moment, isn't it? It's really growing. And Bermuda has always shown itself to be the home of innovation in many different ways, from captive insurance to ILS to FinTech companies. To wrap up, Andy, what should the first steps be then for a company looking to come to the Island to make sure they basically get off to a good start?


I would encourage all interested parties or those with questions about Bermuda, about the Island, to reach out directly to the BDA at and visit our website

For those looking to incorporate a transition to Bermuda, we will quickly introduce them to a Business Development Manager, who will guide them through the whole process. We are here to serve our international clients and anybody wanting to do business in Bermuda, right from the first stop, and then we will facilitate continuity in our relationship to the various channels, including private sector and the public sector.


Thanks for joining us, Andy. It's been very informative.


Thank you, Tom, and all the best. And I look forward to anything else we could provide you to get the word out about Bermuda and the value proposition we offer international business.


Fantastic. That's much appreciated. So be sure to check out the Bermuda Development Agency website if you're looking at setting up operations on the Island. They'll be able to provide you with a lot of help. 

And so finally, a big thank you to everyone for listening. And we'll see you next time.


I hope you enjoyed this episode. Please do share it on social media and give us a rating on Apple or Spotify. If that's an industry leader you think our audience would like to hear about - or if that person is you - do get in touch. We'll see you soon.