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Choosing a private bank in the Cayman Islands

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Look for reliability, reputation and relationships.

By Richard Thompson

If you are thinking of buying property in the Cayman Islands you are probably already aware that the benefits of life here go far beyond the beautiful beaches and the near-perfect climate. Considerable advantages also come from the country’s long-established, stable government and its robust legal system. As a British Overseas Territory, the country has the backing of a world-leading economy and a business environment to match, with a flourishing financial services sector that complements the major financial cities of the world.

With many banks established in the Cayman Islands, you have a range of choices if you are thinking of setting up on or relocating to the island. So what should you consider before deciding who will look after your banking requirements and investments, aside from seeking someone with a cool head in a crisis? I think there are three local factors you might want to take into consideration – reliability, reputation and relationships.

In the current global macroeconomic climate, it is important to choose a reliable bank that is big enough to provide the necessary stability, while at the same time having the flexibility and local know-how to meet your personal needs. Branches of large internationally listed banks with strong published credit ratings from major agencies (such as A ratings and above from Fitch or Moodys) are often a smart choice – combining the best of both worlds.

Many financial institutions in the Cayman Islands offer the full range of retail banking services, while a few offer more bespoke private banking and wealth management services. It is important to choose a bank with a reputation for providing the kind of service and expertise you are looking for. Proven success in international private banking denotes the breadth of products, exemplary client service and customised support that sophisticated clients require.

Reliability and reputation only go so far, however. Your client relationship officer will have to work closely with you to define and support your personal financial needs, ranging from everyday services like same-day transfers or expedited account opening to more complex investment advice and asset-backed loans. You should make sure that you choose a bank that can offer truly personalised services, such as being able to contact your client relationship officer day or night, and a relationship that is founded on trust.

Establishing a presence in a new country can be complicated, and every individual has different circumstances. A good client relationship officer will take the time to understand your situation and build a solid relationship for the long term. This is the only way to ensure that the best possible solutions will be designed, delivered and, of course, adapted as circumstances change. In periods of uncertainty, such as we are facing now, a good client relationship officer will reach out to you – knowing your financial goals and personal values – and help you to make sense of the chaos.

Choosing a private bank is an important and highly personal decision. Knowing and defining what your financial needs are is paramount in finding a reliable private banking partner, combining both in-depth expertise and client-centricity. The comfort of a reliable brand name and a reputation for service will influence your thinking – but take the time to find out if the relationship on offer will meet your needs. Above all, in these challenging times, choose a team that knows its business and will manage a crisis with calm and efficiency.

About the author

Richard Thompson is a client relationship officer at EFG Bank Cayman, which is a branch of EFG Bank AG in Zurich, Switzerland. He can be contacted at richard.thompson@efgbank.com.

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