Bermuda Touts Its Climate for E-Processing
Looking for a sunny vacation spot to conduct your electronic transaction processing? The island of Bermuda is seeking your business.
Bermuda's financial services industry has stepped up efforts to attract electronic commerce companies, and last year the government adopted an Electronic Transaction Act that includes an e-commerce code of conduct and aims to "lay a foundation for the electronic transactions on a technology-neutral basis that is sufficiently flexible to embrace new technological developments and that contemplates a high degree of self-regulation."
It's a sophisticated manifesto for a 20-square-mile island with 60,000 inhabitants, but it seems to be working. In the fiscal year that ended this March 31 the government approved 71 new technology and Internet-related companies to set up base in Bermuda under the new law. By Sept. 30 it had approved 112 more.
Business executives from Bermuda recently staged a U.S. road show to tout their country's expertise in electronic finance and try to distance themselves from the nations that have come under Internal Revenue Service scrutiny. On Nov. 1 the IRS won permission from a U.S. federal judge to solicit records from MasterCard International and American Express Co. about card transactions touched by banks in the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Antigua, and Barbuda.
While these islands are said to be used as tax havens for U.S. residents and corporations, Bermuda has passed tests conducted by regulatory bodies in the United Kingdom, United States, and other leading industrialized countries. Bermuda offers "know your customer" rules, a regulatory infrastructure, and laws against money laundering legislation, said Raymond Medeiros, chairman of the Bermuda International Business Association.
"We have an established, mature, and growing financial services sector with access to global markets," Mr. Medeiros said at a conference his group hosted last week at New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel. …