A team from the Ministry of Financial Services & Commerce completed an engagement trip to Hong Kong and Singapore last week, to bolster relationships with financial services industry stakeholders and engage various authorities in Hong Kong and Singapore; as well as promote the Cayman Islands advanced intellectual property (IP) framework at the International Trademark Association (INTA) 2023 Annual Meeting (the world’s top IP forum) held in Singapore 16-20 May 2023.
Minister for Financial Services & Commerce Hon. Andre Ebanks led a multi-faceted team including Cayman Islands Government representative to Asia Gene DaCosta, Deputy Chief Officer Kathryn Dinspel-Powell, Director of the Cayman Islands Intellectual Property Office Candace Westby, and IP Registry Officer Omara Whittaker.
Minister Ebanks and Mr. DaCosta were in Hong Kong from 14 May to 15 May, and joined the Cayman Islands Intellectual Property Office (CIIPO) team in Singapore on 16 May for attendance at the INTA meeting.
While in Hong Kong, Minister Ebanks and Mr. DaCosta engaged Hong Kong authorities regarding the requirements to operate a physical office in Hong Kong. The Minister and Mr DaCosta also attended a number of key stakeholder meetings and roundtables with law firms and industry associations to share updates on pertinent financial services developments and gather market insights and trends. Cayman Finance CEO Steve McIntosh and other local representatives of the Cayman Islands’ financial services industry worked in parallel with the Ministry team to organise and attend other networking and industry events with leading Hong Kong based stakeholders.
In Singapore, in addition to attendance at the INTA meeting, Minister Ebanks and Mr. DaCosta engaged with local officials, agencies and law firms on matters related to operating a Cayman Islands Government office in Singapore (as an alternative to Hong Kong). The Minister and Mr DaCosta also met with one of Singapore’s Sovereign Wealth Funds and a connected wealth management institute concerning how to train and upscale local homegrown talent in the wealth management space.
Attendance at the INTA meeting was important to raise the international profile of the CIIPO, the thriving local intellectual property sector, and of the Cayman Islands’ commitment to advancing IP rights.
The event was attended by more than 7,000 delegates from around the world, and the Ministry of Financial Services & Commerce sponsored the conference’s Latin American and Caribbean reception, which showcased the work of CIIPO and to connect with IP attorneys and administrators from across the region.
Also in Singapore, the Ministry partnered with Cayman Finance to host a networking event at the National Museum of Singapore on 18 May which gathered representatives from Cayman Finance member firms, their clients, and representatives from the British High Commission (Singapore) to discuss the latest developments and opportunities in Cayman’s financial services sector.
The evening served as an opportunity for the Cayman Islands delegation to connect with member firms in Singapore, business leaders, and other partners in the industry.
Minister Ebanks said, “The week in Hong Kong and Singapore was very informative, provided strong stakeholder engagement, and was educational in a variety of meaningful ways. There are several opportunities in Asia for enhancing Cayman’s financial industry’s market share, as well as gaining insight into various developments in Asia and how Cayman could provide solutions, and learning of methods to cultivate local talent and address certain local challenges. Overall, it was a very productive trip which built upon an already solid foundation and inspired potential future collaboration for the mutual benefit of our respective communities.”
Mr. DaCosta said, “I am looking forward to being based in Asia to support our financial services firms and their clients, as well as work in partnership with counterpart Asian government officials to maximise opportunities to take our respective countries from strength to strength.”