Cayman Islands: Offshore Business Sectors
This page was last updated on 28 June 2019.
Trust management has been a major activity in the Cayman Islands for 30 years or more, and trust assets in Cayman now equal or exceed banking assets. Originally the trust was used primarily by wealthy individuals from the major common law countries, but it is now accepted as a major technique of asset protection in all parts of the world. Over the last 25 years the Cayman Islands, perhaps more than some other jurisdictions, have extended and adapted their trust laws to accommodate this wider market, which is not necessarily interested so much just in tax avoidance, but also in the efficient management of wealth in a more general sense. See Law of Offshore for a fuller treatment of trust law in Cayman.
There is a large and sophisticated community of professional advisers on trust matters in Cayman. Individuals can provide trust services in the Cayman Islands without registration, but companies offering trust services must be licensed under the Banks and Trust Companies Law (2009 Revision) (formerly the Banks and Trust Companies Law 1995, as amended in 2001 and 2003). Foreign or Cayman-resident companies may obtain licences. These are issued by the governor, after the Monetary Authority has accepted an application giving comprehensive information about the applicant.
A licensed trust company may be 'restricted' or 'unrestricted'. 'Restricted' companies require less capital, but are more strictly controlled. See Law of Offshore and Offshore Legal and Tax Regimes for further details of the licensing regime for trusts, and fees payable.
Private trustee companies have recently become popular. In this arrangement, the trust itself remains uncluttered by control arrangements, which are exercised by the private trustee company, which in turn can be administered by a licensed trust company. This form is particularly suited to the larger type of family trusts with multiple beneficiaries and objects.