Your Partners was thrilled to be a part of the Bermuda Executive Forum which took place in New York City last Wednesday. The Executive Forum is a key stop on Bermuda’s annual road show in each of the global financial centers and it was the first time that the event was held live in New York since 2019.
Many of Bermuda’s brass were there in force including The Honorable Jason Hayward, Minister of Economy and Labor who sat with David Hart, CEO of the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA) for an informative fire-side chat on the impressive progress the jurisdiction is making. Bermuda continues to build on its decades-long reputation as one of the most credible offshore regulatory environments, which not only gave birth to the reinsurance industry but is now attracting many of the world’s leading digital asset institutions.
Digital Asset Businesses choose Bermuda
This momentum was highlighted by the abundance of digital asset companies who have recently come together to form the newest trade association, NEXT. Two breakout sessions were dedicated to highlighting the burgeoning digital asset ecosystem which covered two key stages of the Bermuda experience:
On the first panel, my colleague Stafford Lowe moderated a discussion on “The Regulatory Experience” which highlighted the voyage of discovery FinTechs make as they evaluate jurisdictions in which to domicile and explained why they chose Bermuda and what the process has been like interfacing with the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA).
Panelists enlightened an audience comprising FinTechs currently going through the licensing process, those considering Bermuda, and professional services companies like law firms who were trying to bone up on Bermuda’s value proposition.
Chance Barnett, Founder, Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of Jewel Bank painted a detailed picture of his company’s experience with a fascinating twist as being the first entity to apply for a new banking license in 40 years. He was joined by Jason Woerz, President of 24 Exchange, Lawrence Newhook, President and CIO at Alpha Innovations and Caroline Kerswell, Head of Regulation and Legal at Nayms who are creating smart insurance contracts.
Life after Licensing in Paradise
I moderated the second session on “Life after Licensing” sharing panelists experiences of scaling of their organizations on island, sourcing talent, getting work permits and much more.
I kicked off with a personal story about how my family came to Bermuda from NYC during the pandemic as part of Bermuda’s “Digital Nomad” program to allow my kids to be in a live school environment. I also explained how after discovering the FinTech scene in Bermuda I teamed up with my Your Partners Co-Founder, Stafford Lowe, and how as one of our first projects we teamed up with John Narraway to start NEXT. This segued naturally into hearing from the panelists about their experiences acclimating to Bermuda. CrossTower Co-Founder and President Kristin Boggiano, RELM Insurance President and Co-Founder Joe Ziolkowski, Bittrex Global’s Director of Business Development Jason Park and BlockFi General Counsel Jonathan Mayers all had nothing but praise for Bermuda on the ease of establishing their operations on the ground in Paradise!
There was an overwhelming sentiment amongst all DAB license holders that the various benefits of their Bermuda onboarding experience laddered up to the overarching theme of “Credibility”. If you are an institutionally-focused organization, Bermuda is simply unrivalled in its regulatory reputation. Built on top of a bedrock of proven progressive legislation for the reinsurance industry, DAB has evolved this regulation to be the natural underpinning of the next generation of digital asset infrastructure. Other DAB companies include Apex Group, Ensuro Re, XBTO, Stablehouse, Circle, Blockwrk and many more coming through the licensing process.
The Birth of an Association
NEXT has quickly earned its place as Bermuda’s newest advocacy group, as evidenced by its presence on stage led by Stafford Lowe who sat alongside long established fellow trade assocations:
- Beth Denman, Deputy Chair, Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA) Bermuda
- Michael Neff, Chair, Bermuda Bankers Association
- Amy Ponnampalam, Member, Bermuda International Long-Term Insurers and Reinsurers (BILTIR)
- Patrick Tannock, Chairman, Association of Bermuda International Companies (ABIC)
After a full day of sessions, it was only fitting that Goslings made a grand finale appearance in the form of delicious Rum Swizzles and Dark and Stormies. The BDA team did an incredible job of organizing the complexity of the Forum from agenda creation, to recruiting the right audience, to media management (including this Bloomberg article), to securing a world class event space, to smooth registration and shepherding guests into the various breakout sessions!
The event was a big success, but there is still much wood to chop. It didn’t take much convincing the Forum participants that Bermuda was the ideal place to set up business, but everyone agreed that the story must be told on a global scale. Many plans and ideas in the pipeline, so stay tuned!
We’re excited by the myriad ways that Bermuda is able to support the growth of the global FinTech and InsurTech ecosystems. If you’d like to share thoughts or ask us questions please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org