JS de Jager, SVP at CSI International Underwriting (Cayman) Ltd., recently spoke to Cayman Captive about the island’s allure, its growing talent pool, and why it may be the most experienced and qualified captive insurance domicile in the world and we were pretty pumped when he agreed to allow us to share those thoughts here on the Baraud Blog too.
de Jager moved to Cayman more than seven years ago, and initially planned to work here for only a couple years to get some offshore work and life experience, yet has resided on-island ever since. In really engrossing himself in the Cayman way of life, he has gone on to also represent the Cayman Islands in a number of international rugby test matches.
“Professionals are usually staying for much longer now and I’ve seen that happen since I’ve been here,” de Jager said. “In the beginning it was very transient – you would see large leaving parties for those who may have worked an 18 month or two year contract, mostly in the audit circles.”
de Jager added that people started to realise that management companies in Cayman, whether it be captive managers, corporate managers or fund services, actually prefer to recruit on-island rather than drafting in someone from overseas with no true experience of working in Cayman.
“You see a lot of people moving from audit into the private sector and staying for much longer, especially in the last four or five years,” de Jager explained.
He said that this shift is occurring due to a number of jurisdictional advantages that Cayman holds over other offshore domiciles.
Firstly, it is possible to own property as an expat in Cayman, which is a significant bonus when professionals are considering relocating their careers. In Bermuda, it is usually not possible to get on the property ladder as an expat, and instead have no choice but to rent at a very high premium, as de Jager explained.
Property is not the only factor that makes Cayman appealing to expats. de Jager said that the quality of life on-island is of a very high quality and the community spirit unmatched.
“There’s something for everyone here,” he said. “Through various sporting programmes and a strong sense of cultural identity, it’s a very active, involved community.”
de Jager said that whether it is with new or existing clients, professionals are working with a pool of people that are familiar with what is happening in Cayman’s captive insurance industry.
“People realise when they start working here that 99 percent of everybody in the office, whether they be Caymanian or expats, are all very well educated and highly qualified – so it’s nice to work with people who know exactly what they’re doing,” he said.
de Jager said he believes this is great because it means that the talent stays on island.
“They know the regulations; they’ve audited so many companies that by the time they move into public practice or management services, they are very well versed in what they’re doing,” he said. “Then they bend them throughout the audit experience into what is more of a financial executive role, which is great – and clients really like and appreciate that.”
de Jager said that it all depends on where the expat comes from, but the biggest push is for the Caymanian lifestyle, which according to de Jager is “unlike anywhere else.”
“You work really hard, and then you walk out of the door and you’re living on a Caribbean island and sometimes you have to pinch yourself to make sure it is all real,” he said.
He added that another big driver of this change was the extending of Cayman’s rollover policy from seven to nine years, meaning that more people can apply for permanent residency depending on the management level they hold within a company and other factors as determined by the Department of Immigration.
“People realise that in that time, you can actually buy your own house if you want to,” he said. “If you want to leave after nine years then fine, but by then you could’ve built up a good investment in property through owning your own house or investing in investment property on the island.”
“People want freedom and they can find it in Cayman.”
JS de Jager is senior vice president of CSI International Underwriting (Cayman) Ltd. and can be contacted at email@example.com!