The New Business Bermuda Development Corporation (“BBDC”) to spearhead Promotion of Bermuda

About Brian HoldippBrian Holdipp

Brian Holdipp is a senior associate in the firm’s corporate practice group. His practice encompasses many areas of general corporate and commercial law, with specialist expertise in securities, joint ventures, corporate restructurings and cross-border financings. Mr. Holdipp also advises on partnerships.

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Bermuda’s new Government has re-affirmed the commitment made last year to develop the new Business Bermuda Development Corporation (“BBDC”) as the preferred vehicle to give common strategic direction to the Island’s business development efforts. The re-affirmation came most recently in the Budget Statement of the new Minister of Finance who said:

The BBDC is a private public partnership that is intended to spearhead the promotion of Bermuda as a preferred domicile for a variety of international business activities, including reinsurance, asset management, trusts and fund administration.
This involves organizing all the relevant stakeholders and formulating a coherent mission for the BBDC and strategies to achieve that mission.

The BBDC will come under a new Ministry of Economic Development which has declared a twofold objective:

  1. improving Bermuda’s quality of services; and
  2. increasing the speed of delivery of those services.

This is a largely seen as a continuation of work under the BBDC that began under the previous administration. The stated goal has always been to ensure that Bermuda’s international business community speaks to the world with one voice and that the overall message will be simple but clear: Bermuda means business.

Here is the plan for action going forward:

On 1 April 2013, the BBDC will merge with Business Bermuda (the non-profit business organization of Bermuda-resident service providers and international businesses best known for promoting the jurisdiction abroad) and will fold in the Insurance Development Council (a sub-committee of the Insurance Advisory Committee focussed on marketing the Island as a leading captive insurance, commercial insurance and reinsurance center). The combined financial resources of these entities will increase efficiency by leveraging economies of scale. It will also eliminate those instances where Business Bermuda and the Insurance Development Council sometimes overlapped in initiatives. The pooled intellectual resources will, it is thought, bring a much-needed renewed and fresh perspective to the table.

The BBDC will function as an independent organisation.

In the meantime, the interim board of the BBDC has overseen the laying of the groundwork for the merger, secured office accommodation and established working parties to recruit a permanent Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”). The interim board is now working on raising a permanent board and sub committees thereof and coordinating the transition of the membership of legacy organisations into the BBDC.

The BBDC will be the designated body for promoting and, more importantly, selling the jurisdiction’s offerings globally. The BBDC aims to achieve a high conversion rate of ‘leads’ (i.e. potential interest in Bermuda) to new business. It is seeking a full time CEO proven to be effective in the area of economic development. One of the key assessment metrics for this person’s job performance will be connecting their efforts to the creation of jobs in Bermuda.

One exciting prospect is the BBDC’s focus group concept, the aim being to establish sector-specific focus groups to create a platform upon which new ideas can be generated and debated, ideas that would lead to new lines of business for the jurisdiction to sell. Local professionals have the opportunity to participate on the following groups:

  1. Insurance;
  2. Reinsurance;
  3. Captives;
  4. Brokers;
  5. Asset Management & Fund Administration;
  6. Trusts;
  7. Local Service Providers;
  8. Accountants;
  9. Banks;
  10. Lawyers,

each of which will be chaired by a recognized expert in that field.  The focus groups will develop into subcommittees of the BBDC once it is officially launched on 1 April 2013. The BBDC’s board will receive, prioritize and allocate resources to the ideas sourced from the focus groups/subcommittees, i.e. provide strategic direction.

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