What is the difference between a local and exempted Company in Bermuda?
At the time of incorporation, a Bermuda company must be registered either as a local or exempted company. A local company is one that is incorporated by Bermudians to trade primarily in Bermuda. An exempted company is one that is incorporated by non-Bermudians for the purpose of conducting business outside Bermuda.
There was further recent evidence that Bermuda’s revolutionary approach to updating its funds regime has attracted a great deal of interest and support from those working in this business sector. Invaluable feedback received from New York decision makers in round table meetings in May 2013 prompted the collaborative efforts of the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA), Government of Bermuda, Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA) and key members of Bermuda’s funds community to amend Bermuda’s fund legislation, thereby making Bermuda a more competitive and desirable jurisdiction for funds. The changes, driven by this vital input from the US funds industry, led to the launch of two new user-friendly, exempt fund classes which can be registered and launched on a fast-track basis using the BMA’s online system (ERICA).
The Companies Amendment Act 2014 introduced new provisions with regard to the ability of local and exempt companies to acquire land in Bermuda. It should be noted that consent is still required from the Minister of Economic Development in relation to corporate landholding; however, the Minister’s decision will be guided by the provisions of the legislation and the accompanying policy.
In a positive sign for Bermuda’s economy, Education and Economic Development Minister Dr. Grant Gibbons recently released results showing that the midyear total of new company registrations in 2014 stood higher than any midyear totals for the last five years.
The total of 19,151 local and exempted entities on the register at the end of the second quarter of 2014 was bolstered by the registration of 308 new companies (268 international business related) during that period, a slight increase over the 303 new companies (250 international business related) registered during the same period in 2013.
On 27 March 2014 the Government enacted the Companies Amendment Act 2014 (the “Amendment Act”) (58 KB PDF) introducing new provisions to the Companies Act 1981 with regards to the ability of local and exempt companies to acquire land in Bermuda. An accompanying corporate landholding policy (the “Policy”) was issued to run alongside the Amendment Act to help clarify the objectives behind the changes in an effort to assist with the Ministers decision making when making an application for consent.
There were a number of reasons cited for the changes but the key reasons provided by Minister of Education and Economic Development, The Hon. E. Grant Gibbons, in his statement to the House of Assembly were to “stimulate turnover in the real estate market and create jobs in the construction sector and to make Bermuda [a] more attractive and competitive jurisdiction.” (Hansard Report, 21 March 2014, p. 1739)