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Cayman Finance questions GFCI index methodology

Gonzalo Jalles, CEO - Cayman Finance1 October 2014 (George Town, Grand Cayman) According to the findings of the sixteenth Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI 16) published twice yearly by Z/Yen Group, the Cayman Islands has fared extremely well when it comes to recognition by clients.

Cayman received a high global average assessment at 635, beating all its other offshore financial centre competitors in this latest round of rankings in this particular figure, which is up on the previous Index.

Cayman Finance CEO Gonzalo Jalles said this was extremely good news for the jurisdiction:

“The assessment based upon responses, which is equally applied to all jurisdictions represented in the survey, is, in my opinion, the most critical piece of data that the entire index has produced,” he confirmed. “Under that assessment the Cayman Islands ranks nine positions higher than the previous survey, and ahead of all the countries listed as offshore centres. This is significant because it reflects the fact that our customers believe Cayman is the offshore centre of choice for their business.”

Mr Jalles was however critical of the overall methodology of the report.

“While we welcome the fact that Cayman is ranked in the top three of offshore centres ahead of significant competitors like Bermuda, Jersey and Guernsey, the dramatic changes in ranking that have been displayed in this current index and some particular results make us doubt of the usefulness of this index,” he stated. “The changes in the rankings of offshore centres are difficult to reconcile with recent industry developments.”

He went on to explain further:

“The index is a combination of a survey and a number of discretionary chosen indexes without full transparency on how each country calculation is performed. This makes us doubt the validity of the overall results. Combining a survey of qualitative measure with quantitative indexes is particularly difficult, if not impossible, as highlighted by the recent study we commissioned – An analysis of the efficacy of Tax Justice Network’s methodology in constructing a secrecy index, by Aaron D. Smallwood, PhD, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Texas-Arlington, released earlier this year.”

In addition, the results are made even more challenging because some of the recognized countries are not ranked in some of the indexes, he said.

Overall we welcome the feedback from our customers as reflected in the survey, but we put very little confidence in the rest of the analysis despite our positive result as we do on any index that lacks transparency in regards to the methodology used for its construction.




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