Straw poll shows COVID hasn’t ‘infected’ offshore

| 26/05/2020 | 36 Comments

(CNS): A quick survey of over 40 leaders from financial services firms in the Cayman Islands indicates that the COVID-19 virus has not ‘infected’ the offshore industry, with companies asymptomatic or suffering just mild symptoms and just one firm facing a critical future. More than one third of respondents in a straw poll said their business had not been impacted at all by the pandemic, with some even seeing business grow.

Local recruitment agency CML asked 43 leaders at an undisclosed amount of local firms, “Has the global pandemic impacted your top-line revenue?” Results showed that 35% were not affected at all, 27% just a little, while just over a quarter (26%) said the impact was moderate. Only one firm said it had been greatly impacted.

Some leaders who said they were being marginally impacted, if at all, noted that they were also facing new business opportunities, especially and not surprisingly, insolvency practitioners, as the report noted that “financiers sort through the rubble”.

Captives were identified as an area where much of the insolvency work would come from as the US healthcare sector experiences significant financial distress, likely to trickle down to the sector here, given Cayman’s dominance in that niche. One respondent in the insolvency space noted that their business had already been very positively impacted.

Analyzing the results of this answer and the comments from leaders, CML estimated an overall impact on the sector of a small to moderate downturn of between 5% and 20% for a majority of Cayman’s financial services firm that would be largely offset by an increase in business in their insolvency departments.

As Cayman braces itself for the long-term impact of the probable complete loss of tourism for the rest of the year, it will be turning to the financial industry to help it weather the local as well as global fallout from the coronavirus.

If the CML poll proves to be a true reflection, then the numbers are to be welcomed and a sign that there is sustainability in the domestic economy despite the collapse of tourism.

The poll also gives an interesting perspective on working from home, with three-quarters of the respondent saying they were either greatly or moderately impacted by a change in how staff work and many indicating in the comments the various challenges it had presented.

The firms’ leaders also pointed to the difficulties staff had with juggling childcare issues and online school with their work, as well as problems accessing quality technology.

But CML said that none of those who took part in the survey indicated that remote working was either overwhelming to manage or untenable. A couple of survey-takers even indicated they would be continuing with it, anticipating being able to downsize their office space in the future.

But the results appeared to show, as reflected in some of the survey comments, that even where remote working was having an impact all “deadlines are being met” and there was “much less impact than was initially feared”.

CML concluded from the results that flexible work would feature in the future of several firms, as well as an increase in virtual meetings and a decreased demand for office footprint. Staff were said to be better equipped now to deal with virtual communication.

See the non-scientific straw poll in the CNS Library

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Category: Business, Financial Services

Comments (36)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    As employers around the world including Cayman come to grips with remote working and are on the other side of the teething problems, I wonder if Cayman firms will continue to relocate staff and if those employees would even like to move to Cayman.

    With the high cost of living and foreseeable travel restrictions, many will choose to now leave island to be closer to family while saving on housing/food/school/childcare, perhaps just temporarily while covid works it’s way through. Of course not all expats have this flexibility but I imagine that many who do are considering their options seriously.

    When life resumes to normal, employers might be loving the cost savings on work permits, real estate, relocation costs and other related staff costs while onsite so may actively search for employees willing to be a consultant from abroad. It will be interesting what effect this could have on Cayman.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The respondents are not stupid. Just because they will be anonymous doesn’t mean they won’t take the opportunity to hype their business. They are perfectly aware that any negative views will be more widely reported and may hurt their business.

  3. Anonymous says:

    As a corporate lawyer I can honestly say I’ve never been busier. And there is no more insolvency/illiquidity related work than usual.

  4. Anonymous says:

    go and invest in one of those funds that buy up peoples life insurance policies

  5. Anonymous says:

    anybody who thinks they are immune to the oncoming global depression are in for a rude awakening.

  6. Cheese Face says:

    Yup, with around 7 times the population of Cayman already dead around the globe, we can only thank jebus for potentially reduced commutes to and from work.

  7. Anonymous says:

    If history is any guide, expect an increase in fees and taxes to the financial services industry when things settle down.

  8. Anonymous says:

    What a horrifically capitalist society Cayman lives in to get so excited at the prospect of the revenue generated from healthcare system liquidations.

    • Anonymous says:

      So it’s really important that financial services does well so we can support others not doing as well.

  9. Anonymous says:

    And I hope this leads to better internet/fiber optic infrastructure throughout the entire island. That way we can work from home with flexible hours nd not have to spend 2 hours in traffic going to work. Covid 19 might actually be a blessing in disguise.

    • Anonymous says:

      This would be the single greatest project to improve the quality of life of residents. Two hours per day sitting in traffic is soul sucking.

      The dump is of high importance too.

  10. Anonymous says:

    As far as perils go, we are out of time on endemic accepted levels of political corruption. That’s what survives Covid-19 and gives no breath to the paper laws passed. It’s a joke and it needs to end. So much at stake now.

  11. Anonymous says:

    @8:17 pm….really? You believe 1 anonymous comment rather than 40 anonymous people who took the survey! So all 40 are lying? What a logic! The 1 person commenting might not even be from the financial sector and their job might have been negatively affected by the lockdown and hence they might have wanted it to be opened back up soon!

  12. Anonymous says:

    All 40 must be lying because I read right here on CNS a poster who seemed super-duper smart saying the financial services industry was going to be toast unless Alden opened up the borders immediately. He said without face-to-face interactions, no one would ever do business Cayman’s financial services industry. It was certain financial ruin and social unrest if Alden didn’t get with the opening up programme they’re doing to great success in the US and Sweden. These 40 financial industry “leaders” are all anonymous, so of course they’ll say their business is fine. But the one anonymous guy posting here wrote a 1,000 word screed, so he must be right.

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. Why are the firms refusing to be transparent in their reporting.

    • Anonymous says:

      100% accurate! All the doom and gloom posters write on CNS is so odd to me. I get that people are hurting and or scared, but to post such things seems self-fulfilling in their own lives. PEOPLE! WE WILL GREAT THROUGH THIS! Stop with all the crap already, show some gratitude it truly does come back to you…REALLY!

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re sarcasm was too subtle for some apparently

      • Anonymous says:

        I expect you are not surprised. Perhaps entertained, but not surprised…

      • Anonymous says:

        I suppose I could be more direct and just call people idiots when they make the kind of comments I was referring to, but sarcasm is more fun – especially when so many people seem to take it seriously.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s that one guy, who works out worked for that one company that is failing. Cream always rises to the top.

    • Anonymous says:

      They are doing to great success in the U.S. and Sweden? Look at the friggin data. 2,000 dying a day in the U.S. and Sweden has the second highest per capita deaths in Europe after Russia.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is the most ridiculous comment I have ever seen in 10 years living in Cayman and working in FS

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