NEW YORK: Bermuda is an investor-friendly place. That's the message Sloane & Company is trying to spread to investors and business leaders in the United States during a multi-year campaign that recently landed a favorable op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal and a visit to New York by top Bermudan leaders.
For more than five years, Sloane has been the AOR for the Bermuda International Business Association (BIBA), a partially government funded group that seeks outside investment in the self-governing British colony. Starting in late 2003, New York-based Sloane stepped up efforts on behalf of BIBA to promote Bermuda as a business-friendly investment destination for American companies in an era when "outsourcing" and "off-shore havens" can be bad words.
"One of the things that has happened is politicians over the past two to three years have been talking about 'off-shore' and 'out-sourcing' and how they perceive these places to impact the U.S. economy," says Sloane MD Whit Clay. "There has been great confusion about Bermuda's role in the global economy and whether or not Bermuda is a substantive place to do business... Unless you're out telling that story and crafting a message that really positions the island in a positive way, then you're left more or less playing defense."
On April 29, Bermuda Premier Alex Scott, Finance Minister Paula Cox and Cheryl-Ann Lister, chairwoman of the Bermuda Monetary Authority, came to the St. Regis Hotel in New York. There, Sloane organized meetings with potential investors as well as journalists, and the leaders presented their island as a prime address for American business, particularly for trusts, hedge funds and securitizations. They visited Washington earlier that week.
The Wall Street Journal on May 7 published a nearly 1,100-word op-ed by Journal editorial writer - and former Merrill Lynch sales manager - Mary Anastasia O'Grady.
The op-ed touted Bermuda as an island of "sound institutions, a rule of law and a capital-friendly environment," and it chided probable Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry for talking about "Benedict Arnold CEOs" who move their corporate addresses to off-shore havens.
The pro-Bermuda investment campaign is ongoing, said Sloane CEO Elliot Sloane.