Regulatory oversight of private funds in the Cayman Islands - YB Case 2024

Regulatory oversight of private funds in the Cayman Islands

Regulatory oversight of private funds in the Cayman Islands

Regulatory oversight of private funds in the Cayman Islands

A premier destination worldwide for investment funds, the Cayman Islands boasts favorable jurisdiction, a tax-friendly climate, and a robust monetary infrastructure. Its business-friendly ecosystem nurtures thriving ventures and presents enticing investment prospects.

The oversight of personal finances and their management is now under the jurisdiction of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA), as stipulated in the amended Private Funds Act (PFA). The third-quarter report of 2023 from CIMA highlights a significant growth in the sector, with a total of 16,530 private funds identified, compared to 15,662 recorded in 2022. This indicates a notable development in the private funds landscape within the jurisdiction.

The private funds market is expanding. Recent legislative changes in currency control further emphasize this growth. These changes include clauses detailing the calculation of net assets for non-public funds. This regulation has a direct bearing on how the private funds with their headquarters in Cayman are overseen.

Upsides of registering a fund in the Cayman Islands

Registering a private fund in the Cayman Islands has many advantages. The region is renowned for having a strong judicial system, which makes fundraising there quite advantageous. Furthermore, a robust financial community offers an array of specialist solutions related to financial management. By following international norms, CIMA preserves investor protection and encourages transparency.

Investors find the tax system of the Cayman Islands appealing for fund registration purposes. Investors in funds might benefit from tax deductions, thereby increasing their potential returns. Furthermore, managers may focus on advancing investment tactics optimized for tax-exempt funds.

Another reason why this country is recognized as one of the popular jurisdictions for fund registration is its favorable tax regime. Direct taxes are not levied on investment funds or their investors here. This status allows investors to maximize their profits by reducing tax obligations. Moreover, the absence of taxation at the fund level enables fund managers to focus on investment strategies.

Cayman Islands domiciled investment funds offer unmatched flexibility, unlocking access to a wide array of multinational investment opportunities. This jurisdiction grants investors the freedom to select from a diverse set of fund classifications, allowing them to tailor their portfolios to suit their unique needs. The Cayman Islands enable investors to confidently explore a wide array of investment options with seamless ease and efficiency, thanks to simplified registration and organizational procedures.

Regulatory structure within the monetary industry of the Caymans

Revised statutes govern private fund enrollment processes, with specific criteria determining closed-end investment pools' private status:

  • It involves numerous participants.
  • You can establish it as a corporation, joint venture, or unit investment trust.
  • The fund aims to raise capital by distributing shares to investors, which is then allocated to support various financial ventures such as equities, property investments, and entrepreneurial endeavors. Emphasis is placed on reducing risk and maximizing returns for customers through diversification of investment portfolios. Oversight of these funds is typically managed by seasoned finance professionals.
  • The fund's day-to-day operations are not closely monitored by stakeholders.
  • The manager's salary is contingent upon the fund's earnings or wealth.
Important! These funds do not provide the option for repurchase or voluntary redemption rights.

Regulations in the Cayman Islands limit private fund access to qualified investors only. Because of their substantial incomes or assets and sophisticated financial knowledge, these people are usually able to identify and manage investment risks.

In the Cayman Islands, private investment managers offer a diverse array of methods tailored to achieve investment goals, thereby providing investors with enhanced flexibility. Meeting investor objectives and flexible management approaches offer benefits. However, regulatory supervision guarantees the safeguarding of investor interests and the preservation of stability within financial markets.

Starting on February 7, 2020, private funds have 21 days from the date of invitation to investors to engage in CIMA enrollment to finalize their onboarding procedure. For registration, you must provide CIMA with the necessary documentation:

  • Enrollment form.
  • Founding papers.
  • Main terms and conditions of the fund alongside additional promotional materials.
  • Payment confirmation for enrollment charge.

Before initiating the CIMA registration process, private investment funds must attract potential investors to secure commitments. During this four-week period, funds are allowed to monitor investor interest. Failure to enroll with CIMA on time can lead to significant fines of up to 100,000 KYD (about 122,000 USD) and potential sanctions for fund management.

Additional modifications to the regulations overseeing private funds in the Cayman Islands:

  1. The annual report that is submitted to CIMA must encompass the fund's audited monetary statements, which have been confirmed by a reputable regional accounting firm.
  2. Regulations controlling the identification, preservation, appraisal, and management of financial assets must be followed by private funds.

The regulations for private financial matters include the following clarifications:

  • "Alternative investment mechanism" refers to a company established using private funds with the intention of managing, holding onto, and selling assets related to the fund's activities.
  • In an environment where expertise in investing is not a given, there exists a tax-exempt limited liability partnership managed by an individual licensed by a reputable foreign regulatory agency or acknowledged by CIMA. This partnership operates as a "limited-scope private fund."

In April 2023, Currency Control released new recommendations for regulated enterprises regarding internal control procedures and corporate governance. October of the same year saw the imposition of the restrictions.

Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) software

Corporate monitoring of controlled enterprises

Portfolio managers and non-public investment organizations should adhere to the recently implemented internal control protocols.

All companies under regulation must adhere to the following principles for internal regulation:

  • regulating environment (i.e. standards, protocols bolstering strong inner supervision);
  • analyzing and evaluating potential hazards;
  • safety enhancement initiatives;
  • overseeing activities and resolving challenges in internal governance organizations.
  • All regulated businesses conducting activities in the Cayman Islands, comprising private funds will be obligated to stick to the newly implemented corporate governance regulations.

The law mandates that businesses falling under its purview design and maintain a corporate governance structure that takes into consideration the following elements:

  • the goals and protocols of the governed entity;
  • organizational agreement;
  • ideal apportionment of oversight and leadership duties;
  • methods for overseeing internal operations and mitigating risks;
  • protocol for addressing possible conflicts of interest;
  • trustworthy and transparent financial disclosure.

Managers of regulated private funds are required to participate in yearly gatherings.

What duties come with managing a privately formed investment vehicle located in the Cayman Islands?

The updated PFA has set forth guidelines for operating private funds:

  1. Private funds must appoint a minimum of two directors as mandated by law. If the responsibility falls on general partners or corporate directors, they are obligated to designate at least two individuals or entities to fulfill the role of fund directors.
  2. An independent CIMA-accredited auditor, meeting the mandated qualifications, is obligated to undertake an assessment of the monetary documentation to procure financing. The regulatory entity should be furnished with these evaluations within 6 months after the conclusion of the fiscal period.
  3. A private fund must select a custodian upon registration to manage its assets, which are held in separate accounts. The custodian is responsible for keeping an eye on these assets and ensuring the private fund's rightful ownership.
  4. Determine and carry out a computational technique to precisely calculate the net asset value (NAV). Ensure that the data is accurate, complete, and reliable. Additionally, follow the specified guidelines:
    • Determination of asset value in corporate records;
    • utilizing universally acknowledged accounting guidelines to calculate NAV.

This calculation should be done annually.

Any notable alterations to the fund's framework necessitate reporting to CIMA within 21 days.

Regulations for data confidentiality, AML measures, and automatic information exchange must be created first, followed by private finance.

Creating of a fund in the Cayman Islands: organizational framework

Its structure is influenced by the fund's goals, investing policies, and legal position.

Organizing Cayman-based funds

Exempt company

When engaging in international business or investment ventures, a common legal framework comes into play. To establish an exempt corporation in the Cayman Islands, the initial step involves the formation of a limited liability company, often with share capital. This process of oversight falls under the jurisdiction of the Companies Law.

In compliance with the Companies Law, directors of exempt companies in the Cayman Islands hold responsibility for operational oversight while entrusting financial decision-making to asset managers or advisors. Their obligation includes diligent monitoring of investment managers' actions to uphold legal adherence.

Separated portfolio company (SPC)

Established as a limited liability entity, this corporation offers a legal division of assets and liabilities via separate "portfolios." Incorporating such a business in the Cayman Islands allows for the creation of numerous segregated portfolios, where the assets and liabilities of each portfolio remain independent of those of others.

As per the stipulations of the Companies Act, SPCs typically adopt a share arrangement akin to exempt companies. Apart from the management shares customarily owned by financial overseers, investors are often provided with opportunities to acquire ownership stakes through participation shares in these enterprises.

ELPs, or exempt limited partnerships

Typically, establishing an ELP in the Cayman Islands is required in order to secure private finance. These ELPs follow the law and are not seen as distinct legal organizations.

An ELP necessitates the presence of at least one "qualifying" general partner. This partner could take the form of a foreign corporation registered in the Cayman Islands, a resident of the Cayman Islands, or a company with its headquarters situated there.

The senior partner in an ELP oversees operations, while counselors and investment managers typically handle investment decisions. The general partner must legally supervise the investment manager.

Tax benefits apply to tax-exempt entities like SPCs and ELPs in the Cayman Islands. Residents and non-residents are exempt from local taxes on investments, though non-residents still pay taxes in their home countries.

A unit trust can establish a private investment fund under Cayman Islands Trusts Law. Investors purchase units from an accredited manager or management organization. Each share represents the investor's stake in the trust's total assets.

Unit investment trusts are created via a trust agreement describing the procedures that the trustee must follow while administering the trust's funds for shareholders. They give investors the opportunity to split the possible gains and losses from the assets held in a single fund.

While consultants or investment managers frequently oversee investment management responsibilities, it is the trustee's responsibility to run the trust. The trustee must oversee the investment manager's operations in conformance with legal standards.

Exempt entity



Unit trust

Distinct legal entity



Tax neutrality



Investment manager and shareholders (unconstrained)

Several general and limited partners (GP and LP)

Unit holders (unlimited)

Applicable right

Cayman Islands Company Law


Trust Legislation

Founding document

Memorandum and Charter


Trust agreement

Promotional instructions for the Cayman Islands private funds.

CIMA established regulations known as the Private Fund Marketing Rules to supervise the promotional content utilized by private funds to draw in contributors. These regulations mandate that all promotional content disseminated by private funds should incorporate specific details.

  • Key information concerning the fund's establishment date, geographic origin, jurisdictional framework, and criteria for participation in its authorized capital.
  • Subscription and required redemption mechanisms.
  • Aims and guidelines, prohibitions.
  • Remuneration for administrator, counselor, custodian, main broker, auditors.
  • Accountancy fundamentals.
  • Names and contact details of portfolio managers or trustees.
  • Chief service contractors for the fund.

Assess asset worth before launching a private investment fund.

In adherence to regulations, private investment funds operating in the Cayman Islands are obligated to conform to the guidelines outlined in the Private Funds Act and associated Regulations. Part of their conformance involves the implementation of a Calculation Policy aimed at ensuring transparent valuation procedures and establishing their NAV.

Calculating NAV demands adhering to universally recognized and universally acknowledged accounting principles worldwide.

The fund's manager is liable for evaluating its unique circumstances. This includes endorsing price structures for asset valuation and overseeing the NAV process, with approving the Calculation Policy.

Starting a Cayman fund: managing monetary resources

Monetary establishments, encompassing funds, rely on essential contributions from financial executives. These executives fulfill various roles such as custodian, administrator, investment portfolio manager, or impartial third party.

  • Administering cash flow;
  • secure the movement of all funds to private fund cash accounts;
  • validate the aggregation of resources by a private fund of all contributors’ payments for their investment shares.

Managing cyber assets: financial practices in the Cayman Islands

The VASP Act, ratified on May 25, 2020, applies to every service provider offering "solutions for virtual assets". Organizations intending to distribute tokens in lieu of shares obliged to conform with the legal mandates.

A platform that allows investors to trade traditional currency for cyber tokens, tradable for diverse assets, could draw regulatory scrutiny as a venue for securities trading.

Comparing mutual and private funds: resemblances and variances

Private funds

Mutual funds

Number of contributors:


Lowest level of investment required:

Not set

$100,000 or its corresponding value


According to the CIMA's legislation governing private funds

In conformance with the directives of CIMA for mutual funds

Redemption of equity capital:

Non-redeemable capital shares until the fund's dissolution

Redeemable shares in capital

AMLO, MLRO and Deputy required?


Compulsory yearly examination


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The Caymans remain a key worldwide center of finance. Various factors, encouraging a resilient and positive economic climate are unlocking the appeal of domiciliation centers and enticing contributors to participate in this jurisdiction's stock market.

Revisions of statutes governing private funds necessitate strict adherence:

  • enrollment with CIMA;
  • hiring a nearby accountant for yearly audit services;
  • annual asset value estimation;
  • nominating a custodial officer for upholding and attesting ownership;
  • appointing a reliable person to oversee specific duties related to monitoring financial transactions.
Incorporating a private fund necessitates keeping personal and corporate assets apart.

Cayman-based investment funds play a fundamental role in spearheading cutting-edge investment strategies involving digital assets, especially for handling cryptocurrency funds. After registration these funds need to secure a cryptolicense.

Don't miss out on the chance to connect with us for further insights into private funds. Our expertise lies in navigating the intricate regulatory framework governing privately managed funds in the Cayman Islands. We provide tailored assistance to streamline the registration process for your private or cryptofund in this promising judicature. Reach out today to seize the opportunities that await you.

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