Environment, accountability highlight discussions at CIIPA’s Momentum conference
Combating climate change, the importance of public sector accountability and understanding evolving digital assets highlighted discussions Thursday, 9 Dec. at the Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants’ annual summit held at the Kimpton Seafire Resort.
More than 100 people attended the conference, Momentum, either in person or online. They heard from global leaders in the accountancy, financial services and blockchain industries as well as local dignitaries and policy advisors.
“The inconveniences that we have suffered in the last year-and-a-half because of COVID are just a very easy dress rehearsal for the much bigger show that will be the disruption caused to the global economy by climate change,” said globally recognized speaker Rob Whiteman, Chief Executive Officer of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountability. “I do think if we’re going to stem the temperature rise and try and hold it back to one-and-a-half percent, actually the profession and accountancy will play an absolutely vital role – as indeed will the capital markets – for the type of investment in technology that is needed.”
A separate session from a KPMG-led team examined 90 endowments and pension plans with nearly US $35 trillion of assets under management to report on the role capital markets can play in a transition to a low-carbon world. The global report was led by KPMG Cayman Islands’ Anthony Cowell, Jodie McTaggart and Staci Scott.
“We really do have a once in a generational opportunity now to embed sustainability and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) into all of our financial service frameworks, into everything that we do,” Cowell said. “We’re seeing at KPMG a massive reallocation of capital towards ESG in the capital markets and Cayman can really be at the forefront and lead this to really build a better world.”
The summit began with His Excellency the Governor Martyn Roper giving the opening remarks. Afterward, Financial Services Minister Hon. Andre Ebanks addressed attendees via video on the future of financial services in the Cayman Islands.
“Our vision is for the financial services industry and the Cayman Islands to be viewed as a globally respected financial services center of excellence,” Minister Ebanks said. “And our mission in order to achieve that is to improve our platform continuously so it is competitive, transparent and provides compliant financial services.”
One of the ways Cayman does that, the Minister said, is to refine existing products and services while continuing to innovate and create new products. Much of the day’s discussion revolved around blockchain, crypto currency and the way Cayman’s accountancy and financial services professionals interact with digital assets.
“The retail public has become accustomed to a stable and reliable financial infrastructure and can sometimes assume that the new crypto services that are being offered have that same safety,” said Samuel Jacques-Clothier, senior policy advisor in the Financial Services Ministry. “So we have a responsibility on both the commercial and regulatory sides to act in a way that safeguards the public and prevents misuse and deceptive practices.”
Attendees also heard from Pamela Greene, the Chief Information Security Officer of the Cayman Islands, while Petri Basson of Hash Consulting and PwC’s Isabel Gumeyi discussed the latest trends in crypto and digital currencies. The day ended with a mental health focus as certified professional coach, Cindy Blekaitis, provided practical tips on Managing the Impact of Transition and Change.
CIIPA would like to thank its corporate partners that helped make the event a reality, including on site sponsor KPMG, Wi-Fi sponsor EY and session sponsors, Grant Thornton, CIPFA, Deloitte and PwC.
Issued by: Cayman Islands Institute of Professional Accountants (CIIPA)