Business in Bermuda

With its pink sands, crystal blue waters and high per capita income, Bermuda is the perfect backdrop for many business ventures.

BUSINESS IN BERMUDA

Boasting pink sands and crystal blue waters, Bermuda — classified as an overseas territory of the UK — is the perfect backdrop for many business ventures.

After four years of recession and US$1.4 billion of public debt, Bermuda enjoys the fourth-highest per capita income in the world. Financial services for international business and luxury facilities for tourists fuel the economy. Several reinsurance companies relocated to the island following the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina in the US, contributing to the expansion of a healthy international business sector.

BERMUDA AT A GLANCE

Tourism is one of the island's biggest industries. More than 80% of visitors to Bermuda are from the US. Bermuda's economy is reliant on international business. Wholesale, retail and repair services, followed by hotels and restaurants, are now top-ranked employers.

ENTERPRISING TIPS

  1. Interested in buying property in Bermuda? Non-Bermudians can't buy undeveloped land. But you can buy a Bermuda property if you have been granted a license to do so by the Minister of National Security, and the home meets a minimum annual rental value determined by the government. Homes available to non-Bermudians don't come cheap, however.

    Houses typically start at US$3.5 million, while condominiums within designated developments — where foreigners are permitted to buy property — typically start at approximately US$800,000.

  2. Organizations use a variety of company and partnership structures but many choose to form as an exempt company, which is owned by non-Bermudians, incorporated in Bermuda and operates from within Bermuda with external ties, transactions and activities. All other companies incorporated in Bermuda must be at least 60% owned by residents.
  3. To work in Bermuda, non-Bermudians require a permit that is issued by the immigration department to the employer. A standard work permit is valid for a maximum five-year term.
  4. Foreign investment in Bermuda is US$424 million (2011).

ETIQUETTE AND CUSTOMS

  1. Don't be surprised to see men wearing Bermuda shorts in the summer with a jacket, shirt and tie. For business, most stick to shades such as khaki, gray, navy blue, or even soft yellows. Knee-socks complete the look.
  2. Address business contacts and clients by their family name.
  3. In keeping with British tradition, afternoon tea is typically observed between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
  4. When you purchase property, a popular tradition is to give your home a special name.

INTERESTING FACTS

  1. While the US dollar is accepted at par, no other international currency is accepted.
  2. There is no sales tax or value added tax, although some goods are subject to a customs duty.
  3. Portuguese is the second most commonly spoken language on the island and about 10% of the population is Portuguese.
  4. Because of Bermuda's lower import tariffs and its ties to Britain, there are large discount rates on some British goods.

GETTING AROUND

  1. A 15% tip is often included in your restaturant bill. Taxis expect a 10% tip, while hotels add 7.25% to the bill.
  2. Foreigners can't rent cars, but taxis, bicycle and moped rentals are viable options.

BERMUDA

Population: 69,467 (July 2013 est.)

Unemployment rate: 8% (2012 est.)

Life expectancy: 80.93 years

Literacy rate: 98%

GDP: US$5.5 billion (2013 est.)

Inflation rate: 2.4% (2012 est.)

About the Author

Angela Walcott


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