Foundations in the Cayman Islands

Unlocking the Potential of Foundation Companies in the Cayman Islands

Imagine a legal vehicle that marries the best of civil law foundations and common law trusts, offering unparalleled asset protection, succession planning, and confidentiality.

Enter the world of foundation companies, where the stunning shores of the Cayman Islands provide the backdrop for a financial haven like no other.

The Cayman Islands, a globally renowned offshore financial centre, has become the premier destination for establishing foundation companies, thanks to its favourable legal framework, tax advantages, and international recognition.

In this article, we’ll whisk you away to the sun-kissed beaches of Grand Cayman, revealing the secrets behind the success of foundation companies, the compelling reasons behind the Cayman Islands’ popularity for setting up these entities, and the invaluable benefits of partnering with a local Corporate Service Provider (CSP).

Part 1: Understanding Foundation Companies 

A foundation company is a unique legal entity that blends the advantageous features of civil law foundations and common law trusts. Established primarily for asset protection and succession planning, foundation companies offer an attractive solution for those seeking a versatile wealth management and preservation vehicle.

Critical features include their separate legal personality, limited liability, and the ability to have both members and beneficiaries. They are governed by a robust legal framework, providing a rock-solid footing for operation and regulation. In addition, foundation companies can have tailor-made constitutions and bylaws, allowing customisation to suit specific needs and requirements.

The benefits include:

  1. Flexibility: Thanks to their customisable constitutions and bylaws, foundation companies can be adapted to various purposes. This allows them to cater to multiple objectives and accommodate diverse needs, making them a versatile wealth management and preservation solution.
  2. Asset protection: By functioning as a separate legal entity with limited liability, foundation companies provide a robust layer of protection for their assets. This helps safeguard assets from potential claims or liabilities and ensures their preservation for future generations.
  3. Confidentiality: Foundation companies offer high confidentiality; their bylaws and other private documents do not need to be filed with the public register. This helps maintain privacy and discretion for the individuals and families involved.

Typical uses encompass a broad spectrum of applications, including:

  • Succession planning: Foundation companies can effectively manage and transfer wealth across generations, allowing for the seamless preservation and distribution of assets according to the founder’s wishes.
  • Holding high-risk assets: As foundation companies provide protection for their assets, they are particularly suitable for holding high-risk investments, such as shares in family businesses or other ventures with significant potential liabilities.
  • Philanthropic purposes: Foundation companies can also serve as vehicles for philanthropic endeavours, enabling individuals and families to support charitable causes and initiatives in an organised and efficient manner.

Part 2: The Cayman Islands as the Perfect Location for Foundation Companies 

The Cayman Islands has become the go-to jurisdiction for establishing foundation companies, thanks to its favourable legal and regulatory environment, tax advantages, and international recognition. Let’s look at these key aspects that make the Cayman Islands the ideal location for foundation companies.

Favourable legal and regulatory environment: The Cayman Islands has a robust legal framework that supports establishing and operating foundation companies. The Foundation Company Act 2017 provides the primary legislation governing these entities, while the Companies Act (Revised) offers additional guidance and regulation. This comprehensive legal infrastructure ensures that foundation companies in the Cayman Islands are well-regulated, secure, and compliant with international standards.

Tax advantages: Setting up a foundation company in the Cayman Islands has significant tax benefits. No income, withholding, or capital gains taxes are levied on foundation companies, allowing for the efficient management and preservation of wealth. Additionally, members and beneficiaries of a foundation company are not subject to any estate or inheritance taxes in the Cayman Islands. Furthermore, foundation companies incorporated as exempted companies can apply for a tax exemption undertaking, which guarantees that any changes to the Cayman Islands’ tax laws will not apply to the foundation company for a period not exceeding 30 years from the date of approval.

International recognition and compatibility: Cayman Islands foundation companies enjoy high international acclaim and are well-regarded in other jurisdictions. This benefits individuals and families with assets and interests across multiple countries, as the foundation company can seamlessly interact with foreign legal systems and tax regimes. The compatibility of Cayman Islands foundation companies with other jurisdictions facilitates cross-border transactions and wealth management, making them an attractive option for globally-minded clients.

Part 3: The Benefits of Collaborating with a Cayman Islands Corporate Service Provider (CSP) 

Partnering with a Cayman Islands CSP can significantly enhance the process of establishing and managing a foundation company in the jurisdiction. The benefits include:

Role of a CSP and services provided: A CSP offers a comprehensive suite of services to facilitate foundation companies’ incorporation, administration, and ongoing management. Services typically include assistance with the incorporation process, registered office and independent Foundation Council member provision, ongoing administration, and regulatory compliance. By engaging a CSP, clients can ensure that their foundation company is set up and managed efficiently, professionally, and in compliance with local laws and regulations.

Advantages of working with a local CSP: Collaborating with a Cayman Islands-based CSP offers several distinct advantages.

  • Local providers deeply understand the local legal and regulatory landscape, ensuring the foundation company is established and operated in line with the Cayman Islands’ requirements.
  • A local CSP also offers the advantage of having a physical presence in the jurisdiction, which can be essential for meeting specific regulatory requirements.
  • Additionally, CSPs often have access to a network of professional service providers, such as lawyers, accountants, and tax advisors, who can offer valuable expertise and support to the foundation company.

Value-added services: Services may include customising the foundation company’s constitution and bylaws to suit the client’s unique objectives, offering guidance on best practices for corporate governance and compliance, and providing ongoing support for the foundation company’s operations. By leveraging the expertise and resources of a CSP, clients can ensure that their foundation company is optimally structured and managed to achieve their goals.

With in-depth local knowledge, professional networks, and value-added services, a CSP can help clients navigate the complexities of the legal and regulatory environment, ensuring a successful and efficient foundation company setup.

Foundation companies offer a unique and flexible vehicle for asset protection, succession planning, and other purposes. The Cayman Islands, with its favourable legal and regulatory environment, tax advantages, and international recognition, has emerged as the ideal jurisdiction for establishing these entities. Collaborating with a local Corporate Service Provider, such as Affinity Group, can significantly enhance setting up and managing a foundation company in the Cayman Islands.

At Affinity Group, we have expert knowledge in fiduciary services and provide tailored support and guidance to all our clients. Our experienced team can offer a wide range of services, including the provision of independent Foundation Council members, registered agent services, bespoke drafting of the Foundation Instrument and Foundation Rules, and ongoing management and administration of the foundation company.

With a strong presence in the Isle of Man, Malta, and the Cayman Islands, we have built a strong reputation as a leading Corporate Service Provider across various sectors, including yachting, eGaming, and fintech. Our commitment to delivering unrivalled service and building lasting client relationships makes Affinity Group the perfect partner for those seeking to establish a foundation company in the Cayman Islands.

We encourage you to get in touch with our team of professionals for more information and tailored guidance on how they can help you achieve your objectives.