Globacor Articles

Offshore Finance Canada Vault Magazine July/August 2002


Bayshore Bank and Trust (Barbados) Corp. is proud of its Canadian Heritage

by Brendan Morrison

The vice-president of investment services at Bayshore Bank and Trust (Barbados) Corp. knows exactly what his company's strengths are.

"We're a pure offshore international bank dealing with international clients and expatriate clients," says Maurice Fortier. And while he's proud of the bank's offshore purity, Fortier would be the first to acknowledge Bayshore's roots can be traced to Canada.

The first company to fly the Bayshore banner was Bayshore Trust, a Canadian trust company that operated in Canada for more than 30 years before being sold to Trimark Financial Corporation in 1996.

Before a year had passed, however, the Bayshore name was resurrected when Bayshore Bank and Trust (Barbados) was licensed as a Barbados chartered bank.

With its Canadian roots running as deep as they do, establishing Bayshore in Barbados seems like a logical choice. "Canada and Barbados have a very special relationship, given the Barbados-Canada Tax Treaty," says Fortier. "So, that is the number one reason why Barbados was chosen over Cayman or Bahamas or Bermuda.

"Canada has tax treaties with countries around the world, but Barbados is really unique in that we have a very advantageous tax structure for corporations that are doing business internationally. A Canadian company that is involved in sales or distribution around the world will quite often look to Barbados first as the place to set up that sales and distribution centre because of the low tax rate and the tax treaty, which makes it advantageous to set up here."

"Bayshore's location in Barbados rather than New York or Toronto is not due to a preference for 'sun and sand,' adds John Bujouves, Bayshore's chief executive officer.”It is the combination of financial planning options and structures, such as offshore banking, IBCs, trusts, variable life and annuities, all in a low-tax environment governed by comprehensive legislation interwoven with a network of tax treaties that make the domicile appealing. " But Bayshore's Canadian connections go beyond being located in a jurisdiction advantageous to Canadian-driven business. Despite having a client base that spans the globe, Canadians, at home and abroad, still make up more than half of Bayshore's business.

The bank's senior management team also has more than a passing familiarity with the Maple Leaf: Managing Director Penny Ettinger, Chief Operating Officer Erin O'Neal and Vice-President Wayne Grant have strong ties to Canada too, in addition to strong international business experience.

"The common trait that we all have is that we do have roots in Canada and we have experience working in various management centers," says Fortier. With a senior management team that knows firsthand how difficult expatriation can be, Bayshore has a somewhat unusual competitive edge--empathy.

"People want to deal with people that understand their situation," Fortier says. "I've gone through leaving Canada. I can understand all of the issues that are involved there. I understand what it means to have to try to move assets out of the Canadian dollar, and how that is a very emotional issue ... the understanding of where they've come from and why they've actually left Canada and for what reasons, I think it's a huge issue."

The personal touch is one of Bayshore's calling cards. Fortier says he often gets clients who tell him how much they like being able to call Bayshore and speak to somebody who can answer their questions or get things done for them.

"If you were phoning a large retail bank, you don't know who's going to answer the phone," Fortier says. "And quite often (at retail banks), the turnover in personnel is so great that you don't really develop any relationship with the people you're dealing with there."

Relationships are at the foundation of Bayshore's business strategy. Fortier says the bank's main role isn't simply selling investments or getting banking transactions out of its clients, but rather working with private clients who have unique and sophisticated wealth management issues.

"We're not a retail bank; we're an investment bank that has wealth management planning and trust planning as part of our package. People can come to us, get all of that and they can deal with another financial institution for their day to-day retail."

What Bayshore does offer its clients is a wide array of investment options. For the "do-it-yourself' type of client, Fortier says Bayshore provides investment options from stocks to bonds to options.” You name it, we can facilitate it." For these clients, who need to invest at least $2 million to ensure proper diversification, Bayshore conducts personal interviews before having clients fill out their Client Investment Profiler, a questionnaire that helps Bayshore determine what portfolio structure and asset mix best matches the client's goals.

After getting the information, Bayshore checks it against the company's database of more than 1,200 investment management firms and matches the clients with the investment manager’s best suited to their needs.

For clients without the time to manage their portfolios, however, Bayshore offers what are essentially managed programs. One of those programs is Integris funds, a pooled family of funds located in the Cayman Islands, which Bujouves says allows Bayshore to provide access to "world-class investment managers" they ordinarily wouldn't have access to. "Our client service offering combines leading-edge technology, global financial and investment products and a strong commitment to the human factor in helping investors realize our goals.

"Our 'best of the best' approach ensures that clients have access literally to a world of investment choice, frequently to advisors who would otherwise be inaccessible to them in virtue of asset size or relationship strictures, or simply because they are not aware of their existence or areas of expertise.

"The Bayshore management team firmly believes in the value of our close association with some of the world's leading asset managers. Our clients have access to advisors that would be otherwise difficult for many individual investors to reach. Our investment bench strength extends well beyond Barbados to major financial centers such as New York, London and Toronto."