Exchange Currency

Cayman Islands Monetary Authority

The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority began operations on 1 January 1997. It was established as a body corporate under the Monetary Authority Law, which was brought into force on that date.

As the primary financial services regulator, the mission of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority is to enhance the economic wealth and reputation of the Cayman Islands by fostering a thriving and growing, competitive, and internationally recognized financial services industry, through appropriate, responsive, cost-effective and efficient supervision and a stable currency.

The Authority was created from the merger of the Financial Services Supervision Department of the Cayman Islands Government and the Cayman Islands Currency Board. The former responsibilities, duties and activities of these two bodies now fall to CIMA. The Authority, however, was not established just to continue what was already in place under a different guise but rather to enhance Cayman's ability to maintain a well regulated financial services regime and monetary stability.

In March 2003 the Authority became operationally independent under the Monetary Authority Law (2003 Revision). Independence significantly enhanced CIMA's ability to meet international standards of supervision, accountability and transparency, and has more clearly defined its functions, duties, powers and obligations.

The key change resulting from the granting of operational independence was that powers previously vested in the Cabinet of the Cayman Islands Government to issue and revoke licences and registration and to exercise enforcement powers now vest in CIMA, through its Board of Directors.

Principal Functions
The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority has four principal functions:

  1. Monetary - The issue and redemption of Cayman Islands currency and the management of currency reserves.
  2. Regulatory - The regulation and supervision of financial services, the monitoring of compliance with money laundering regulations, the issuance of a regulatory handbook on policies and procedures and the issuance of rules and statements of principle and guidance.
  3. Cooperative - The provision of assistance to overseas regulatory authorities, including the execution of memorandum of understanding to assist with consolidated supervision.
  4. Advisory - The provision of advice to the Government on monetary, regulatory and cooperative matters.

Among the Monetary Authority's obligations in carrying out its functions are the requirements to:

  • act in the best economic interests of the Cayman Islands;
  • promote and maintain a sound financial system in the Cayman Islands;
  • use its resources in the most efficient and economic way;
  • have regard to generally accepted principles of good corporate governance;
  • endeavor to promote and enhance market confidence, consumer protection and the reputation of the Cayman Islands as a financial center;
  • reduce the possibility for the use of financial services business for money laundering or other crime;
  • recognize the international character of financial services/markets and the need to be competitive for consumers and suppliers while complying with appropriate and relevant international standards;
  • recognize the principle that a burden or restriction that is imposed should be proportionate to its expected benefits;
  • recognize the desirability of facilitating innovation in financial services business;
  • be transparent and fair.

Structure and Governance
The Government of the Cayman Islands wholly owns the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority. In accordance with the Monetary Authority Law, the Governor appoints CIMA's Board of Directors, including its Managing Director. The Governor also has power to give directions to the Authority after consultation with the Board, and may appoint an independent person to review the Authority's performance or actions.

In its relations with the Government, the Authority channels its communications through the Financial Secretary.

CIMA is a statutory authority under the Public Management and Finance Law. As such, the Legislative Assembly must approve its annual expenditure budget and funding and it is subject to an annual statutory audit. The Government funds the Authority by purchasing specified services as agreed in the Authority's annual purchase agreement with the Government.

The Authority's Board is responsible for the policies and general administration of the affairs and business of the Authority. The Managing Director is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Authority.

The Authority has set out, in its Regulatory Handbook, the policies and procedures that it follows in performing its regulatory and cooperative functions.

International Cooperation
The Cayman Islands does not have financial institution secrecy laws that inhibit implementation of the FATF Recommendations, including access to, or obtaining of financial information by financial sector regulators and law enforcement.

The Monetary Authority endeavours to fulfil its regulatory and supervisory mandate having due regard to international standards. CIMA is represented in various bodies including the:

  • Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF);
  • Offshore Group of Banking Supervisors (OGBS);
  • Working Group on Cross Border Banking;
  • Caribbean Group of Banking Supervisors (CGBS);
  • Association of Supervisors of Banks of the Americas (ASBA);
  • Offshore Group of Insurance Supervisors (OGIS);
  • International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS);
  • Offshore Group of Collective Investment Scheme Supervisors (OGCISS);
  • International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).

The Authority is also participating in the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Information Framework Initiative under which statistical information is provided to the IMF.

Such participation seeks to ensure that the Cayman Islands is kept abreast of the developments affecting offshore centers and that the jurisdiction plays an active role in international regulatory developments.

Useful links

Currency of Cayman Islands:
Cayman Islands dollar
List of Central Banks:
Central Banks
Official website of Cayman Islands Monetary Authority:
Cayman Finance:
Cayman Islands Government:
Financial Reporting Authority:
Cayman Islands Financial Services: