An overseas company which i) establishes a place of business; ii) commences carrying on business within the Cayman Islands (even “offshore” business); or iii) proposes to own real estate situated in the Cayman Islands, must register as a “foreign company” (essentially register a branch) under Part IX of the Companies Law.
A registered Cayman Islands branch will not have a separate legal personality from the main company headquartered overseas. In many cases, this is desirable for group operations which are required to maintain tax residency in a certain jurisdiction, but wish to have a Cayman Islands presence from which to conduct certain business of the group. In the case of a bank, trust company, insurance company, management company, mutual fund, mutual fund administrator or any entity carrying on securities investment business, a licence to conduct such business will be required from CIMA, even though such business is actually conducted outside the Cayman Islands. A Cayman Islands branch is able to secure a T&B Licence and, if necessary, a Local Companies (Control) Licence (LCCL) to comply with the necessary legal requirements to set up a physical presence in the Cayman Islands.