The firm, comprising Pensum Ltd. and associated companies, was licensed in 1996 by the Cayman Islands government to form and administer companies. It was later similarly licensed in the BVI. Furthermore, it is approved to form companies in the Marshall Islands. Coupled with its maritime, banking, accounting and US tax expertise, the firm acts as consultants for international clients, particularly those involved in the ownership and operation of marine assets. Of course, the firm is not limited to marine applications and is able to form companies for any legitimate purpose.
The firm is also licensed in the Cayman Islands as an insurance broker with associations in the US such that it is able to offer the range of services set out in our Summary of Services.
The firm has built up a reputation for providing a professional personal service that is fast, friendly and efficient.
Richard was born and educated in England and has been working in the financial industry for 38 years. For his first 7 years of employment, he was with the HSBC Group in the UK and then moved to the Cayman Islands where he has lived for the past 22 years. In the Cayman Islands he worked with Coutts & Co. (the private banking arm of the Natwest Group) [1985-1992], and then for the Bank of Bermuda (Cayman) Limited, [1992-1996], as part of the bank's senior management team and General Manager of their trust company.
Together with associated business development, Richard’s experience includes the establishment and management of companies, trusts and private banking relationships in some of the major offshore jurisdictions as well as the registration of companies, yachts, ships and ancillary services in the Cayman Islands. Richard has developed long-standing relationships with lawyers, accountants, bankers and other business professionals, both offshore and in mainland jurisdictions such as the United States, Canada and Europe. His work in shipping matters includes the preparation of corporate and marine documents required to register a vessel, any mortgage and any subsequent changes to the vessel and its registered details. Operational aspects include crew issues, technical issues, regulatory issues, liaison with the shipping registry, radio licensing and satellite communication hook-up.
Richard is an associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and has been approved by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority since 1992 to act as a director in the financial services industry. He also serves as a compliance officer to ensure that all business is conducted in accordance with local and international financial laws.
Marla was born and educated in the US and is a Certified Public Accountant with a Masters Degree in US tax. She is also licensed with the State of Florida as a general lines insurance agent [property, casualty and health]. She has been working in the financial industry for 30 years, initially with Arthur Andersen as an auditor and, for the past 20 years, in the Cayman Islands. Between 1987 and 1996, she was with KPMG Peat Marwick as founder and Head of their US International Tax Department.
Currently, she provides assistance to investors from around the world who choose to conduct international business from or through international financial centres such as the Cayman Islands. Structuring an operation may include advising on corporate issues, trust issues, financial planning, mutual fund administration, accounting, company management and yacht/ship registration. Services include working with professional practitioners worldwide and, in respect of US persons, the development of appropriate asset and tax plans in respect of their envisaged business.
Her work in company management requires knowledge on the structuring of companies for different purposes and the provision of ancillary services such as acting as directors, officers and members of client companies including the provision of bare trustee services. Knowledge of corporate, trust, mutual fund, accounting and US international tax matters, has proven to be a good platform from which to act as director of various types of company, in particular Cayman registered mutual funds and hedge funds.
Her work in mutual fund administration includes screening clientele, preparing financial statements, calculating the net asset value of shares, dealing with investors and shareholders and processing subscriptions, redemptions and transfers of shares. It has also included dealing with issues in respect of US persons holding shares in offshore mutual funds.
Her work in shipping matters includes insurance, vessel accounts and preparing financial statements.
Her work in insurance includes captive insurance companies and attendant issues such as analysing the benefits of establishing a captive, structuring, US tax, filing, and other operational requirements.
In summary, disciplines currently being utilised are company management (including directorships), ship and yacht registration, insurance, mutual fund administration, international financial planning, US international tax and accounting. Over recent years, Marla has also been involved in enabling clients to establish a stem cell clinic in the Cayman Islands. Applications include orthopaedic, anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing and cosmetic treatments. Allowable treatments are those that are approved or allowed in the UK/EU, Canada, US, and by the World Health Organisation. Hence, the range can be more extensive than what is currently available in the US.
Peter Gibbs joined the Royal Navy in England as a scholarship entrant to Dartmouth. He later qualified as an electrical engineer, served at sea as head of a warship’s electrical department, and then at the RN engineering design headquarters in the UK. He left the RN, took a post-graduate diploma in management studies, and later moved to the Cayman Islands. There he worked in the financial sector, particularly in company management, trusts and asset protection structures. At the same time, he was closely involved in establishing the Cayman Islands as a modern shipping registry, including extension of all the requisite maritime conventions to make such a registry possible.
Early on, Peter saw the potential for registering luxury pleasure yachts from two perspectives. First, their registration would act as a vehicle through which to show the flag and raise awareness. Secondly, He saw a market where Cayman’s sophisticated financial structures could be used to benefit high-end yacht owners. Accordingly, he formulated a two-phase approach; phase one would concentrate on yachts, phase two would focus on commercial shipping, once sufficient domestic merchant shipping law was in place to give effect to the maritime conventions.
Of course, today, that approach sounds very straightforward, but in reality it was far from easy. Few others at the time believed there was any merit in registering yachts and, for a number of years, it was a single-handed uphill battle. However, when in 1995 the Cayman Islands emerged as the world’s largest offshore registry for “super-yachts” [yachts over 100 feet in length], people happily embraced the notion that here was an area in which the country reigned supreme.
In 1997, Peter Gibbs was appointed as Cayman’s first Director of Shipping with responsibility for the Cayman Islands’ maritime administration. This embraced maritime affairs, maritime law, maritime security, regulation and registration. During his six-year term of office, he extended Cayman’s world lead with respect to super-yachts, developed merchant shipping with a compound growth rate in registered tonnage of 26% p.a. and increased revenue at a compound growth rate of 42% p.a. over his last four years in office. He also brought a private sector approach to running the organisation and raised the quality standard to the point of achieving ISO 9000/2000 certification.
Through these initiatives, he increased staff productivity three-fold during his tenure. Commercial tonnage grew fourfold during his tenure and revenue increased six-fold. When he started, revenue covered only 29% of expenditure. By the end of his term, revenue and expenditure were balanced, despite a doubling of staff and office premises over the same period to handle the growth.
Since retiring from Government service [for the second time], Peter Gibbs has consulted with other Governments on maritime matters. He has also been able to advise our clients on maritime issues, both in respect of commercial shipping and for yachts. Commercial shipping has included administration of the law, consular and treaty issues. In respect of yachts, structures for owning large yachts have become increasingly complex, particularly with respect to Maritime Labour Convention, EU VAT, asset protection and the operation of yachts in commercial use in different jurisdictions around the world, including passenger yachts.
In addition to the above, we also have access to legal advisers at the practitioner, administrative and academic levels where matters of law and its operation arise, both from a regulatory and a commercial perspective. From the academic sources, we also gain insight into current thinking on the future for regulation and commerce through the application of international law usually to be determined under international conventions.
All of this will give some insight into the depth of expertise Pensum has at its disposal to provide the broad range of services outlined on the Home Page.
In addition to servicing our private clients, both individual and corporate, we also work with practitioners in the industry in most parts of the world. These include, law firms, accountancy firms, banks, trust companies, fund managers, designers, builders, managers, brokers and documentation agents.
In shipping, from a jurisdictional perspective of the typical mainland client and Cayman flag scenario, there is work [usually legal or documentary work] to be done on the mainland for which we are not qualified, and there is work to be conducted in the Cayman Islands for which mainland practitioners are not qualified. This is particularly so in respect of company management where the regulators require each company to have a registered office that is maintained by a locally licensed practitioner within the company’s jurisdiction. Hence, the services usually complement each other well and there is ample opportunity for both parties to work together without conflict in delivering the best possible product to the client.
In respect of ships and yachts, although we are based in the Cayman Islands, we are able to register in most jurisdictions. Meanwhile, as far as possible, the principal files reside in the Cayman Islands and this helps to protect client privacy, a legitimate concern of many high net-worth individuals.
We bill in US Dollars and there is no VAT or other direct tax levied on our services, as pertains in many other jurisdictions.
To follow up on any aspect, Contact Us