Minister Ebanks at CYDEC 2021: investment in innovation to get to most vulnerable

June 11, 2021
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Read the below coverage on CYDEC’s conference published by Loop Cayman.

Minister of Financial Services and Commerce, and of Investment Innovation, and Social Development, Andre Ebanks, recently announced that the vision of the PACT government is to ensure that investment in innovation makes its way throughout Cayman society, from the most privileged to the most vulnerable.

This statement was made at the fourth annual Cayman Islands Digital Economy Conference (CYDEC), hosted virtually by FTS, on June 3. The successful event had 130 registrants.

This year’s theme focused on how digitisation can help Cayman to  preserve and enhance its position as one of the world’s most successful international financial centres, one of the most attractive tourist destinations and one of the most COVID-safe countries both in the global market and locally, for the benefit of Caymanians.

Featured topics included: cryptocurrencies, Cayman’s new digital ID, the pros and cons of digital currency, digitisation of the KYC process and a keynote international speech on the global digital revolution.

The annual conference was brought to the virtual platform following last year’s COVID restrictions. Following 2020’s online success, and the opportunity it creates for international speakers and delegates, CYDEC has remained on-screen for its second year. 

Minister Ebanks launched the event and introduced this year’s theme: Putting Cayman on the digitisation track.

He described the Cayman Islands’ future as extraordinarily bright in this space. Touching on social development, he said: “The overall vision of this government is to ensure that investment in innovation not only assists those who are well-off, but also the most vulnerable in society.”

He also discussed Cayman’s preparedness for technological development. “There are of course global challenges but we are well poised to meet these challenges – as we have done in the past,” he said.

Director of FTS and CYDEC Founder, Paul Byles, was delighted with this year’s turnout. The local economist is passionate about Cayman fully immersing into the digital revolution.

“The purpose is to show how digitisation can help to improve various aspects of our lives. It’s also about putting the Cayman Islands on track; most developed countries have had formal institutional structures in place to foster technological innovation and awareness in this area for years,” said Byles.

Keynote speaker, James Alexander delivered an address about the transition toward an equitable, carbon neutral, nature positive society. The co-founder of #voiceoftheplanet and director at Future Agenda shared his insights as a foresight, strategy and innovation consultant – presenting “Global trends in digitization. How it started, how it’s going.”

Another global perspective was brought by Caribbean Economist, Marla Dukharan. She highlighted that Cayman already has the foundation in place to lead in the area of technology, within both government and the private sector – particularly concerning digital currency services. Listing some of the benefits she said, “Digitising government services means fiscal savings, increased collections of government, and new and improved efficiency in the deployment of public spending.”

Ian Tibbetts, Director of eGovernment, Ministry of Investment, Innovation and Social Development, delivered key insights around Cayman’s proposed digital register and national ID card – planned to go before Parliament in 2021. He took the audience through the concept and its benefits, using the success of Estonia’s similar programme as a case study.

Tibbetts described the government’s digital identity programme as fundamentally empowering people to securely participate in the digital society.” When discussing the initiative’s timeline, he said “the bills and regulations are being drafted for the various consultations with the aim of going to Parliament later this year”.

The international speakers were joined by local industry experts:

Petri Basson, of HASH Consulting and Chairman of the Blockchain Association; Paul Byles, CYDEC Conference Founder and Director of FTS; Oliver Close, Vice President of Active Investments at DART; Justin Fisher, Co-Founder and CEO of Veriblock; Adam Lambert, Managing Director at ZIMTRA; Blair Lilford, Founder of SALT Technology Group; Ian Tibbetts Director of eGovernment, Ministry of Investment, Innovation and Social Development, and Ryan Watson, Vice President of IT at Brave.

Tammi Sulliman, Senior Manager, News & Content at Dart was Master of Ceremonies for the third consecutive year.

Launched in 2018 as the first conference of its kind in the Cayman Islands, CYDEC has become a highly anticipated signature event in Cayman. The first CYDEC event in 2018, inspired Byles to launch the ‘Digital Cayman’ industry body.

The success of this annual event has contributed to the continued growth and development of the digital industry in Cayman.

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A closer look at CYDEC in its 4th year

May 14, 2021
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Now in its 4th year, we take a look at the purpose and early achievements of CYDEC-Cayman’s first digital economy conference.

CYDEC was conceived in 2018 by Paul Byles, local economist and financial services expert and director of FTS — the company that organises the event.

“The objective was to find a way to keep the Cayman Islands community abreast of technological development globally and how those changes might impact us. Economies everywhere are increasingly digitized, which is impacting our economic and social lives immensely,” says Byles.

CYDEC is purposely not focused solely on topics such as ‘blockchain’ or ‘cybersecurity’ but about all aspects of digitisation in the economy. This year, for example, the event is taking a closer look at the evolution of national currencies being digitised and what that means for the Cayman Islands. Previous events also looked at the role of technology in healthcare and education.

But Byles, who is also a former Chamber of Commerce president, makes it clear that the event is also not just for members of the business community.

“Digitisation is already impacting our youth, education system and how healthcare is delivered. It’s critical that we are constantly addressing developments impacting all areas of lives,” he adds.

True to its original purpose, the CYDEC event has already led to the creation of Digital Cayman, a new industry body focused on awareness and policy advocacy in the area of technological innovations.

“Digital Cayman was an idea that I presented at the inaugural CYDEC breakfast forum which is a private session we hold the day after the main CYDEC event to discuss policy issues impacting the Cayman Islands. In 2018, I proposed a concept of a new industry body dedicated to digitisation and worked closely with Mr Charlie Kirkconnell of CEC and several other stakeholders to create Digital Cayman. That was a great discussion and we had several local and international speakers and representatives of the Ministry of Financial Services in attendance at that first breakfast forum,” Byles says.

Digital Cayman was legally formed in late 2019 and after a bit of COVID-19 disruption in 2020, is now in the process of sourcing its membership. Byles says he expects the organisation to really hit the ground running later this year as they implement various initiatives focused on education and policy advocacy.

“The purpose is on how digitisation can help to improve the various aspects of our lives. It’s also about putting the Cayman Islands on track; most developed countries have had formal institutional structures in place to foster technological innovation and awareness in this area for years, ” he adds.

This year CYDEC features topics on cryptocurrencies, Cayman’s new digital ID, the pros and cons of a national digital currency, digitisation of the KYC process and a keynote international speaker on the global digital revolution.

Each of these topics will also be accompanied by various panels of experts.

This year’s event is being held virtually and takes place on June 3, from 9am to 12:30pm. Registration is available at 

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Virtual CYDEC 2021 conference focused on putting Cayman on the digitization track

April 19, 2021
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The fourth annual Cayman Islands Digital Economy Conference (CYDEC), hosted by FTS, will take place online on 3rd June 2021 from 9am to 12:30pm.

Originally launched in 2018 as the first conference of its kind in The Cayman Islands, CYDEC has become the most anticipated digital event in the community calendar. The virtual event offers the opportunity to engage with global technology experts in cybersecurity, cryptocurrency and blockchain, discussing the risks and benefits of digital currency.

Each year, the conference showcases cutting edge ideas and applied technological advancements for forward thinking leaders in both the private and public sectors.  The Digital Cayman industry body was launched as result of the first CYDEC conference.

This year’s conference is focused around how the Cayman Islands can fully immerse itself into the digital revolution. International and local speakers will examine the biggest digital trends, discussing how one of the world’s most successful international financial centres, one of the most attractive tourist destinations, one of the most COVID-safe countries in today’s world, can not only join but succeedin digitising its economy.

The agenda will be relevant to business leaders across: financial services, tourism, technology, and the public sector. Compliance officers, enterprise risk managers, and CEO’s will also benefit from these discussions and innovations.

“We are looking forward to another great event this year. COVID 19 has put digitisation at the forefront of our daily lives and this year’s theme aims to help push Cayman forward in the areas of innovation and technology”, said Paul Byles CYDEC founder.

Global industry leaders, renowned international speakers and local technological figureheads will be sharing their expertise on the panel of this year’s event. Guest speakers and moderators include: Co-Founder and CEO of Veriblock, Justin Fisher, Chief Economist at BITT, Marla Dukharan, Independent Director at Hash Consulting, Petri Basson, Senior Manager, News & Content at Dart, Tammi Sulliman, Director of Future Agenda, James Alexander, Director of IT & Infrastructure at Brave Software Intl. SEZC, Ryan Watson, and Managing Director of Cayman Enterprise City’s ZIMTRA, Adam Lambert; among others.

The CYDEC 2021 conference is proudly partnered with the following sponsors: Cayman Tech City, Zimtra, Veriblock, Cayman Islands Government, Tower and Chamber of Commerce.

Early bird tickets are available at a 10% discounted rate, for a limited time only. Tickets are available at at a cost of $112.50 per person.

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Local experts combine for key AML training session: Includes updates to Cayman’s anti-money laundering framework over past 12 months

November 6, 2020
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Two of the country’s best-known experts on the Cayman Islands’ anti-money laundering framework have united to offer a refresher training session for the local compliance and risk management industry, Thursday, 25th November, 9am to 12:30pm.

Ms Angele Mele, Founder of RiskPass AML+Compliance Ltd. and Mr Paul Byles, Director of FTS, are former regulators of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) and have worked in the compliance and risk management sector for the past 15 years. This key training session offers the rare opportunity for attendees to learn from both speakers on the various changes to the country’s anti-money laundering regime.

“The purpose of the session is not only to provide an overview of recent legislative and regulatory updates but also to identify the changes that local compliance experts and directors need to incorporate into their existing systems, to be compliant,” Paul Byles, Director of FTS and organiser of the seminar said.  

Ms Mele will present on the topics of ‘Proliferation Financing’ and ‘Extensions to the Risk-based Approach,’ while Mr Byles will address ‘Targeted Financial Sanctions’ and ‘Transaction Monitoring.’ The seminar will be held on the Zoom platform and will include two breakout sessions and an online test. Attendees will receive a certificate of completion.

“We thought it would be timely to hold a session focusing on material updates since late 2019 and outline how these changes can be added into an existing framework,” Ms Mele said.

Mr Byles said that while some local professionals will be aware of the changes, it’s not always the case that they have incorporated necessary updates into their existing systems and procedures.

“Being aware of the changes and getting to the stage where you have fully incorporated them are two very different things,” he said. “The approach taken with this training session is to pinpoint the areas where changes need to be made and explore how these changes can be incorporated. I am hoping this is where we will be able to add value for compliance professionals.”

The session will be carried out via Zoom on Thursday, November 25th, from 9am to 12:30pm. Persons can sign up at

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Conference to address blockchain and digital economy

June 16, 2019
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Local and international experts will discuss developments in the digital economy and their implications for the finance, technology and legal industries, as well as the public sector, at the Cayman Islands Digital Economy Conference on Thursday, 20 June, at the Kimpton Seafire Resort.

“With the success of the first event last year, we are thrilled to be able to bring this event back to the local business community,” Paul Byles, director of consulting firm FTS, said.

“It is important for Cayman, as a global financial centre, to remain abreast of the latest trends within the digital economy, not only so that we may serve our clients better but also so we can ensure our regulations stay up-to-date,” he added.

This year’s line-up of speakers will showcase global trends, groundbreaking ideas and technological advancements.

Following welcome remarks from Premier Alden McLaughlin, the minister of Financial Services and Home Affairs Tara Rivers will be giving an opening address.

“Fintech is an ever-growing sector within Cayman’s largest industry,” Minister Rivers said. “As a jurisdiction, we are actively working on ways to create the appropriate regulatory environment to ensure that this new technology is properly assessed and implemented in a manner consistent with our reputation as a global leader in financial services.”

Co-founder and CEO of VeriBlock, Justin Fisher, will discuss some of the world’s most fascinating innovations involving blockchain technology during the first presentation of the morning. Nolan Bauerle, writer and researcher at CoinDesk, will explore the successes and failures of cryptocurrencies and Ravi Bahadursingh, barrister at Chancery Lane Chambers, will look at the implications of digital advances for initial coin offerings.

“As the digital economy is anything but one dimension, it is important that we explore the multiple sectors that make up the digital economy so that our attendees can receive a more rounded view of the current state and future developments,” Byles said in a press release.

The conference will also include what organisers called “a fireside chat” on how local regulators are approaching the risks associated with fintech and a panel titled ‘Technology and us’ as well as a display of local, young talent in Cayman’s robotics arena.

The Cayman Islands Digital Economy Conference, known as CyDEC, is organised by FTS and sponsored by the Ministry of Financial Services, the Ministry of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, Tower Marketing, Cayman Tech City, Veriblock, the Ministry of District Administration, Tourism and Transport, the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce and Pinnacle Media, among others.

Tickets are $350 and include entry to the full-day conference, breakfast, lunch and a cocktail reception. Visit for more details.

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CyDEC returns in 2019

May 31, 2019
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The Cayman Islands Digital Economy Conference (CyDEC) will return to the Aurea Ballroom at Kimpton Seafire Resort and Spa on Thursday, June 20th, bring together local and international experts to discuss developments within the digital economy and their applications for leaders across the financial, technological, legal and public sector industries.

To register for CyDEC 2019, click here.

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PwC to deliver unique seminar on compliance and regulatory readiness

July 28, 2017
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Bob Stanier

A unique seminar is aimed at helping local financial services firms carry out their own ‘compliance health check’ will be held at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort on September 11th.

The seminar will be delivered by experts from PwC in partnership with FTS, a local management consulting and training services firm.

Presentations will be made by PwC Partner Robert Stanier who will be joined by other speakers and panellists which will include; Mr. Don Ebanks from DMS, and Mr. Peter Colegate from Appleby.

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Insurance seminar helps companies with CIMA inspections

June 29, 2017
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Pictured: Raz Busari

A unique seminar aimed at helping local insurance firms prepare for regulatory inspections from CIMA will be held at Willow House, Cricket Square, on July 11th, 2017.

The seminar which is being organised by local management consulting and training company FTS, will feature CIMA’s Deputy Head of Insurance Mr Raz Busari as well as FTS Director Paul Byles.

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