20-F 1 ntb-20211231.htm 20-F 2021 THE BANK OF N.T. BUTTERFIELD AN SON LIMITED ntb-20211231
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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
 

FORM 20-F
(Mark One)
REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
OR
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended
December 31, 2021
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
OR
SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Date of event requiring this shell company report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
For the transition period from ___________________________ to ___________________________

Commission file number: 001-37877
 
The Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Limited
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
 
Bermuda
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

65 Front Street, Hamilton, HM 12 Bermuda
(Address of principal executive offices)
Shaun Morris, 65 Front Street, Hamilton, HM 12 Bermuda
Telephone: (441295-1111; Fax: (441) 292-4365
E-mail: Shaun.Morris@Butterfieldgroup.com
(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act.
Title of each classTrading Symbol (s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Voting ordinary shares of par value BM$ 0.01 each NTBNew York Stock Exchange
Voting ordinary shares of par value BM$ 0.01 eachNTB.BHBermuda Stock Exchange
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act: None

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the
period covered by the annual report.
As at December 31, 2021, there were 49,911,351 shares of the registrant's common stock outstanding.
1


Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
xYes oNo
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
oYes xNo
Note – Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
xYes oNo
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).
xYes oNo
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See definition of "large accelerated filer,"accelerated filer," and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.:
Large accelerated filerx Accelerated filero Non-accelerated filero Emerging growth company

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.                      o

† The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.                 

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
U.S. GAAPx
International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Boardo
Othero

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the
registrant has elected to follow.
oItem 17 oItem 18
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the
Exchange Act).
Yes xNo




2



TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
Part I
Item 1
Item 2
Item 3
Item 4
Item 4A
Item 5
Item 6
Item 7
Item 8
Item 9
Item 10
 
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Item 11
Item 12
Part II
Item 13
Item 14
Item 15
Item 16
Item 16A
Item 16B
Item 16C
Item 16D
Item 16E
Item 16F
Item 16G
Item 16H
Item 16I
Part III
Item 17
F-1
Item 18
Item 19






EXPLANATORY NOTE

In this report, unless the context indicates otherwise, the term:
"Bank" or "Butterfield" refers to:
The Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Limited;
"BMA" refers to:
The Bermuda Monetary Authority;
"Board" refers to:
The Board of Directors of the Bank;
"common shares" refers to:
the voting ordinary shares of par value BM$ 0.01 each in the Bank; and
"we", "our", "us", "the Company" and "the Group" refer to:
the Bank and its consolidated subsidiaries.
Refer also to the Glossary at the end of this document for additional terms.

PRESENTATION OF FINANCIAL AND OTHER INFORMATION
In this report, references to “BMD”, “BM$”, or “Bermuda Dollars” are to the lawful currency of Bermuda, and “USD”, “US$”, “$” and “US Dollars” are to the lawful currency of the United States of America. The Bermuda Dollar is pegged to the US Dollar on a one‑to‑one basis and therefore, for all periods presented, BM$1.00 = US$1.00.
Certain monetary amounts, percentages and other figures included in this report have been subject to rounding adjustments. Accordingly, figures shown as totals in certain tables may not be the arithmetic aggregation of the figures that precede them, and figures expressed as percentages in the text may not total 100% or, as applicable, when aggregated may not be the arithmetic aggregation of the percentages that precede them.
Our consolidated financial statements as at December 31, 2021 and 2020 and for the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019 have been audited, as stated in the report appearing herein, by PricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd., Bermuda, and are included in this report and are referred to as our audited consolidated financial statements. We have prepared these financial statements in accordance with GAAP.
We believe that the non‑GAAP measures included in this report provide valuable information to readers because they enable the reader to identify the financial measures we use to track the performance of our business and guide management. Furthermore, these measures provide readers with valuable information regarding our core activities, which allows for a more meaningful evaluation of relevant trends when considered in conjunction with measures calculated in accordance with GAAP. Non‑GAAP measures used in this report are not a substitute for GAAP measures and readers should consider the GAAP measures as well. For more information on non‑GAAP measures, including a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures, see Item 5.A. "Operating Results — Reconciliation of Non‑GAAP Financial Measures”.
INDUSTRY AND MARKET DATA
Some of the discussion contained in this report relies on certain market and industry data obtained from third‑party sources that we believe to be reliable. Market estimates are calculated by using independent industry publications and third‑party forecasts in conjunction with our assumptions about our markets. While we believe the industry and market data to be reliable as of the date of this report, this information is subject to change based on various factors, including those discussed under the headings “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward‑Looking Statements” and “Risk Factors” in this report.
TRADEMARKS AND SERVICE MARKS
We own or have rights to trademarks and service marks for use in connection with the operation of our business. All other trademarks or service marks appearing in this report that are not identified as marks owned by us are the property of their respective owners. Solely for convenience, the trademarks, service marks and trade names referred to in this report are listed without the ®, (TM) and (sm) symbols, but we will assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, our applicable rights in these trademarks, service marks and trade names.
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CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This annual report contains forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are neither historical facts nor assurances of future performance. Instead, they are based on our current beliefs, expectations or assumptions regarding the future of our business, future plans and strategies, our operational results and other future conditions. Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as "anticipate," "assume," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "indicate," "intend," "may," "plan," "point to," "predict," "project," "seek," "target," "potential," "will," "would," "could," "should," "continue," "contemplate" and other similar expressions, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. These forward-looking statements include all matters that are not historical facts. They appear in a number of places throughout this annual report and include statements regarding our intentions, beliefs or current expectation concerning, among other things, our results of operations, financial condition, capital and liquidity requirements, prospects, growth, strategies and the industry in which we operate.
There are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by such forward-looking statements. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that may or may not occur in the future. We believe that these risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those described in the section captioned "Risk Factors" that appear in Item 3.D. "Risk Factors" of this annual report. These factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read with the other cautionary statements in this annual report.
Although we base these forward-looking statements on assumptions that we believe are reasonable when made, we caution you that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and that our actual results of operations, financial condition and liquidity, and the development of the industry in which we operate may differ materially from those made in or suggested by the forward-looking statements contained in this report. In addition, even if our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity, and the development of the industry in which we operate, are consistent with the forward-looking statements contained in this report, those results or developments may not be indicative of results or developments in subsequent periods.
Given these risks and uncertainties, you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statement that we make in this report speaks only as of the date of such statement. Except to the extent required by applicable law, we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements or to publicly announce the results of any revisions to any of those statements to reflect future events or developments. Comparisons of results for current and any prior periods are not intended to express any future trends or indications of future performance, unless specifically expressed as such, and should only be viewed as historical data.

IMPLICATIONS OF BEING A FOREIGN PRIVATE ISSUER

We are a foreign private issuer, and so long as we qualify as a foreign private issuer under the Exchange Act, we will be exempt from certain provisions of the Exchange Act that are applicable to US domestic public companies, including:
the sections of the Exchange Act regulating the solicitation of proxies, consents or authorizations in respect of a security registered under the Exchange Act;
the sections of the Exchange Act requiring insiders to file public reports of their share ownership and trading activities and liability for insiders who profit from trades made in a short period of time;
the rules under the Exchange Act requiring the filing with the SEC of quarterly reports on Form 10‑Q containing unaudited financial and other specified information, or current reports on Form 8‑K, upon the occurrence of specified significant events; and
Regulation FD, which regulates selective disclosures of material information by issuers.
We are, however, required to file an annual report on Form 20‑F within four months of the end of each fiscal year. In addition, we have published and intend to continue to publish our results on a quarterly basis through press releases, distributed pursuant to the rules and regulations of the New York Stock Exchange. Press releases related to financial results and material events have been and will continue to be furnished to the SEC on Form 6‑K. However, the information we are required to file with or furnish to the SEC is less extensive and less timely compared to that required to be filed with the SEC by US domestic issuers. As a result, you may not be afforded the same protections or information that would be made available to you were you investing in a US domestic issuer.

ENFORCEMENT OF CIVIL LIABILITIES

The Bank is incorporated under the laws of Bermuda. As a result, the rights of holders of the Bank’s common shares will be governed by Bermuda law, the Butterfield Act and the Bank’s bye-laws. The rights of shareholders under Bermuda law may differ from the rights of shareholders of companies incorporated in other jurisdictions. Some of our directors and some of the named experts referred to in this annual report are not residents of the United States, and a substantial portion of our assets are located outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult for investors to effect service of process on those persons in the United States or to enforce in the United States judgments obtained in US courts against us or those persons based on the civil liability provisions of the US federal securities laws. However, we may be served with process in the United States with respect to actions against us arising out of or in connection with violations of US federal securities laws relating to offers and sales of common shares made hereby by serving C T Corporation System, 28 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10005, our US agent irrevocably appointed for that purpose.

It is doubtful whether courts in Bermuda will enforce judgments obtained in other jurisdictions, including the United States, against us or our directors or officers under the securities laws of those jurisdictions, or entertain actions in Bermuda against us or our directors or officers under the securities laws of other jurisdictions.


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PART 1

ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

Not applicable

ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE
Not applicable

ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION
A.[Reserved]

B. Capitalization and Indebtedness

Not applicable

C. Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

Not applicable

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D. Risk Factors

The material risks and uncertainties that management believes affect us are described below. Any of the following risks, as well as risks that we do not know of or currently deem immaterial, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. Further, the risk factors below include cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements made by us or on our behalf. See "Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements."
Risks Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has created economic and financial disruptions that have adversely affected, and are likely to continue to adversely affect, our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations. The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to negatively affect our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including the scope and duration of the pandemic and the emergence of new variants, the continued effectiveness of our business continuity plan (including remote working arrangements implemented for staff), the direct and indirect impact of the pandemic on our employees, customers, clients, counterparties and service providers, as well as other market participants, actions taken by governmental authorities and other third parties in response to the pandemic, and the effectiveness and acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines.
The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to, among other things, (i) sudden and significant declines, and significant increases in volatility, in global financial markets; (ii) ratings downgrades, credit deterioration and defaults of companies operating in many industries; (iii) significant reductions in interest rates implemented by the US Federal Reserve and other central banks further contributing to a low interest rate environment globally; and (iv) heightened cybersecurity, data privacy, information security and operational risks as a result of remote working arrangements or otherwise. In addition, many of our customers, counterparties and third-party service providers have been, and may further be, affected by travel restrictions, quarantines and/or curfews in various jurisdictions, market volatility and other factors that increase their risks of business disruption or that may otherwise affect their ability to repay loans, perform under the terms of any agreements with us or provide other essential services. As a result, our credit, operational and other risks are generally expected to increase until the pandemic subsides.

We continue to monitor the sectors that are most susceptible to economic uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential impact to our business. The continuing implications of the pandemic on our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations will depend on factors such as, but not limited to, the following:

The duration and scope of the pandemic.

The efficacy of vaccines and other actions taken to contain COVID-19 and its variants.

The continuation of a low interest rate environment, or further reductions in interest rates, over the medium or long term, which would adversely impact our net interest income and net interest margin, as well as increase our reliance on fee businesses.

A slow or incomplete recovery of tourism in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, which would adversely affect our revenues, including fee income, as well as increase our credit exposure.

Increased unemployment and decreased business in the jurisdictions in which we operate.

An increase in defaults on our residential mortgage loans.

Ratings downgrades, credit deterioration and defaults in many industries, including the hotel/restaurants/hospitality sector, financial services and commercial real estate.

Further decreases in the rates and yields on US Government guaranteed securities and increased pre-payments in mortgage backed securities we hold, which may lead to further decreases in the yield on our investment portfolio.

Heightened cybersecurity, information security and operational risks as a result of remote working arrangements implemented for staff or otherwise.

Government and regulatory scrutiny on market and economic conditions or actions governmental authorities take in response to the pandemic.

Governmental authorities have taken measures in response to the pandemic, and may take further action in the future to provide economic assistance to individual households and businesses, stabilize the markets and support economic growth. The success of existing and future measures to provide economic assistance and increase the pace and magnitude of economic recovery is unknown, and they may not be sufficient to fully mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The duration and scope of the pandemic and related economic consequences, as well as the efficacy of the measures being put in place to address it, are unknown. Until the pandemic subsides, we expect reduced interest income and revenues from card service fees, and increased customer and client loan defaults, including defaults in unsecured loans. Changes in the macroeconomic environment are extremely impactful to our provision for credit losses under CECL, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even after the pandemic subsides, our businesses would be materially and adversely affected by any subsequent, prolonged recession in the jurisdictions in which we have banking and trust operations. To the extent the pandemic adversely affects our business, financial condition, liquidity or results of operations, it may also have the effect of heightening many of the other risks set out herein.

Risks Relating to the Markets in Which We Operate
Adverse economic and market conditions in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Channel Islands and the UK, and other markets in which we operate, have in the past resulted in and could in the future result in lower revenue, lower asset quality, increased provisions and lower earnings.
Our financial performance generally, and in particular the ability of our borrowers to pay interest and repay principal on outstanding loans and the value for the collateral securing those loans, as well as demand for loans and other products and services we offer and whose success we rely on to drive our future growth, are highly dependent upon the business environment in the markets in which we operate. A downturn in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and the Channel Islands and the UK can have a profound impact on our business performance. Some elements of the business environment that affect our financial performance include short-term and long-term interest rates, any downgrade in sovereign credit ratings to which our credit ratings are correlated, the prevailing yield curve, inflation and price levels, monetary policy, regulatory or legal changes (including changes in tax laws) or changes in enforcement thereof, unemployment rates, investor or business confidence, natural or man-made disasters, the strength of the local economy
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in the markets in which we operate, or a combination of these or other factors.

Unfavorable market conditions (including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic) can result in a deterioration in the credit quality of our borrowers and the demand for our products and services, an increase in the number of loan delinquencies, defaults and charge-offs, additional provisions for loan losses, decreases in asset values, deterioration in investment performance and an overall material adverse effect on the quality of our loan portfolio.
Unlike banks that are more geographically diversified, our business is concentrated primarily in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and the Channel Islands and the UK, and we may be more affected by a downturn in these markets than more diversified competitors.
Our banking operations are concentrated in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and the Channel Islands and the UK, and we serve customers in these markets. In the year ended December 31, 2021, 45%, 29% and 20%, of our total net revenue was derived from our Bermuda, Cayman Islands, and Channel Islands and UK segments, respectively. In addition, in the year ended December 31, 2021, 39%, 20% and 39%, of our loans originated in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and Channel Islands and the UK, respectively. Accordingly, a downturn in these markets may have a profound effect on our banking business. In addition, we have sought to expand our core business lines, including through recent acquisitions. Any failure in our ability to expand our core business lines, or any reduction in demand for our core services in our Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Channel Islands and UK segments, including due to perceived reputational risks, increasing regulatory scrutiny over activities in these jurisdictions or otherwise, may adversely impact our business and results of operations, including the ongoing success of any of our acquired businesses.
Geopolitical events could disrupt our businesses and adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations.
We are exposed to risks arising out of geopolitical events, such as trade barriers, including the imposition of tariffs and other limitations on international trade and travel, exchange controls, government shutdowns, other measures taken by sovereign governments, including by the US, and uncertainty arising from recent or upcoming elections that can hinder economic or financial activity levels. Furthermore, unfavorable political, military or diplomatic events, armed conflict, terrorist acts and threats, and pandemics, and the responses to them by governments, could also negatively affect economic activity and have an adverse effect upon our business, financial condition or results of operations.
In addition the UK formally leaving the EU (“Brexit”) and the US's present and future policies may increase the uncertainty and instability in the global financial markets, which could lead to weaker macroeconomic conditions, globally and in our key markets. Such economic weakness and uncertainty may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Political and economic uncertainty has in the past led to, and could in the future lead to, declines in market liquidity and activity levels, volatile market conditions and exchange rates, a contraction of available credit, lower or negative interest rates, declines in the real estate market, weaker economic growth and investment performance and reduced business confidence, all of which could impact our business. The post-Brexit relationship between the UK and the EU continues to evolve, which could cause disruptions to and create uncertainty surrounding our business. Further, any continuing legal or economic disruptions resulting from Brexit may negatively impact our operations in the UK and certain UK territories and dependencies, namely Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and the Channel Islands. It may also be time-consuming and expensive for us to alter our internal operations in order to comply with new regulations.
Furthermore, changes in legislation and regulation or an attempt by any territory or dependency of the UK in which we operate to declare independence from the UK or to implement changes in its constitution, including its fiscal and monetary policies, could have a negative effect on the applicable jurisdiction's position as an international business center. This could have a significant negative effect on the local economy and in turn negatively affect our business.
Because the primary markets in which we operate do not have well-diversified economies, a downturn in their key industries could affect their economies as a whole and have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Bermuda is among the largest reinsurance markets in the world. The Cayman Islands is a leader in fund domiciliation for global asset managers, with 12,719 regulated mutual funds as at December 31, 2021 according to CIMA. International financial services account for a significant portion of the economies of the Channel Islands. Many of our commercial customers are reinsurance or regulated fund service providers. As a result, a downturn in these key sectors, a change in laws or regulations (including the favorable tax treatment of entities in these jurisdictions), or a shift of business away from Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, or the Channel Islands, including as a result of the inclusion of any of these jurisdictions on the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes or the implementation of the global minimum tax regime proposed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ("OECD") in any of these jurisdictions, could result in job losses and adversely impact the economies in these markets. Any downturn or further concentration in the reinsurance, investment and asset management and banking markets could also adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Banks domiciled in Bermuda, including us, are not supported by a central bank from which to borrow funds, so if we are unable to maintain sufficient liquidity by continuously attracting deposits and other short-term funding, our financial condition, including our capital ratios, funding costs or results of operations could be adversely affected.
Unlike many other jurisdictions, there is no central bank or similar governmental agency in Bermuda from which we may borrow US or Bermuda Dollars if we experience liquidity shortages, which may leave us without a lender of last resort in the event that Bermuda suffers a severe economic downturn at the same time as a liquidity shortage. Similarly, there is no central bank in the Cayman Islands, Jersey or Guernsey to act as a lender of last resort. Accordingly, we may not have a lender of last resort in case of future liquidity shortages and we may be unable to sufficiently fund our liquidity needs. While there is no central bank or similar governmental agency in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Jersey or Guernsey that insures bank deposits, such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in the United States, the Governments of Bermuda and Jersey and the Government of the States of Guernsey have each implemented a Deposit Insurance Scheme or Deposit Compensation Scheme. See Item 4.B. "Business Overview - Supervision and Regulation" and "- Certain jurisdictions in which we operate, including Bermuda, Guernsey and Jersey, have a Deposit Insurance Scheme or Deposit Compensation Scheme and we incur ongoing costs as a result.” The regulators in these jurisdictions have also required us to hold capital add-ons to compensate for the systemic importance of our bank to the economy in the absence of a central bank. Without a central bank from which we could borrow funds, liquidity management will be critical to the management of our consolidated balance sheet, and an inability to obtain sufficient liquidity could adversely affect our financial condition.
Certain jurisdictions in which we operate, including Bermuda, Guernsey and Jersey, have a Deposit Insurance Scheme or Deposit Compensation Scheme and we incur ongoing costs as a result.
As a bank licensed by the BMA, we are required to be a member of the Deposit Insurance Scheme ("DIS") and pay contributions to the Deposit Insurance Fund. Currently, our premium contribution is calculated by the Bermuda Deposit Insurance Corporation as 0.25% per annum of the average total amount of our Bermuda Dollar deposits that are covered by the DIS guarantee over a rolling three-month period, payable every three months in arrears. The amount of the contribution we are liable to pay may change from time to time as the total level of our insured Bermuda Dollar deposits changes; in addition, there is no guarantee that the current rate of premium contributions charged by the Bermuda Deposit Insurance Corporation will stay the same and not increase or that the Bermuda Deposit Insurance Corporation will not require additional contributions in the event that the Deposit Insurance Fund is insufficient to pay compensation due to insured depositors. We may also not be able to recover our contributions to the Deposit Insurance Fund from any failed institution whose insured depositors receive payments from the Deposit Insurance Fund. Any contributions we are required to make as part of the DIS (and any associated costs) are a cost to our business, and such costs, including any future increases, may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
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As a bank licensed by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, we are required to pay contributions to the Guernsey Deposit Compensation Scheme (the "Guernsey DCS"). Currently, we are required to pay an administration levy which is calculated by the Guernsey DCS Board. The amount of the contribution we are liable to pay may change from time to time and there is no guarantee that the current rate charged by the Guernsey DCS Board will stay the same and not increase. In the event of the failure of a Guernsey licensed bank, the Guernsey DCS Board will estimate the total level of compensation levy required and the Bank will be liable in equal shares with every other participant (i.e., every other licensed bank in Guernsey) for the first £10,000,000. If the total compensation levy exceeds £10,000,000, then the Bank will be liable on a pro-rata basis (calculated by reference to the total "value at risk" of our Guernsey deposits compared to the Guernsey market) with every other participant for the amount of such excess. We may also not be able to recover our contributions to the Guernsey DCS from any failed licensed bank whose insured depositors receive payments from the Guernsey DCS. Any contributions we are required to make as part of the Guernsey DCS (and any associated costs) are a cost to our business, and such costs, including any future increases, may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
The Jersey Bank Depositors Compensation Scheme ("Jersey DCS") is funded primarily through an upfront loan from the States of Jersey. In the event of a bank failing, levies would be raised on Jersey banks, subject to certain caps for banking groups over a five-year period, based on the proportion of protected deposits each bank holds to repay the loan. In the event that the full £100 million liability of the Jersey DCS was called upon, banks would contribute approximately two-thirds of funding, with the States of Jersey contributing one-third.
We are not currently required to pay any contributions to the Jersey DCS. Any contributions we may be required in future to make as part of the Jersey DCS (and any associated costs) are a cost to our business, and such costs, including any future increases, may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
A decline in tourism in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands has, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and could in the future, adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Tourism is a major contributor to the economies of Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a significant decline in worldwide travel and tourism, including in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. See "Risks Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
A delayed or incomplete recovery of tourism in Bermuda or the Cayman Islands could have adverse effects on the economic stability of these jurisdictions, and our business, financial condition or results of operations. In addition, a continued decline in tourism could lead to further (i) decreases in the value of hotels and other commercial properties, which could further adversely affect our commercial loan portfolio, and (ii) increases in unemployment, which could further affect the ability of our residential borrowers to make payments on their loans.
Severe weather, natural disasters and potential impacts of climate change could disrupt our businesses and adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations.
The key markets in which we operate include Bermuda and the Cayman Islands and our business is therefore subject to the risks associated with severe tropical storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and rising sea levels, including downed telephone lines, flooded facilities, power outages, fuel shortages, damaged or destroyed property and equipment, and work interruptions. Although hurricanes in the Caribbean during 2019, 2020 and 2021 did not negatively impact the Bank's operations or cause any insurable losses, such severe weather conditions and natural disasters may, in the future, negatively impact us and our clients and their ability to meet their financial obligations to us, including the repayment of loans. Such events may also result in an impairment of the value of property or other collateral used to secure the loans that we extend. Climate change will likely aggravate the impact and increase the incidence of such severe weather conditions and natural disasters. Furthermore, severe weather events may have a significant impact on the economies of the key markets in which we operate, which could have a material adverse impact on our operations.
We cannot predict whether we will continue to be able to obtain insurance for hazard-related damages to our premises or, if obtainable and carried, whether this insurance will be adequate to cover our losses. Moreover, we expect any insurance of this nature to be subject to substantial deductibles and to provide for premium adjustments based on claims, and we do not carry insurance against all types of losses. For all these reasons, any future hazard-related costs and work interruptions could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
The majority of the markets in which we operate do not have systemic credit bureau reports.
Unlike the US where the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") is designed to help ensure that credit bureaus furnish correct and complete information when evaluating loan applications, the majority of the markets in which we operate do not have systemic credit bureau reports. Therefore, we review each loan and we use a formal and documented tiered credit approval process that is administered through and governed by our risk management framework. Due to limitations in the availability of information, our assessment of credit risk associated with a particular customer may not be based on complete, accurate or reliable information. In addition, although we have made and continue to make improvements to our credit scoring systems to better assess borrowers' credit risk profiles, we cannot provide assurance that our credit scoring systems collect complete or accurate information reflecting the actual behavior of customers or that their credit risk can be assessed correctly. Without complete, accurate and reliable information, we have to rely on other publicly available resources and our internal resources, which may not be effective. As a result, our ability to effectively manage our credit risk and subsequently our impairment losses and allowance for credit losses may be materially adversely affected. In addition, because our credit approval process involves detailed analyses of the customer or credit risk, taking into account both quantitative and qualitative factors, it is subject to human or information technology systems errors. In exercising their judgment on current or future credit risk behavior of our customers, our employees may not always be able to assign an accurate credit rating, which may result in our exposure to higher credit risks than indicated by our risk rating system. In addition, we have been refining our credit policies and guidelines to address potential risks associated with particular industries or types of customers. However, we may not be able to timely detect all possible risks before they occur, or due to limited tools available to us, our employees may not be able to effectively implement them, which may increase our credit risk. Failure to effectively implement, consistently follow or continuously refine our credit risk management system may result in an increase in the level of nonperforming loans and a higher risk exposure for us, which could have a material adverse effect on us.
Risks Relating to Our Strategy, Brand, Portfolio and Other Aspects of Our Business
We rely on our reputation and the appeal of our brand to our customers. Any damage to our reputation and appeal could harm us and our business prospects.
The success of our strategy relies significantly on our reputation and the reputation of our senior management and the Board. In addition, our customers and key introducers must continue to associate our brand with meeting customer needs and delivering value to those customers. Adverse publicity (whether or not justified) relating to activities by our management, employees, agents or others with whom we do business, such as customer service mishaps or noncompliance with laws, could tarnish our reputation and reduce the value of our brand. With the increase in the use of social media outlets, adverse publicity can be disseminated quickly and broadly, making it increasingly difficult for us to effectively respond. Such unfavorable publicity could also require us to allocate significant resources to rebuild our reputation.
As a bank operating in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Channel Islands and other international financial centers, we are subject to increasing scrutiny with respect to potential or alleged legal and regulatory breaches and unethical behavior and associated reputational risks, including with respect to the general perception and reputation of financial institutions in those jurisdictions, which may in turn be affected by factors including the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, and policies on
6


controversial industries such as gaming and cryptocurrencies, among others. See "Our business may be negatively impacted by the economic substance legislation and regulations in the jurisdictions in which we operate, including Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and the Channel Islands." Any circumstance that causes real or perceived damage to our brand or reputation, or banking or wealth management generally in these jurisdictions, may negatively affect our relationships with our customers and key introducers, which would have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Potential reputational issues include, but are not limited to:
breaching or facing allegations of having breached legal and regulatory requirements (including, but not limited to, conduct requirements, anti-money laundering requirements, anti-terrorism financing requirements, laws against assisting in tax evasion, cybersecurity and data protection laws, bribery and corruption);
legacy issues we inherit from the businesses we acquire through a merger or acquisition;
acting or facing allegations of having acted unethically (including having adopted inappropriate sales and trading practices);
failing or facing allegations of having failed to maintain appropriate standards of customer privacy, customer service and record-keeping;
failing to appropriately address potential conflicts of interest;
experiencing technology failures that impact customer services and accounts;
failing to properly identify legal, reputational, credit, liquidity and market risks inherent in products offered; and
changing the terms of our product offerings and pricing that may result in outcomes for customers that are unfair or perceived to be unfair.
A failure to address the above or any other relevant issues appropriately could make customers unwilling to do business with us, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations and could damage our relationships with our employees and regulators.
We could be negatively affected if the soundness of other financial institutions and counterparties deteriorates or if such counterparties, including clearing houses, are unwilling to do business with us, in particular in respect of US Dollar transactions.
Given the high level of interdependence between financial institutions, we are and will continue to be subject to the risk of actual or perceived deterioration in the commercial and financial soundness of other financial services institutions. Within the financial services industry, the default by any one institution could lead to defaults by other institutions. Concerns about, or a default by, one institution could lead to significant liquidity problems, losses or defaults by other institutions, because the commercial and financial soundness of many financial institutions may be closely related as a result of their credit, trading, clearing or other relationships. Even the perceived lack of creditworthiness of, or questions about, a financial institution may lead to market-wide liquidity problems and losses or defaults by us or by other institutions. This risk is sometimes referred to as "systemic risk" or "contagion" and may adversely affect financial intermediaries, such as clearing agencies, clearing houses and banks with whom we interact on a daily basis. In particular, BNYM and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. ("Wells Fargo") act as clearing houses for all our US Dollar transactions. If BNYM's or Wells Fargo's ability to act as our clearing houses becomes impaired or BNYM or Wells Fargo cease to act as our clearing houses for any other reason and other financial institutions are not willing to provide the services currently provided to us by BNYM and Wells Fargo, we could lose our ability to engage in US Dollar transactions, which could lead to severe disruptions in our operations and adversely impact our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Our strategy includes expansion of our business through acquisitions of, or investments in, other companies or new products and services, but we may not be able to achieve regulatory approval for such transactions or be able to achieve the anticipated cost savings, growth opportunities and other benefits anticipated from such transactions.
We seek to grow both organically and through acquisitions. In the past several years, we have made various acquisitions and investments intended to complement and expand our businesses, including our July 2019 acquisition of ABN AMRO (Channel Islands) Limited, our February 2018 agreement with Deutsche Bank to refer Deutsche Bank's clients from their banking and custody business in the Cayman and Channel Islands to us, and our March 2018 acquisition of Deutsche Bank’s GTS business, excluding its US operations. Our long-term growth strategy includes identifying and effecting selective acquisitions in our core geographies, but we cannot be sure that we will be able to continue to identify suitable acquisition candidates or investment opportunities. Even if we identify suitable targets, there can be no assurance that we will be able to obtain the necessary funding on acceptable terms, if at all, to finance any of those potential acquisitions or investments.
We may also be required to obtain regulatory approval (including from the BMA) prior to any potential acquisition or investment depending on the transaction and the laws and regulations of the target’s country of incorporation (for example, from the Guernsey Financial Services Commission in respect of the acquisition of ABN AMRO (Channel Islands) Limited). Regulators consider a number of factors when determining whether to approve a proposed transaction, and we may have difficulty obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals, government permits or licenses required for such acquisitions. We may fail to pursue, evaluate or complete strategic and competitively significant business opportunities as a result of our inability, or our perceived inability, to obtain any required regulatory approvals in a timely manner or at all.
Even where we are able to complete an acquisition or an investment, we cannot be sure that such acquired entity, business or asset or such investment will perform in line with our assumptions or expectations or otherwise complement our business or strategy due to a variety of factors, including lower revenues than expected, unforeseen operating difficulties and expenditures, customer loss and business disruption (including, without limitation, difficulties in maintaining relationships with employees, customers, clients or suppliers) and risks associated with the disruption of management’s attention from ongoing business operations due to acquisition and integration activities.
In addition, integrating an acquired company, business or technology possesses significant risks, including, among other things:
the incorporation of new technologies into our existing business infrastructure;
the maintenance of standards, controls, procedures and policies throughout the organization (including effective internal controls over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures);
the consolidation of our corporate or administrative functions;
the coordination of our sales and marketing functions to incorporate the new business or technology;
the potential for liabilities and claims arising out of the acquired businesses;
the integration of corporate cultures;
the maintenance of morale, retention and integration of key employees to support the new business or technology and management of our expansion in capacity; and
compliance with the regulatory regimes of newly entered jurisdictions.
In addition, a significant portion of the purchase price of companies that we may acquire may be allocated to goodwill and other intangible assets. Intangible assets are tested for impairment annually or when there is a triggering event requiring such testing; an intangible asset that is subject to amortization is periodically reviewed for impairment.
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Goodwill is tested for impairment on an annual basis. As at December 31, 2021, we had $25.4 million and $60.8 million of goodwill and intangible assets, respectively. In the future, if our acquisitions do not yield expected returns or there are changes in discount rates, we may be required to take additional charges to our earnings based on the impairment assessment process, which could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
A decline in the residential real estate market, including in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Channel Islands and the United Kingdom, could increase the risk of loans being impaired and could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
We are exposed to the risk that our borrowers may not repay their loans according to their contractual terms and that the collateral securing the payment of these loans may be insufficient. As at December 31, 2021, approximately 53% of our Bermuda loan portfolio, net of allowance for credit losses, was composed of residential mortgages in Bermuda; approximately 68% of our Cayman Islands loan portfolio, net of allowance for credit losses, was composed of residential mortgages in the Cayman Islands and approximately 84% of our Channel Islands and UK loan portfolio, net of allowance for credit losses, was composed of residential mortgages in the Channel Islands and the UK. A decline in the real estate market, in particular in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Channel Islands and the UK (including as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic), would mean that the collateral for our loans would hold less value. As a result, our ability to recover on defaulted loans by selling the underlying real estate would be diminished, and we would be more likely to suffer losses on the defaulted loans. Declines in the real estate market, including as a result of lower infrastructure spending in the markets in which we operate, could also adversely affect demand for new loans, further decreasing the interest revenue generated by our loan portfolio. In addition, if our estimate for our allowance for credit losses proves to be inadequate, we will have to increase the allowance accordingly and may have future charge-offs. This may lead to impairment charges on loans and other assets, higher costs and higher incurred loan-loss provisions.
The risk of loan impairment may be compounded by the fact that there is limited economic and statistical data regarding the Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and the Channel Islands real estate markets. Although reliable and comprehensive economic and statistical data is available for certain real estate markets, such as the Case-Schiller Home Price Index in the United States, there is no comparable statistical data or mechanism to value the overall real estate market in all our markets. This lack of information makes it difficult to assess the market value of real estate in these markets, and requires us to rely on observations of the valuation of our own real estate originations in order to assess whether the value of mortgaged real estate has declined. See "- The appraisals and other valuation techniques we use in evaluating and monitoring loans secured by real property may not accurately describe the net value of the collateral that we can realize." Any of the above factors could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
The value of the securities in our investment portfolio may decline in the future.
As at December 31, 2021, we owned $6.2 billion of investment securities consisting primarily of securities issued by the US government and US governmental agencies. In 2021, our investment portfolio had an average yield of 1.79%.
The fair value of our investment securities may be adversely affected by market conditions, including changes in interest rates, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the occurrence of any events adversely affecting the issuer of particular securities in our investment portfolio. We perform periodic reviews to determine if a credit impairment exists. Our Group Asset and Liability Committee reviews the results of the impairment analysis and advises whether a credit impairment exists. The process for determining whether a credit impairment exists usually requires complex, subjective judgments about the future financial performance of the issuer of the relevant security in order to assess the probability of receiving all contractual principal and interest payments on the security.
We did not record any credit impairment losses on investments in the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019. We may be required to recognize credit impairments in the future periods, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial conditions or results of operations. See "- If we are unable to effectively manage our liquidity we may need to seek additional financing and our business, financial condition or results of operations could be adversely affected."
Fluctuations in interest rates and inflation may negatively impact our net interest margin and our profitability.
Net interest income is a significant component of our revenues and changes in prevailing interest rates may adversely affect our business, including the level of net interest income we earn, and for our banking business, the levels of deposits and the demand for loans.
If interest rates increase, our net interest income would narrow if our cost of funding increased without a correlative increase in the interest we earn from loans and investments. Because we rely extensively on deposits to fund our operations, our cost of funding would increase if there is an increase in the interest rate we are required to pay our customers to retain their deposits. This could occur, for instance, if we are faced with competitive or regulatory pressures to increase rates on deposits. In addition, our cost of funding would increase if the interest rates we are required to pay for other sources of funding increase. Moreover, increases in interest rates may decrease customer demand for loans as the higher cost of obtaining credit may deter customers from seeking new loans. Further, higher interest rates might also lead to an increased number of delinquent loans and defaults, which would affect the value of our loans.
Changes in interest rates may negatively affect the value of our assets and our ability to realize gains or avoid losses from the sale of those assets, all of which also ultimately affect earnings and capital, as well as our regulatory solvency position. A sustained increase in the inflation rate in our key markets may also have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. For example, a sustained increase in the inflation rate may result in an increase in nominal market interest rates. A failure to accurately anticipate higher inflation and factor it into our product-pricing assumptions may result in mispricing of our products, which could adversely affect our business, financial position or results of operations. On the other hand, recent concerns regarding negative interest rates and the low level of interest rates generally may negatively impact our net interest income, which may have an adverse impact on our profitability.
Our loan and investment portfolios are subject to risk of prepayment, which could have a material adverse effect on us.
Our fixed rate loan and investment portfolios are subject to prepayment risk, which results from the ability of a borrower or issuer to pay a debt obligation prior to maturity. Generally, in a low interest rate environment, prepayment activity increases, which reduces the weighted average lives of our earning assets and could have a material adverse effect on us. For example, recent decreases in global market interest rates and increased prepayment speeds resulted in lower yields on the Bank's investments. Prepayments also require us to recognize net premiums or commissions as income over a shorter period of time, thereby reducing the corresponding asset yield and net interest income. Prepayment risk also has a significant adverse impact on credit card and collateralized mortgage loans, since prepayments could shorten the weighted average life of these assets, which may result in a mismatch in our funding obligations and reinvestment at lower yields. Prepayment risk is inherent to our commercial activity and an increase in prepayments could have a material adverse effect on us.
Volatility levels and fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates may affect our business, financial position and results of operations.
We are exposed to foreign currency risk as a result of our holdings of foreign currency denominated assets and liabilities, investment in foreign subsidiaries, and future foreign currency denominated revenue and expense. Fluctuations in exchange rates may raise the potential for losses resulting from foreign currency trading positions, where aggregate obligations to purchase and sell a foreign currency do not offset each other or offset each other in different time periods. Exchange rate volatility may have negative impacts on our business, financial position and results of operations.
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We also provide foreign exchange services to our clients, including trading on behalf of clients in all major currencies and providing hedging solutions to manage foreign exchange risk. Foreign currency volatility influences the level of client activity. Changes in client activity may result in reduced foreign exchange trading income.
In addition, the Bermuda Dollar and the Cayman Islands Dollar are pegged to the US Dollar at exchange rates of 1 Bermuda Dollar to 1 US Dollar and 1 Cayman Islands Dollar to 1.20 US Dollar, respectively. However, we cannot make assurances that these pegs will be maintained. In the event that the Bermuda Dollar or Cayman Islands Dollar is de-pegged or the current ratios are changed, including as a result of changes in laws, regulations or policies in these jurisdictions, the value of our common shares could be adversely affected. Moreover, our US Dollar deposits are used to fund mortgages in Bermuda Dollars and Cayman Islands Dollars. As the Bermuda Dollar and the Cayman Islands Dollar are pegged to the US Dollar, we do not engage in hedging activities to counteract this currency risk. If the Bermuda Dollar or Cayman Islands Dollar ceased to be pegged to the US Dollar at the current ratios, however, we could be exposed to significant currency risks.
If we are unable to effectively manage our liquidity we may need to seek additional financing and our business, financial condition or results of operations could be adversely affected.
We need liquidity to pay our operating expenses, fund depositor withdrawals, interest on our debt and dividends on our common shares, and to replace certain maturing liabilities. Without sufficient liquidity, we will be forced to curtail our operations and our business will suffer.
Our main source of funding is customer deposits. As at December 31, 2021, we had $13.9 billion in deposits (55% USD deposits, 18% USD-pegged deposits), with 33% of our deposits derived from our Bermuda segment, 33% from the Cayman Islands segment, and 34% from the Channel Islands segment. In addition, we source our funding from net income generated by the Bank, net of dividends paid, and to a lesser extent from other sources including the sale of securities to institutional counterparties under repurchase agreements and the sale of equity securities and AFS securities. Our deposit base includes both demand and term liabilities, but the significant majority of such deposits are demand deposits or are due within six months. Because we rely primarily on short-term deposits for funding, a sudden or unexpected shortage of funds in the banking systems in which we operate may prevent us from obtaining necessary funding without incurring higher costs. Our deposit base includes deposits from commercial and institutional clients which may be more sensitive to financial strength rating changes. A significant withdrawal of deposits in either of these markets could significantly affect our liquidity and our ability to meet our funding needs.
In addition, as a bank with subsidiaries located in various jurisdictions, the Bank’s access to inter-company funds can be restricted because our regulated banking subsidiaries are required to maintain certain liquidity ratios or minimum levels of capital in accordance with the laws of the jurisdictions in which they operate or otherwise. The necessity of maintaining these ratios or levels of capital or other liquidity considerations could restrict the ability of these subsidiaries to transfer funds to us, in the form of cash dividends, loans or advances.
In the event that our current resources do not satisfy our needs, we may need to seek additional financing. The availability of additional financing will depend on a variety of factors, such as market conditions, the general availability of credit, the volume of trading activities, the overall availability of credit to the financial services industry, our credit ratings and credit capacity, as well as the possibility that customers or lenders could develop a negative perception of our long- or short-term financial prospects, including as a result of economic uncertainty or any downgrade in sovereign credit ratings in key markets in which we operate.
Changes in banks’ inter-bank lending rate reporting practices and the phase-out of the London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") may adversely affect our business and results of operations.
For several years, global regulators and central banks have been pursuing international efforts to reform interest rate benchmarks, such as the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”). In July 2017, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), which regulates LIBOR, announced that the FCA will no longer persuade or compel banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. On March 5, 2021, the FCA and ICE Benchmark Administration, the authorized and regulated administrator of LIBOR, announced that all the GBP, CHF, JPY, EUR LIBOR settings and the one-week and two-month USD LIBOR settings will cease after December 31, 2021, and the remaining USD LIBOR settings will cease after June 30, 2023.
Uncertainty as to the nature of potential changes, alternative reference rates or other reforms may adversely affect market liquidity, the pricing of LIBOR-based instruments and the availability and cost of associated hedging instruments and borrowings. Payments under contracts referencing new reference rates may differ from those referencing LIBOR. The transition may change the Bank’s risk profile and require changes to its risk and pricing models, valuation tools, product design and hedging strategies. Although the Bank is unable to quantify the ultimate impact of the transition from LIBOR given the uncertain nature of the potential changes, it continues to monitor the developments related to the future of LIBOR in line with any regulatory or quasi-regulatory guidance. Moreover, the failure to manage any potential transition from LIBOR to a different reference rate, or rates, may adversely affect the Bank’s reputation, business and financial condition, and results of operations.
We face competition in all aspects of our business, and may not be able to attract and retain wealth management, trust and banking clients at current levels.
We compete with a broad range of financial institutions. Many of our competitors are larger and have broader ranges of product and service offerings, increased access to capital, greater efficiency and pricing power. We face competition from other lending institutions and from numerous other providers of financial services, including the following:
Non-banking financial institutions. The ability of these institutions to offer services previously limited to commercial banks has intensified competition. Because non-banking financial institutions are not subject to the same regulatory restrictions as banks, they can often operate with greater flexibility and lower cost structures; and
Competitors that have greater financial resources. Some of our larger competitors, including certain international banks that have a significant presence in our market area, may have greater capital and resources and higher lending limits and may offer products, services and technology that we do not. We cannot predict the reaction of our customers and other third parties with respect to our financial or commercial strength relative to our competition, including our larger competitors.
In our banking business, we face competition mainly from other local banks, such as Bermuda Commercial Bank and Clarien Bank in Bermuda and from Cayman National Corporation in the Cayman Islands, as well as from subsidiaries of international banks, being Royal Bank of Canada in the Cayman Islands and HSBC in Bermuda, whom we view as our most significant competitors. In our wealth management business line, we face competition from local competitors, as well as much larger financial institutions, including financial institutions that are not based in the markets in which we operate. Revenues from the trust and wealth management business depend in large part on the level of AUA.
In our trust business, we face competition primarily from other specialized trust service providers. Many of our competitors in the international financial sector offer fund administration and corporate services work alongside private client fiduciary services.
Our ability to successfully attract and retain trust, wealth management and banking clients is dependent upon our ability to compete with competitors' investment products, retail products and services, level of investment performance, client services and marketing and distribution capabilities. If we are not successful, our business, financial condition or results of operations may be adversely affected.
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The Bank's credit ratings have a direct effect on its competitive position, and declines in the Bank's ratings would increase the cost of borrowing funds and make our ability to raise new funds, attract and retain deposits or renew maturing debt more difficult, which may negatively affect long-term and short-term funding.
The Bank's credit strength ratings are an important component of its liquidity profile and competitive position. Ratings show each agency's view of our financial strength, operating performance and ability to meet debt obligations as they become due. Nationally recognized statistical rating organizations ("NRSROs") periodically review the financial performance and condition of banks and may downgrade or change the outlook on a bank's ratings due to, for example: a change in a bank's regulatory capital ratios; a change in an NRSRO's determination of the amount of capital cushion required to maintain a particular rating; an increase in the perceived risk of a bank's investment portfolio; reduced confidence in management; or other considerations that may or may not be under our control. The Bank has credit ratings from Standard & Poor's ("S&P"), Moody's Investor Service ("Moody's") and Kroll Bond Rating Agency ("KBRA"). Each of the rating agencies reviews its ratings and rating methodologies on a recurring basis and may decide on a downgrade at any time. The Bank's ratings as at December 31, 2021 are shown in the table below:
 Ratings
 KBRAMoody'sS&P
Long-term issuerA+A3BBB+
Short-term issuerK1P-2A-2
Subordinated debtA3 
Long-term counterparty risk assessment A2 
Short-term counterparty risk assessment P-1 
A downgrade in our credit ratings could adversely affect clients' perception of us and our ability to compete successfully in the marketplace for deposits (or result in the withdrawal of deposits). A downgrade in our short-term debt ratings will affect our short-term funding capabilities. As a result, the impact of a one-notch downgrade in credit ratings is currently not likely to have a direct impact on funding programs, activities, borrowing capacity or borrowing costs. In addition, there has been no measurable correlation or effect on deposit levels during previous downgrades and, as a result, historically, no material impacts on the Bank's operations or results.
Negative changes in the Bank's long-term deposit ratings would also likely increase the cost of raising long-term funding in the capital markets or of borrowing funds. Even where we can access the capital markets, negative changes in our ratings could affect our share price and make any equity offerings more difficult and dilutive to current shareholders, further driving down the Bank's share price. Our ability to replace maturing or existing debt may be more difficult and expensive. In addition, our lenders and counterparties in derivative transactions are sensitive to the risk of a ratings downgrade. However, we may issue additional debt securities in the future which may increase the impact of a one-notch downgrade in credit ratings.
Management cannot predict what actions rating agencies may take, or what actions we may take in response to the actions of rating agencies that could adversely affect our business. As with other companies in the financial services industry, our ratings could be downgraded at any time and without any notice by any NRSRO, which could adversely affect our business, financial conditions or results of operations.
We could fail to attract, retain or motivate highly skilled and qualified personnel, including our senior management, other key employees or members of the Board, which could adversely affect our business.
Our ability to implement our strategic plan and our future success depends on our ability to continue to attract, retain and motivate highly skilled, diverse and qualified personnel, including our senior management and other key employees and directors, competitively with our peers. The marketplace for skilled personnel is becoming more competitive, which means the cost of hiring, incentivizing and retaining skilled personnel may continue to increase. The failure to attract or retain, including as a result of an untimely death or illness of key personnel, or replace a sufficient number of appropriately skilled and key personnel could place us at a significant competitive disadvantage and prevent us from successfully implementing our strategy or effectively managing our risk framework and business operations. This could impair our ability to implement our strategic plan successfully, achieve our performance targets and otherwise have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
We may also be unable to attract and retain staff due to our locations. Many of our employees are employed in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and the Channel Islands, which are small markets. To the extent we have needs for employees in these locations, this may be an impediment to attracting and retaining experienced personnel. Further, immigration laws in small markets may impose limitations on attracting experienced personnel.
In addition, governmental scrutiny with respect to matters relating to compensation and other business practices in the financial services industry has increased dramatically in the past several years and has resulted in more aggressive and intense regulatory supervision in certain markets in which we operate. Future legislation or regulation or government views on compensation may result in us altering compensation practices in ways that could adversely affect our ability to attract and retain talented employees.
We rely on third parties to provide services that are integral to our ordinary operations, and their failure to perform in a satisfactory manner could negatively affect us.
We rely on third parties to provide services that are integral to our ordinary course operations, including providers of information technology, administrative or investment advisory services. These third party supported functions or operating systems may not function properly, become insufficient to support our evolving business needs or become defective or damaged as a result of a number of factors including events beyond our control. Enhancements and upgrades to third party supported infrastructure or operating systems may entail significant time and costs, and create risks associated with implementing new systems and integrating them with existing ones. Due to the complexity of our systems, across multiple jurisdictions and product types, the process of enhancing our infrastructure and operating systems, including their security measures and controls, can create a risk of system disruptions and security issues. Similarly, we may not be able to timely recover critical business processes or operations that have been disrupted, which may further increase the associated costs and consequences of such disruptions. Although we have business continuity plans in place, cybersecurity and other safeguards in place to help provide operational resiliency, our business operations may be adversely affected by significant and prolonged disruption to our operating systems that support our businesses and customers. Furthermore, third parties on which we rely, could also introduce operational risk to us, including from information breaches or loss, breakdowns, cyber incidents, disruptions or failures of their own systems or infrastructure, or any deficiencies in the performance of their responsibilities. A material breach of customer data may negatively impact our business reputation and cause a loss of customer business; may result in increased expense to contain the event and/or require that we provide credit monitoring services for affected customers; may result in regulatory fines and sanctions; and/or may result in litigation. We rely on our outsourced service providers to implement and maintain prudent cyber-security controls. We have procedures in place to assess a vendor's cyber security controls prior to establishing a contractual relationship and to periodically review assessments of those control systems; however, these procedures are not infallible and a vendor's system can be breached despite the procedures we employ. In addition, outsourcing is subject to regulatory controls in certain jurisdictions in which we operate and we may not always be able to obtain approval to outsource on terms available or sought by us, which could adversely affect our ability to enter into outsourcing arrangements.
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In addition, BNYM and Wells Fargo act as clearing houses for all our US Dollar transactions and, if our relationships with BNYM and Wells Fargo are terminated, we could lose our ability to engage in US Dollar transactions. For more information see " - We could be negatively affected if the soundness of other financial institutions and counterparties deteriorates or if such counterparties, including clearing houses, are unwilling to do business with us, in particular in respect of US Dollar transactions."
Information provided to us about clients and counterparties may not be accurate or complete.
In deciding whether to extend credit or enter into other transactions with clients and counterparties, we rely on information furnished by or on behalf of clients and counterparties, including financial statements and other financial information. We also may rely on representations of clients and counterparties as to the accuracy and completeness of that information and, with respect to financial statements, on reports of independent auditors. Such information could turn out to be inaccurate, including as a result of fraud or misrepresentation on behalf of our clients, counterparties or other third parties, which would increase our credit risk and expose us to possible write-downs and losses.
We cannot be certain that our underwriting and operational controls will prevent or detect such fraud or that we will not experience fraud losses or incur costs or other losses related to such fraud. Our clients and counterparties may also experience fraud in their businesses which could adversely affect their ability to repay their loans or make use of our services.
During the periods reported in this annual report, we have not experienced any material losses, or had to write down collateral, as a result of fraud or misrepresentation, but we cannot be certain that the Bank will not experience any such losses or have to write down any such collateral in the future, which could have a material adverse impact on our results of operation and financial condition.
Our business is subject to risks related to litigation and regulatory actions.
We are, from time to time, involved in various legal and regulatory proceedings arising from our normal business activities. These claims and legal actions, including supervisory actions by our regulators or proceedings or investigations brought by other regulators, could involve large monetary claims and significant defense costs. The outcome of these cases is uncertain. Substantial legal liability or significant regulatory action against us could have material financial effects or cause significant reputational harm to us, which in turn could seriously harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. We may be exposed to substantial uninsured liabilities, which could materially affect our results of operations and financial condition.
As previously publicly announced, in November 2013, the USAO applied for and secured the issuance of so-called John Doe Summonses to six US financial institutions with which the Bank had correspondent bank relationships. The purpose of these summonses was to identify US persons who may have been using our banking, trust, or other services to evade their own tax obligations in the United States. The Bank cooperated with the US authorities in their investigation and reached a resolution with the US Department of Justice in July 2021. The resolution is in the form of a non-prosecution agreement with a three-year term and payment of $5.6 million.
The appraisals and other valuation techniques we use in evaluating and monitoring loans secured by real property may not accurately describe the net value of the collateral that we can realize.
In considering whether to make a loan secured by real property, we generally require an appraisal of the property. However, an appraisal is only an estimate of the value of the property at the time the appraisal is made, and, as real estate values may change significantly in relatively short periods of time (especially in periods of heightened economic uncertainty), this estimate may not accurately describe the net value of the real property collateral after the loan is made. As a result, we may not be able to realize the full amount of any remaining indebtedness when we foreclose on and sell the relevant property. In addition, we rely on appraisals and other valuation techniques to establish the value of our OREO and to determine certain loan impairments. If any of these valuations are inaccurate, our consolidated financial statements may not reflect the correct value of our OREO, and our allowance for credit losses may not reflect accurate loan impairments. This could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Risks Relating to Operations, Risk Oversight and Internal Controls
Our operations are reliant on effective implementation and use of technology and require us to adapt to new technologies, and a breach, interruption or failure of our technology services or the inability to effectively integrate new technologies could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
We rely heavily on communications and information systems to conduct business. In particular, we rely on technology to provide key components of our information system infrastructure, including loan, deposit and general ledger processing, risk management information collection and processing for internal control purposes, internet connections and network access. Any disruption in service of these key components, due to system errors, a natural catastrophe, or the termination of any third-party software licenses upon which any of these systems is based, could adversely affect our ability to effectively deliver products and services to clients, to detect, assess and manage risk and otherwise to conduct operations. See "- We rely on third parties to provide services that are integral to our ordinary operations, and their failure to perform in a satisfactory manner could negatively affect us.” Furthermore, any security breach, due to computer viruses, programming, malfeasance or human errors or other events or developments, of information systems or data, whether managed by us or third parties, could interrupt our business, harm our reputation or cause a decrease in the number of clients using our services. The financial services industry is continually undergoing rapid technological change with frequent introductions of new, and technology-driven products and services. We face the risk of having to establish and maintain further improved technological capabilities, and our future success depends, in part, on our ability to recognize and implement new technologies to address our operational and internal control needs, operational efficiencies and to meet the demands of our clients. See "- Cyber-attacks, distributed denial of service attacks and other cyber-security matters, if successful, could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.”
The widespread adoption of new technologies, including cryptocurrencies and payment systems, could require substantial expenditures to modify or adapt our existing products and services as we continue to grow our internet and mobile banking capabilities. The persistence or acceleration of this shift in demand towards internet and mobile banking may necessitate changes to our retail distribution strategy, which may include restructuring our branches and work force. These actions could lead to losses on these assets and may lead to increased expenditures to reform our retail distribution channel.
Many of our competitors have substantially greater resources to invest in technological improvements than we do. We may not be able to effectively implement new, technology-driven products and services or be successful in marketing these products and services to our customers. In addition, the implementation of technological changes and upgrades to maintain current systems and integrate new ones may also cause service interruptions, transaction processing errors and system conversion delays and may cause us to fail to comply with applicable laws. Failure to successfully keep pace with technological change affecting the financial services industry and avoid interruptions, errors and delays could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, or competitive position.


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Cyber-attacks, distributed denial of service attacks and other cyber-security matters, if successful, could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
We are under continuous threat of loss due to cyber-attacks, especially as we continue to expand customer capabilities to utilize the internet and other remote channels to transact business. Third parties with whom we or our customers do business also present operational and information security risks to us, including security breaches or failures of their own systems. Two of the most significant cyber-attack risks that we face are e-fraud and loss of sensitive customer data. Such attacks are infrequent, but could present significant reputational, legal and regulatory costs to us if successful.
We also face risks related to cyber-attacks and other security breaches in connection with credit card transactions that typically involve the transmission of sensitive information regarding our customers through various third parties, including merchant acquiring banks, payment processors, payment card networks (e.g., Visa or Mastercard), our processors, and BNYM and Wells Fargo as clearing banks. Some of these parties have in the past been the target of security breaches and cyber-attacks, and because the transactions involve third parties and environments such as the point of sale that we do not control or secure, future security breaches or cyber-attacks affecting any of these third parties could impact us through no fault of our own, and in some cases we may have exposure and suffer losses for breaches or attacks relating to them, including from remediation costs, increased future protection costs, reputational harm, loss of customers and potential regulatory inquiries and/or civil litigation. We also rely on numerous other third-party service providers to conduct other aspects of our business operations and face similar risks relating to them.
In addition, in April 2016, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication ("SWIFT") announced that one of its member banks was a target of a cyber-attack in February 2016. During 2017 and 2018, there were several instances of cyber-attacks involving access to the SWIFT platform. The SWIFT platform is used by more than 10,000 financial institutions around the world, including us, to effect fund transfers. A cyber-attack on the SWIFT network can result in theft of funds and other adverse consequences, and our business, financial condition or results of operations may be adversely affected in the event that such a cyber-attack is successful.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our employees (and staff of service providers) have been working remotely or from other sites. These working arrangements could potentially provide increased opportunities for cyber threat actors to exploit.
Our risk management framework, systems and process, and related guidelines and policies, may prove inadequate to manage our risks, and any failure to properly assess or manage such risks could harm us.
Our approach to risk management requires senior management to make complex judgments, including decisions (based on assumptions about economic factors) about the level and types of risk that we are willing to accept in order to achieve our business objectives. These also include the maximum level of risks we can assume before breaching constraints determined by regulatory capital and liquidity needs and our regulatory and legal obligations including, among others, from a conduct and prudential perspective. Given these complexities, and the dynamic environment in which we operate, the decisions made by senior management may not be appropriate or yield the results expected. In addition, senior management may be unable to recognize emerging risks quickly enough for us to take appropriate action in a timely manner.
Our controls and procedures may fail or be circumvented, which could have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
We face the risk that the design of our controls and procedures that govern operations, financial reporting and compliance across jurisdictions, including those to mitigate the risk of human error, fraud or breach of fiduciary duties relating to our trust services by employees or outsiders, or to monitor financial reporting, may be inadequate, circumvented or exposed to variations in compliance at the local level, thereby causing inaccuracies in data and information or delays in the detection of errors. At present, we do not have a uniform core banking platform in place across the jurisdictions in which we operate and, therefore, we need to use manual processes to compile certain financial information from certain subsidiaries. Moreover, in the past, our information technology capabilities in Bermuda and other jurisdictions have experienced difficulties with certain identified weaknesses, including internal control deficiencies in our operations (including interest rate calculation functions). To address this, we used manual processing, data spreadsheets or a combination thereof. Use of such manual procedures and data spreadsheets presents financial reporting and operational risks and increases the importance of staff compliance with internal operating and security procedures. In addition, we may incur operational losses due to non-compliance by our staff with internal operating and control procedures and arising from human error. Any failure or circumvention of our controls and procedures or failure to comply with any current or future regulations related to controls and procedures could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Regulatory and Tax-Related Risks
We operate in a complex and changing regulatory environment and legal and regulatory changes or our failure to comply with laws and regulations could have a negative impact on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Our business is subject to ongoing changes in laws, regulations, policies, voluntary codes of practice and interpretations in the markets in which we operate. We currently face an increasingly extensive and complex set of laws, regulations and standards as a result of the concerns enveloping the global financial sector. We are exposed to potential changes in governmental or regulatory policies, price controls, capital controls, exchange controls, other restrictive actions, unfavorable political and diplomatic developments, and changes in legislation.
Some areas of potential regulatory change involve multiple jurisdictions seeking to adopt a coordinated approach. This may result in conflicts with specific requirements of the jurisdictions in which we operate and, in addition, such changes may be inconsistently introduced across jurisdictions. See "- Our international business model exposes us to various and possibly conflicting regulatory regimes across multiple jurisdictions."
Changes may also occur in the oversight approach of regulators. It is possible that governments in jurisdictions in which we operate or obtain funding might revise their application of existing regulatory policies that apply to, or impact, the Bank's business, including for reasons relating to national interest and/or systemic stability. The powers exercisable by our regulators may also be expanded in the future.
Regulatory changes and the timing of their introduction continue to evolve and we manage our businesses in the context of regulatory uncertainty. The nature and impact of future changes are not predictable and are beyond our control. Regulatory compliance and the management of regulatory change are an important part of our planning processes. We expect that we will be required to continue to invest significantly in compliance and the management and implementation of regulatory change and, at the same time, significant management attention and resources will be required to update existing, or implement new, processes to comply with new regulations.
Changes and restrictions imposed by our primary lead regulator, the BMA, and other regulators may also impact our operations by requiring us to have increased levels of liquidity, and higher levels of, and better quality, capital and funding, as well as placing restrictions on the businesses we conduct (including limiting our ability to provide products and services to certain customers), requiring us to amend our corporate structure or requiring us to alter our product or service offerings. If a regulatory change has any such effect, it could adversely affect one or more of our businesses, restrict our flexibility, require us to incur substantial costs and impact the profitability of one or more of our business lines. Any such costs or restrictions could adversely affect our business, prospects, financial performance or financial condition.

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Our failure or inability to fully comply with the laws and regulations could lead to fines, public reprimands, reputational damage, civil liability, enforced suspension of operations or, in extreme cases, withdrawal of authorization to operate, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations. We could also be required to incur significant expenses to comply with new or revised regulations. Future developments or changes in laws, regulations, policies, voluntary codes of practice and their effects are expected to require greater capital resources and significant management attention, and may require us to modify our business strategies and plans.
The costs of complying with, or our failure to comply with, US and foreign laws related to privacy, data security and data protection, such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation, could adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and reputation.
Regulatory authorities have increased their focus on how companies collect, process, use, store, share and transmit personal data. New privacy security laws and regulations, including the UK's Data Protection Act 2018, the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2018, the Data Protection (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2017, The Cayman Islands Data Protection Law 2017 (which became effective on September 30, 2019), Bermuda’s Personal Information Protection Act 2016, and the EU General Data Protection Regulation 2016, pose increasingly complex and rigorous compliance challenges, which may increase our compliance costs. Any failure to comply with data privacy laws and regulations could result in significant penalties, fines, legal challenges and reputational harm. See Item 4.B. "Business Overview - Supervision and Regulation".
Failure to comply with any applicable anti-corruption legislation could result in fines, criminal penalties and an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
We must comply with all applicable laws and regulations, which include anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, international financial sanctions and anti-terrorist financing laws and regulations. Recently, there has been a substantial increase in the global enforcement of these laws and regulations, in particular in respect of the financial services industry. The measures and procedures we have in place may not be entirely effective in preventing third parties from using us (and our correspondent banks) as a conduit for money laundering (including illegal cash operations), terrorist financing or other financial crimes without our (and our correspondent banks') knowledge or consent. Although, as of the date of this report, we have not been subject to any fines or penalties, as a result of violations of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws and regulations, there can be no assurances that we will not be subject to such fines, penalties or losses or harm in the future. If we were to be associated with money laundering (including illegal cash operations) or terrorist financing, our reputation could be harmed and we could become subject to fines, sanctions or legal enforcement (including being added to any "blacklists" that would prohibit certain parties, potentially including US Dollar clearing banks, from engaging in transactions with us), which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Our international business model exposes us to various and possibly conflicting regulatory regimes across multiple jurisdictions.
Our international business model exposes us to different regulatory schemes across multiple jurisdictions. Although our central management and a large part of our business are located in Bermuda, our operations are spread throughout ten international jurisdictions. In addition to the logistical and communications challenges this creates, the financial services industry is heavily regulated in many jurisdictions, and each line of the business is exposed to different, constantly evolving and possibly conflicting regulatory schemes. Our management has enacted internal controls and procedures that are designed to result in compliance with these regulatory schemes, which are periodically reviewed and updated, but in the future we might have difficulty meeting and remaining in compliance with existing or new regulatory requirements imposed by a particular jurisdiction, particularly in light of the increasing regulatory scrutiny of financial institutions and their subsidiaries. Our current internal controls for one jurisdiction may not sufficiently comply with the demands of increased oversight in another jurisdiction.
To the extent we are unable to comply with the regulatory scheme of a particular jurisdiction, we might not be able to operate in that jurisdiction, or we may incur fines or penalties for compliance failures or incur costs in order to remediate compliance failures, any or all of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
The Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) may identify any of the jurisdictions in which we operate as a jurisdiction which has systemic anti-money laundering and/or anti-terrorist financing deficiencies, which could have an adverse effect on our business.
The FATF is an international body that identifies jurisdictions with weak measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing in public documents published three times a year. FATF and its regional bodies work with such jurisdictions, governments, and regulatory bodies and report on progress made in addressing identified deficiencies. Such reviews are at a country level, rather than an entity-specific level. Thus, while the Bank can have in place globally accepted standards to fight money laundering and terrorist financing, the existing regulations in any of the jurisdictions in which we operate may not meet FATF requirements. Failure to comply with FATF standards by any jurisdictions in which we operate could adversely affect our reputation and our ability to obtain financing from the international markets and attract foreign investments.
Our business may be negatively impacted by the economic substance legislation and regulations in the jurisdictions in which we operate, including Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and the Channel Islands.
In 2018, all major offshore jurisdictions enacted legislation in response to new requirements imposed by the EU’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council (“ECOFIN”) regarding the need for entities registered in offshore jurisdictions to demonstrate economic substance. Compliance with these requirements is necessary to avoid a jurisdiction being placed on the EU’s list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. Many of the jurisdictions in which we operate, including Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, The Bahamas, Guernsey and Jersey have enacted legislation that will require entities registered, incorporated or continued under certain legislation in the respective jurisdictions engaged in “relevant activities” (which includes engaging in banking or financing activities) to satisfy economic substance requirements by maintaining a substantial economic presence in the respective jurisdiction. For example, in December 2018, Bermuda passed The Economic Substance Act 2018, the Cayman Islands passed International Tax Co-operation (Economic Substance) Law, Guernsey passed the Income Tax (Substance Requirements) (Implementation) Regulations, 2018 and Jersey passed the Taxation (Companies - Economic Substance) (Jersey) Law 2019. Any entity that must satisfy economic substance requirements but fails to do so could face financial penalties, a restriction of its business activities or being struck-off as a registered entity in the relevant jurisdiction.
From February to October 2020, the Cayman Islands were on the EU’s list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. ECOFIN concluded that the Cayman Islands did not have appropriate measures in place relating to collective investment vehicles, and in response the Cayman Islands adopted reforms sufficient to address this deficiency. Bermuda was similarly placed on the EU’s list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions in March 2019, but removed from this list in May 2019 and added, along with The Bahamas, to the EU's list of cooperative tax jurisdictions in February 2020. EU Finance Ministers signaled their approval of the economic substance regulations by placing Jersey and Guernsey on the EU's list of cooperative tax jurisdictions in March 2019, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has endorsed Jersey and Guernsey’s domestic legal framework as being in line with the relevant standard. As the EU continues to monitor compliance by the jurisdictions in which we operate, further economic substance requirements imposed by these jurisdictions or a future addition of these jurisdictions to the EU's list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions could have a material adverse effect on us.
There is significant uncertainty with respect to the impact of these new economic substance requirements, and any past or future addition to the EU's list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions on the economies of the jurisdictions in which we operate that have enacted economic substance legislation. In particular, our existing customers
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may be out of scope of economic substance requirements, may already be compliant with the economic substance requirements, or may be required to restructure their business and operations to comply with economic substance requirements, which may include exiting jurisdictions and terminating their banking relationship with us. The new economic substance requirements and any addition of a jurisdiction to the EU's list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions may lead to a decline in AUM, a reduction in our client base and/or a general economic downturn in the jurisdictions in which we operate, any or all of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
We are also required to evidence our compliance (and the compliance of each of our subsidiaries located in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, The Bahamas and the Channel Islands) with applicable economic substance requirements. Ensuring and reporting on our compliance with new economic substance requirements may require us to devote additional resources or divert resources from other aspects of our business, and/or restructure certain aspects of our operations, all of which may lead to greater expense and could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Our business in Bermuda may be negatively impacted by the proposed Bermuda Tax Reform legislation.
On January 14, 2021, the Bermuda government announced that a new Tax Reform Commission (the “2021 Tax Commission”) would be established in 2021 with the view to completing a wholesale review of Bermuda’s tax system by the end of 2021. The 2021 Tax Commission replaces the Tax Reform Commission that was established in 2017 and subsequently disbanded at the end of 2018. Any additional taxes that are identified by the 2021 Tax Commission and subsequently enacted by the government could potentially result in i) an increase in costs associated with our business and operations in Bermuda; ii) a decrease in demand for our banking services in Bermuda; and iii) a negative impact on our results of operations.

We are required to obtain approval from our regulators before engaging in certain activities.
The laws, regulations, policies, voluntary codes of practice and interpretations applicable to us govern a variety of matters, including acquisitions and other activities we may engage in. As our primary lead regulator, the BMA requires that we obtain its prior consent, letter of no objection and/or approval before engaging in certain activities, including paying dividends on our common shares, entering into material acquisitions or issuing or repurchasing our common shares, and there can be no assurance that any regulatory approvals we may require will be obtained, either in a timely manner or at all. See "- Our strategy includes expansion of our business through acquisitions of, or investments in, other companies or new products and services, but we may not be able to achieve regulatory approval for such transactions or be able to achieve the anticipated cost savings, growth opportunities and other benefits anticipated from such transactions." Our regulators have the ability to compel us to, or restrict us from, taking certain actions entirely, such as actions that our regulators deem to constitute an unsafe or unsound banking practice. Any restrictions on our business placed by a regulator could have a negative impact on our ability to execute on our growth strategy. See "- Laws in certain jurisdictions in which we operate and our bye-laws could adversely affect the rights of our shareholders or prevent or delay a change in control.”
Our ability to pay dividends to non-residents of Bermuda and the transfer of our common shares to non-residents of Bermuda could be impaired by Bermuda regulations.
A large number of our shareholders are resident outside of Bermuda, and our common shares are listed on the BSX and the NYSE. Bermuda regulations impacting non-Bermuda holders of our common shares are set by the Bermuda Controller of Foreign Exchange, whose current policy:
permits the conversion of Bermuda Dollars for payment of dividends in foreign currency to shareholders who are non-residents of Bermuda for exchange control purposes, provided that all payments are processed through an authorized dealer, including, for this purpose, us; and
permits the free transferability of equity securities of a Bermuda company for so long as such equity securities of such company are listed on an ‘‘appointed stock exchange’’ appointed by the Minister of Finance under section 2(9) of the Companies Act 1981.
However, if the Controller of Foreign Exchange were to change the foregoing policies, our ability to pay dividends in US Dollars to non-residents of Bermuda for exchange control purposes could be impaired. Furthermore each transfer of our common shares to or from non-residents of Bermuda for exchange control purposes could require specific approval by the Controller of Foreign Exchange. This could impact the liquidity of the market for our common shares, and the value of the common shares could be adversely affected.
If we are considered to be a passive foreign investment company, such characterization could result in adverse US federal income tax consequences to shareholders that are US investors.
Special adverse US federal income tax rules apply if a US shareholder holds shares of a company that is treated as a passive foreign investment company ("PFIC"), for any taxable year during which the US shareholder held such shares. A foreign corporation will be considered a PFIC for any taxable year in which (1) 75% or more of its gross income is passive income, or (2) 50% or more of the average fair market value of its assets is attributable to assets that produce or are held for the production of passive income (the "asset test"). Passive income for this purpose generally includes dividends, interest, royalties, rents, annuities and gains from assets that produce passive income. If a foreign corporation owns at least 25% (by value) of the stock of another corporation, the foreign corporation is treated, for purposes of the PFIC tests, as owning a proportionate share of the other corporation's assets and receiving its proportionate share of the other corporation's income.
Banks generally derive a substantial part of their income from assets that are interest-bearing or that otherwise could be considered passive under the PFIC rules. The US Internal Revenue Service (the "IRS"), has issued a notice, and has proposed regulations, that exclude from passive income any income derived in the active conduct of a banking business by a qualifying foreign bank.
Based upon the proportion of our income derived from activities that are "bona fide" banking activities for US federal income tax purposes, we believe that we were not a PFIC for the taxable year ended December 31, 2021 (the latest period for which the determination can be made) and, based further on our present regulatory status under local laws, the present nature of our activities, and the present composition of our assets and sources of income, we do not expect to be a PFIC for the current year or for any future years. However, because PFIC status is a factual determination and because there are uncertainties in the application of the relevant rules, there can be no assurances that we will not be a PFIC for any particular year. If we were a PFIC in any taxable year during which a US shareholder owns our common shares and the US shareholder does not make a "mark-to-market" election, as discussed under the heading "Certain Taxation Considerations - Material US Federal Income Tax Consequences - US shareholders - Passive Foreign Investment Company Considerations," or a special "purging election," we generally would continue to be treated as a PFIC with respect to such US shareholders in all succeeding years, regardless of whether we continue to meet the income or asset test discussed above. US shareholders are urged to consult their own tax advisers with respect to the tax consequences to them if we were to become a PFIC for any taxable year in which they own our common shares.
US withholding tax and information reporting requirements imposed under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act may apply.
As discussed below under the heading "Certain Taxation Considerations - Material US Federal Income Tax Consequences - Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act Withholding," pursuant to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act ("FATCA") enacted in 2010, a 30% withholding tax will be imposed on certain payments to certain non-US financial institutions that fail to comply with certain information-reporting, account identification, withholding, certification and other FATCA-related requirements in respect of their
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direct and indirect US shareholders and/or US account holders. To avoid becoming subject to FATCA withholding, we and other financial institutions may be required to report information to the IRS regarding the holders of our common shares and to withhold on a portion of payments under our common shares to certain holders that fail to comply with the relevant information reporting requirements (or that hold our common shares directly or indirectly through certain non-compliant intermediaries). However, under proposed Treasury regulations, such withholding will not apply to payments made before the date that is two years after the date on which final regulations defining the term “foreign passthru payment” are enacted. The rules for the implementation of this legislation have not yet been fully finalized, so it is impossible to determine at this time what impact, if any, this legislation will have on holders of the common shares.
Many countries, including Bermuda, have entered into agreements with the United States ("intergovernmental agreements" or "IGAs") to facilitate the implementation of FATCA. These IGAs modify the FATCA withholding regime described above. In December 2013, Bermuda entered into a Model 2 IGA with the United States pursuant to which Bermudian financial institutions are directed by the Bermudian authorities to register with the IRS and to enter into an agreement with the IRS to perform specified due diligence, reporting and withholding functions.
Risks Relating to the Common Shares
Purchases of our common shares under our share repurchase program may result in the price of our common shares being higher than the price that otherwise might have existed in the open market.
On February 14, 2022, the Board of Directors approved a new share repurchase program. Pursuant to the program, the Bank is authorized to repurchase up to 2.0 million common shares of the Bank through February 28, 2023. This was executed following the expiration of the previous share repurchase program of 2.0 million common shares approved by our Board of Directors on February 10, 2021. The timing, manner, price and amount of any repurchases will be determined by the Company, in its discretion, based upon the evaluation of economic and market conditions, stock price, available cash, applicable legal and regulatory requirements and other factors, and which may include purchases pursuant to Rule 10b5-1 of the Exchange Act. The program does not require the Company to repurchase any specific number of shares and there can be no assurance that any shares will be repurchased under the program. The program may be suspended, extended, modified or discontinued by the Company at any time. These activities may have had the effect of maintaining the market price of our common shares or retarding a decline in the market price of the common shares, and, as a result, the price of our common shares may have been higher than the price that otherwise might have existed in the open market.
We are a "foreign private issuer" under US securities law. Therefore, we are exempt from certain requirements applicable to US domestic registrants.
Although we are subject to the periodic reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, the periodic disclosure required of foreign private issuers, including us, under the Exchange Act is different from periodic disclosure required of US domestic registrants. Therefore, there may be less publicly available information about us than is regularly published by or about US domestic registrants. We are exempt from certain other sections of the Exchange Act to which US domestic registrants are subject, including the requirement to provide our shareholders with information statements or proxy statements that comply with the Exchange Act. In addition, our insiders and large shareholders are not obligated to file reports under Section 16 of the Exchange Act. See ‘‘Implications of Being a Foreign Private Issuer.”
As a foreign private issuer, we are also permitted by the NYSE to comply with Bermuda corporate governance practice in lieu of complying with certain NYSE corporate governance requirements. This means that we are not required to comply with NYSE requirements that:
the board of directors consists of a majority of independent directors;
independent directors meet in regularly scheduled executive sessions;
the audit committee satisfy NYSE standards for director independence;
the audit committee has a written charter addressing the committee's purpose and responsibilities;
we have a nominating and corporate governance committee composed of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee's purpose and responsibilities;
we have a compensation committee composed of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee's purpose and responsibilities;
we establish corporate governance guidelines and a code of business conduct;
our shareholders approve any equity compensation plans; and
there be an annual performance evaluation of the nominating and corporate governance and compensation committees.
With the exception of having shareholders approve equity compensation plans, we have elected to comply with the NYSE requirements listed above, notwithstanding the exemptions available to us as a foreign private issuer. However, as ongoing compliance is not required by the NYSE, our shareholders may not have the same protections afforded to shareholders of companies that are subject to all of the NYSE corporate governance requirements.
We are a Bermuda company. Bermuda law differs from the laws in effect in the United States and might afford less protection to shareholders.
We are a Bermuda-based company incorporated under the laws of Bermuda. As a result, the rights of holders of our common shares will be governed by Bermuda law, including the Companies Act, the Butterfield Act and our bye-laws. The rights of shareholders under Bermuda law may differ from the rights of shareholders of companies incorporated in other jurisdictions. In particular, under Bermuda law, the duties of directors and officers of a company are generally owed to the company only, and shareholders do not generally have rights to take action against directors or officers of the company. In addition, class actions and derivative actions are generally not available to shareholders under Bermuda law. The status of laws currently in place, and areas not currently governed, are subject to change. The interests of our shareholders could be adversely affected if significant regulations are added or deleted from Bermuda’s existing statutory framework. For a summary of the existing legal framework in Bermuda, see Item 4.B. “Business Overview - Supervision and Regulation.”
In addition, our business is based outside of the United States, a majority of our directors and officers reside outside of the United States and a majority of our assets and some or all of the assets of such persons are located outside of the United States. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible to effect service of process on us or our directors and officers in the United States or to enforce in the United States judgments obtained in the United States courts against us or those persons based on the civil liability provisions of the United States securities laws. Furthermore, it is doubtful whether courts in Bermuda will enforce judgments obtained in other jurisdictions, including the United States, against us or our directors or officers under the securities laws of those jurisdictions or entertain actions in Bermuda against us or our directors or officers under the securities laws of other jurisdictions.
There are provisions in our bye-laws that may be used to delay or block a takeover attempt, which could discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of the Bank and could adversely impact the value of our common shares. For a detailed summary of the anti-takeover provisions in our bye-laws, see "Description of Share Capital" in our registration statement on Form F-1 filed with the SEC on February 13, 2017 with file number 333-216018.

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Laws in certain jurisdictions in which we operate and our bye-laws could adversely affect the rights of our shareholders or prevent or delay a change in control.
Under the provisions of Bermuda's Banks and Deposit Companies Act 1999 ("BDCA"), the rights of our shareholders could be impaired if any such shareholder becomes a shareholder controller. If a shareholder controller fails to comply with the notice requirements in connection with a change in control under the BDCA or continues as such after being given notice of objection to its being a shareholder controller, the BMA may take the actions specified in the BDCA, including, among other things, revoking the relevant license of the Bank under the BDCA. For more information, see the summaries of relevant provisions of the BDCA regulations under Item 4.B. "Business Overview - Supervision and Regulation” and "Description of Share Capital" in our registration statement on Form F-1 filed with the SEC on February 13, 2017 with file number 333-216018.
Similarly, in Guernsey certain changes to the ownership structure of our Guernsey company (which is licensed by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission) may be considered to be a change of control requiring a declaration of "no objection" from the regulator, and in Jersey a change to the ownership or control of the Jersey regulated entity may also require regulatory approval.
In addition to these restrictions, the provisions of our bye-laws provide that a person who is not "Bermudian" (as such term is defined in the Companies Act) who is "interested" (as such term is defined in the bye-laws) in our shares which constitute more than 40% of all shares then issued and outstanding is not entitled to vote the shares which are in excess of such 40% interest at any general meeting without the prior written approval of the Minister of Finance. See also Item 4.B. "Business Overview - Supervision and Regulation.”
Our common shares trade on more than one market and this may result in price variations; in addition, investors may not be able to easily move shares for trading between such markets.
Our common shares have traded on the BSX since 1971 and began trading on the NYSE in September 2016. Trading in our common shares on these markets takes place in different currencies (US Dollars on the NYSE and Bermuda Dollars on the BSX), and at different times (resulting from different time zones, different trading days and different public holidays in the United States and Bermuda). The trading prices of our common shares on these two markets may differ due to these and other factors. Any decrease in the price of our common shares on the BSX could cause a decrease in the trading price of our common shares on the NYSE, or vice versa. Investors could seek to sell or buy our common shares to take advantage of any price differences between the markets through a practice referred to as arbitrage. Any arbitrage activity could create unexpected volatility in both our share prices on one exchange, and the shares available for trading on the other exchange.
General Risk Factors
We may be alleged to have infringed upon intellectual property rights owned by others or may be unable to protect our own intellectual property.
Competitors or other third parties may allege that we, or consultants or other third parties retained or indemnified by us, infringe on their intellectual property rights. Even in instances where we believe that claims and allegations of intellectual property infringement against us are without merit, defending against such claims is time consuming and expensive and could result in the diversion of time and attention of our management and employees. In addition, although in some cases a third party may have agreed to indemnify us for such costs, such indemnifying party may refuse, or be unable, to uphold its contractual obligations.
Moreover, we rely on a variety of measures to protect our intellectual property and proprietary information, including copyrights, trademarks, and controls on access and distribution. These measures may not prevent misappropriation or infringement of our intellectual property or proprietary information and a resulting loss of competitive advantage. In any event, we may be required to litigate to protect our intellectual property and proprietary information from misappropriation or infringement by others, which is expensive and could cause a diversion of resources and may not be successful.
Our insurance coverage may not be adequate to cover all possible losses that we could suffer, and our insurance costs could increase in the future.
Our insurance policies do not cover all types of potential losses and liabilities and are subject to limits and excesses. There can be no assurance that our insurance will be sufficient to cover the full extent of all losses or liabilities for which we are ultimately responsible, which could result in losses being incurred by the Bank. Additionally, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to renew our current insurance policies on favorable terms, or at all.
Changes in accounting policies and practices may be adopted by applicable regulatory agencies or other authoritative bodies, which could materially impact our financial statements.
Our accounting policies and methods are fundamental to how we record and report our financial condition and results of operations. From time to time, applicable regulatory agencies and other authoritative bodies change the financial accounting and reporting standards that govern the preparation of our financial statements. These changes can be difficult to predict and can materially impact how we record and report our financial condition and results of operations.
The value of the common shares may fluctuate significantly.
The value of our common shares may fluctuate significantly as a result of a large number of factors, including, in part, changes in our actual or forecasted operating results and the inability to fulfill the profit expectations of securities analysts, as well as the high volatility in the securities markets generally, and more particularly in shares of financial institutions. The current market price of our common shares may not be indicative of future market prices.
Other factors, besides our financial results, that may impact the price of our common shares include, but are not limited to:
market expectations of the performance and capital adequacy of financial institutions in general;
investor perception of the success and impact of our strategies;
investor perception of our positions and risks, including risks associated with economic uncertainty in key markets in which we operate;
a downgrade or review of our credit ratings;
potential litigation or regulatory action involving us;