Code of Conduct – Digital Cayman
The Cayman Islands is a globally recognized jurisdiction that offers local and international clients an environment for commercial success coupled with adherence to global standards in the areas of risk management and regulation. This approach has served the jurisdiction well particularly in its financial services industry. Digital Cayman aims to ensure that activities carried by all companies operating in the new and fast growing digital sector will foster innovation and creativity while adhering to best practices in the areas of customer care and risk management.
It is our firm belief that the level of commercial success and credibility that global clients have experienced while doing business in the Cayman Islands must be maintained in all other sectors of our economy including the new and fantastic opportunities surfacing in our digital space.
Members of Digital Cayman operate in diverse areas including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Block Chain, Cybersecurity, Data Storage and Management, Intellectual Property (IP), Media, Education, Fintech and other areas which are still being developed.
This Code of Conduct aims to ensure that all companies and persons delivering services within the Cayman Islands’ digital sector operate within a set of guidelines where there is a clear, structured and transparent way to conduct business at the highest standards of ethics.
With the continuous introduction of new and evolving forms of technologies, comes a greater need for responsibility, transparency and high levels of professionalism, so we can ensure that all the stakeholders – our members, partners, customers and regulators – always fully trust, and understand the way in which Digital Cayman’s members conduct their businesses.
This Code of Conduct (hereinafter: the “Code”) outlines the relationships between the Association and its member companies (hereinafter: “Companies” or “Members”), between the Companies among each other, as well as between the Companies and all other stakeholders – including, customers and regulators.
This Code is not intended to supersede any existing Cayman Islands legislation and regulations, but instead will serve as a complement to them. This Code shall be a guideline for the Companies and their employees on the minimum standards which should always be preserved when carrying out business in the digital economy. The Companies shall ensure by appropriate means that their employees read and understand this Code. Further, this Code shall also be a way for our customers to get a clear understanding of what they can expect from all Digital Cayman Members.
- Basic Values
When conducting business, it is essential to have a general standard for ethical behavior. The Companies’ business activities should always be based on commitment to transparency, professionality and integrity. In particular, Companies should comply with the following points:
- Focusing on the interests of customers as much as on the interests of the Companies when carrying out business activities.
- Getting to know customers and conducting appropriate and proper customer identification procedures according to local requirements.
- Basing the relations with customers on mutual loyalty, trust and long-term cooperation.
- Investing in, respecting and caring about their employees.
- Valuing, encouraging, fostering, and supporting diversity, equity and inclusion to drive creativity, innovation and better business outcomes.
- Working towards the management possessing globally recognized qualifications where possible, in relation to the company’s respective digital sector, as well being knowledgeable on the applicable regulatory framework, strategic business planning and risk management.
- Ensuring that the IT systems for providing the services, as well as other systems used would function properly and with no, or minimal interruption.
- Establishing and retaining a good reputation, bearing in mind that reputation is impacted not only by the conduct of the company but also that of its directors, management and staff.
- Establishing sound and proper relations with the government and their respective regulators.
- Legal & Regulatory Compliance
Members should show commitment to complying with all relevant laws and regulations, nationally and internationally. Furthermore, the following aspects shall be emphasized:
- When operating internationally, Members should respect and pay close attention to the respective laws and regulations of other jurisdictions which might be applicable for that specific business activity. Members shall comply with the law in each jurisdiction in which they operate.
- Companies should always seek to thoroughly address complaints. They should review complaints by following all legal and regulatory requirements. They should diligently deal with complaints and provide an answer to the customer. The Companies should also have a transparent procedure for handling these complaints.
- In the case of data focused and financial services, the Companies may be trusted with sensitive personal and financial information by their customers. Therefore, the Companies shall ensure the security of their customers confidentiality and data by developing adequate information safety procedures and measures. These procedures and measures shall always comply with the newest and highest technical standards and regulatory requirements. This includes full compliance with all Cayman Islands data and privacy related legislation.
- Crimes like corruption, money laundering, terrorism financing, discrimination and other illegal activity shall be prevented and reported to the relevant authorities. Where Members are subjected to legislation such as the Anti-Corruption Law, Proceeds of Crime Law, the Anti Money Laundering Regulations, the Proliferation Financing (Prohibition) Law, the Guidance Notes on the Prevention and Detection of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, the Labour Law, and/or the Gender Equality Law, they shall ensure full compliance with such legislation and requirements. These companies must have in place the necessary policies and procedures, staffing and resources and corporate culture to prevent falling foul of any of the relevant requirements.
- Companies shall ensure compliance with the contracts they conclude with customers.
- All Digital Cayman Members must inform the Association, if legally possible, as soon as they learn that they are the subject of criminal or possible criminal proceedings, or other proceedings and investigations by regulatory authorities.
- Fair Competition
Members should treat each other fairly and respectfully. Competition between Companies should be based on factors of price, quality and service, and not based on practices that are condemned by the public or by law. Companies should not harm each other’s ability to compete. Further, they should not knowingly conduct any actions which result in reputational or any other kind of harm to another Company. Companies may gather information about their competitors, but only in a legal and ethical manner. All Digital Cayman Members shall respect the confidential information of their competitors.
- Best Practice
The Companies should strive to establish best practice for their respective business fields. Best practice means using the business methods which are generally accepted as superior to any alternatives. Companies shall use all the knowledge and technology at their disposal to ensure they attain the best possible practice. Companies shall furthermore strive to constantly improve their technology, business models and methods, concepts and service. They should be devoted to constantly and diligently raise the overall quality of their businesses, so they will be able to provide the best possible service to their customers. Companies also ensure that the conditions of the contracts they provide to their customers are the result of approved standards and at least good financial business practice.
- Suppliers and Vendors
Conducting business with suppliers and vendors is a necessary and crucial aspect for most companies. Members shall strive to only engage in business relations with suppliers and vendors which apply ethical standards similar to those outlined in this Code. In cases where a certain business activity with a supplier or vendor would result in an inconsistency with the Code, and this inconsistency could not be avoided, the Company should consider terminating the business activity. If necessary, the Company should further consider terminating the whole business relationship with that supplier or vendor. In cases where a potential business partner is domiciled in a country which is internationally sanctioned, particular caution should be exercised.
- Conflicts of Interest
The Companies should ensure that no employee takes part in a business activity where the employee is subject to a conflict of interest. Conflict of interest means a situation, where private interests of an employee contradict the professional interests of his/her company or a client. Such a conflict might arise if an employee has financial or other interests which might impair his professional judgement or objectivity when conducting activities for the company. In cases where it is uncertain whether a conflict of interest might be imminent, the Companies should seek professional advice and is welcomed to consult with the Association.
- Cooperation and Communication
We believe that honest and meaningful cooperation between Members is crucial to promote progress in Cayman’s digital economy. The Companies should conduct exchange of information about developments, trends and news in the digital sector.
Further, the Companies should also strive to establish a mutual share of information and experience with technology companies outside of this Association. Members should also establish a broader cooperation with stakeholders, associations and international partners in the digital sector.
Companies should do everything possible to enable easy and efficient cooperation with the government, and other regulatory and supervisory institutions. Companies should communicate with the public by disclosing business and other information actively and honestly.
Members should provide their customers with various types of information that are necessary for making rational decisions related to the business with the Companies. Furthermore, they shall make sure that the customers would always have access to necessary and relevant, information about all services provided by the Companies.
Companies should also comprehensively inform customers about their rights and obligations, benefits and possible risks related with the Companies’ suggested products or services. All the provided information should be clear, honest and complete.
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Digital Cayman Members recognize and respect that the Cayman Islands operate in a global environment across many similarities and differences amongst people. Companies shall value, encourage, foster and support diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels.
To that end, Companies shall strive to reflect the varied identities and individual differences of all interested groups of people in their workforce, customers, suppliers and vendors ; seek to ensure respect, dignity, fair treatment, equality of opportunity and equitable access to information and resources for all employees; proactively engage, understand, and draw on a variety of perspectives in their business activities; and work to build a culture of belonging by actively inviting the contribution and participation of all interested people. Companies shall make decisions regarding employees only on grounds of professional and objective criteria, free from explicit or implicit bias, and shall take appropriate steps to prevent and address harassment or unjust discrimination of any kind on the basis of age; race; colour; ethnicity; national or social origin; immigrant or refugee status; primary language; gender, gender expression or gender identity; sexual orientation; pregnancy; birth; genetic information; mental impairment or physical disability; creed, religion, religious practice or belief; political or other opinion; socio-economic, marital, familial, or parental status; or other similar personal characteristic.
- Reporting Violations
Every employee, supplier, business partner, client or any other person connected to the Companies should always promptly report possible violations of the Code or of the law. Companies should establish and maintain appropriate internal procedures for identifying, reporting and addressing any such violations. If an employee of a Company becomes aware of a situation which might lead to, or could already constitute, a violation of this code, such employee has the duty to contact the responsible office. If a situation arises where it’s unclear whether there actually is a violation of the Code, it is always appropriate to inform the Association, so the situation can be assessed.
The report can be made online, via e-mail, phone or in a personal meeting with a representative of Digital Cayman. It is not required to provide the name or other identifying information when filing a report, but we encourage Members to provide as much information as possible, which might help to resolve the situation. The provided information will be kept confidential and only used to resolve the situation.
The Association does not allow any form of retaliation against individuals, who reported possible violations in good faith.
- Consequences of Violations
Violations of this Code will be subject to disciplinary action. These disciplinary actions are including and reach up to the revocation of the membership status of a company from this Association.