Remuneration

Salaries at the major offshore firms in these jurisdictions are substantially higher than at even the Magic Circle firms in London, but one needs to compare net salaries in order to fully realise this. In reality, the salary which a lawyer is earning in US dollars in Cayman or BVI typically equates to the candidate earning approximately the same amount in sterling gross in London.

For example, if a candidate is earning a salary in Cayman of US$150,000 (tax-free and therefore both a gross and net salary), that equates to earning £87,500 in London at current exchange rates. To achieve that net salary, the gross salary would be equivalent to £145,000 (see http://www.thesalarycalculator.co.uk/salary.php).

$150,000 is the salary which is paid by a number of the major firms in Cayman to 3-4 PQE lawyers, and so that means they are earning the equivalent of £145,000 gross in London, which is a 60% increase on what even Magic Circle lawyers are earning in London at that level of PQE. This means that lawyers who move to Cayman can save significant amounts of money very quickly, even after taking into account the relatively high cost of living.

At one or two of the larger firms in Cayman, senior level associates can be earning some $300,000 per annum basic salary, which means that they are earning the equivalent of circa £300,000 gross back in the UK, more than many junior partners are earning at very respected City firms.
As with the major onshore firms, their offshore counterparts also offer annual bonuses (which, at some of the firms, can amount to an additional 25-30% or more of annual salary).

Assistance with relocation is always offered by major offshore firms and typically includes flights for you and your family, an initial period (usually 2-4 weeks) of free accommodation, plus an amount towards the cost of shipping your goods.

Tax in BVI is 8%, in Bermuda it is 4.75%, and in Guernsey and Jersey it is 20%.