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OJ Bermuda: Vinny Hughes

Vinny Hughes

24 May 2022

by Vinny Hughes

Vinny, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?

I’m Vinny, I’ve worked for Oliver James for 8 years now. I originally started with the business in the UK and was part of the original team to move over to NY to set up our North American entity. During that time I specialized in recruiting life and annuity actuaries across the US, Canada, Bermuda and Cayman. A couple of years ago after moving back to UK and with the need for actuarial talent in Bermuda growing, I decided to transition back to and further develop the offshore markets. I manage a smaller but very experienced team, which makes my life a lot easier and the service of a much higher calibre.

As the Associate Director of OJ Bermuda and Cayman, what will you be responsible for?

Our plan is to build out OJ’s capabilities across not only actuarial but Risk & Compliance, Underwriting, Legal, Accountancy and Finance across Bermuda, and then the broader offshore market. Our ultimate goal for the next 2-3 years, is to develop those areas so there is quite a lot of exciting growth ahead for OJ.

Will you explore new disciplines throughout the upcoming years?

Potentially, as time comes. The great thing about the insurance market is that it is constantly evolving. Oliver James has been continuously evolving in parallel with this over the last 20 years, where different niches and specialties have come up, we’ve recognised those markets. Therefore our current plan is to continue doing this, however the good thing about plans is that they can always change. Given OJ’s recent growth, in a few years we could be having a completely different conversation.

What type of businesses do you work with?

We work mainly with reinsurance companies. Essentially, the reason Bermuda financial services market is so buoyant is that there are a number of regulations set by the BMA (Local regulator) that mean companies are not required to hold as much capital to go and execute deals. To compliment this, there are a number of favourable tax vehicles in place for new businesses to take advantage of. Therefore Bermuda has become a sort of epicentre for mergers, acquisitions and large reinsurance deals. We’ve seen a huge rise in reinsurance companies that are US focused, who are looking to capitalise on a very busy annuity market, so Bermuda is an extremely good strategic and regulatory position to capitalize on.

What can the Bermuda market expect from the team at OJ?

In a nutshell, quick, accelerated growth, big fees and big commission. What we can do is open up doors globally. There are a number of reinsurance companies who set up in Bermuda and are now turned into headquarters, which will be having presences either through mergers and acquisitions around the world. Therefore, we’ll be able to strategically put ourselves at the forefront of the Oliver James’ business to open up doors for teams throughout Europe, APAC and America.

Where do you see the Bermuda market in 5-10 years’ time?

It’ll be very different. At the moment there’s an ever expanding bubble in Bermuda which seems to be getting bigger and bigger. I estimate that in the next 5-10 years’ time we’ll see a lot of consolidation between the reinsurance companies who are at a certain size now and getting bigger. However, there will be reinsurance companies who will be bought out due to not being able to keep up, meaning the structure of the market will change significantly in the next 5-10 years. This will hopefully lead towards more opportunities for us at OJ for example, working with much bigger entities.

We do a lot of work in the Caymans as well, the Caymans is probably 5-6 years behind where Bermuda is now so that’s an extremely exciting market to monitor. A lot of businesses are trying to set up and capitalize from this, so we’re keeping a close eye on this market for our own expansion and growth.

What are you most looking forward to?

Personally, being a strategic partner with some really exciting firms, there are businesses set up in Bermuda who will be shaping how insurance and reinsurance looks globally over the next 10-20 years. To be able to partner with them and hire top talent for them is an exhilarating prospect, not to mention also being able to help shape them on their prospective journeys.

What opportunities are there for people wanting to work at OJ in your team?

At current, we are searching for talent in the States, the UK and Europe. There is opportunity to perform extremely well financially, on a very quick scale. With that comes the opportunity to accelerate your career, which we will support every step of the way. There are markets we’re looking at such as the Caymans, which as mentioned will be very big with lots of ownership, so there will be opportunities to venture into this. With sectors in Europe and the US, there is a lot of ‘slicing and dicing’, whereas in what we currently do there is a considerably less competition, resulting in more ownership and control in markets. With this comes more opportunity for us.

The world of contracting: Where stability meets flexibility | Wednesday 20 Oct | 1pm

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