At first glance, the Arch Insurance Co. looks like a local firm. After all, it indemnifies the Pattonville Fire Protection District in North St. Louis County and it shares the name with the world’s tallest roadside attraction.
But the name of the company is misleading. It’s not based in St. Louis. It’s not even headquartered in the United States. Instead, it’s located 1,500 miles away in middle of the Atlantic Ocean on the island of Bermuda, a British territory famous for short trousers and skirting taxes.
Arch Insurance is a subsidiary of Arch Capital Group, a multi-billion-dollar financial services firm. Arch Capital, in turn, is joined at the hip with Watford Re Ltd, which also uses the island as a tax haven. Watford’s investments are managed by High Bridge Principle Strategies, which is wholly-owned subsidiary of J.P. Morgan Chase, the global investment giant.
High Bridge was set up in last year following the 2013 crash of J.P. Morgan’s value. The nosedive occurred after the bank’s London branch lost $22 billion.
The influence of such a global powerhouse on a local community and its politics is never directly seen, of course.
It’s not even acknowledged.