Over nearly four centuries of benign British rule, tiny Bermuda has turned into the thriving home of $14 billion in mutual-fund assets and of insurers with $29 billion in capital. Now, this financial mecca may be facing a change in governance.
On Aug. 15, the British colony plans to vote on Premier John W. Swan's long-sought goal: independence. Bermuda's commercial Establishment, fearful that a shift in the colony's status might scare business away, is trying to reassure investors that independence would
not end its laissez-faire ways. Polls show that voters are strongly against independence.