Prime Minister Hubert A. Ingraham

In remarks at the Opening Ceremony for new offices of BSI Overseas (Bahamas) Ltd. at Bayside Executive Park on Friday, Prime Minister The Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham indicated that he believes this to be a particularly good time to be opening new banking offices in The Bahamas as “internal matters impacting the stability of our financial services sector have been dealt with effectively”. The Prime Minister was referencing the package of new industry legislation enacted to address concerns raised by various supranational initiatives, and specifically stated that over the past twelve months the legislative and administrative initiatives of The Bahamas have been primarily concerned with improving the regulation and supervision of the financial services sector.

The Bahamas recognises and accepts that if its financial services industry is to succeed and grow, its laws, its supervision, and its regulation of financial services have to be of the highest standard and quality, the Prime Minister said. He continued, “..we confidently maintain, today, that the legislation, regulation and implementation structures are in place to ensure a quality financial services sector. And the same may be said of our oversight supervision of the sector”.

With particular regard to banking, Prime Minister Ingraham pointed out that legislation permitting on-site inspection and cross border supervision of Bahamian-based financial institutions addresses concerns of the Financial Stability Forum, fully meeting international best practices and the standards established by the Basle Committee on Bank Supervision.

The Government Leader also took the opportunity to comment on some concerns expressed about the onerous procedures for complying with certain aspects of the new legislative package. “The financial services sector — including lawyers, accountants and others – can be assured that the necessary ‘tweaking’ of the legislation will be carried out so as not to require unnecessary red tape in our financial services sector, and diminish our competitive advantage”, said the Prime Minister.

Also reported on this occasion was amendment of relevant laws to provide for the conclusion of agreements with other countries, so as to facilitate the exchange of criminal information under specified terms and conditions. With regard to negotiations underway with the United States on the conclusion of a TIEA, Prime Minister Ingraham assured the industry that any such Agreement would not exceed “the level of exchange of information agreed on by our competitors in the delivery of financial services — be they OECD or non-OECD member countries”.