The Central Bank of the Bahamas is set to license 30 new financial institutions within the next four months, confirmed Government Leader in the Senate Dr Ronald Knowles yesterday.

During recent Debate on various amendments to financial services legislation, Government Senate Leader Dr. Ronald Knowles pointed to the still strong investor confidence in the financial services sector.

There were reports that The Central Bank of The Bahamas has confirmed ongoing new bank and trust licensing activity, with new licences being issued and others in various stages of preparation in the categories of Banks, Banks and Trusts, Trusts and Restricted Trusts. According to the Central Bank’s Quarterly Economic Review, physical presence requirements are expected to create a positive short term effect on the local economy. The Senate Leader said, *”This requirement makes it mandatory for public banks and trust companies to maintain appropriate physical presence in the jurisdiction, which extends to the maintenance of accounting records and personnel at the senior level, and will also result in additional staffing needs to effect anti-money laundering compliance.”*

The enactment of relevant legislation at the end of 2000, and the advancement of the amendments currently before the Senate, demonstrates the Government’s commitment to appropriate regulation and supervision of the country’s financial sector, according to Dr. Knowles. He pointed out, for example, the potentially grave impact on the nation’s ability to process financial transactions requiring clearing by institutions in FATF countries – and the threat to acquiring QI/QJ status with the US Treasury – had the Government not taken appropriate action. *”The inability to access foreign securities markets would have had a disastrous effect on the offshore banking industry in the Bahamas.”* he said.