Local Agencies Co-Sponsor STEP Caribbean Conference

Financial services contribute significantly to the economy of The Bahamas. And, according to Central Bank Governor Julian Francis, registered banks and trust have assets of $300 million, with some $1,000 billion under management. This represents about four fifths of financial services business, which broadly contributes about 20% to the GDP. Importantly, a large percentage of the banks and trust companies operating in The Bahamas are subsidiaries of world wide financial institutions; in fact, originating from 28 countries.

Trust statute law is contained in the Trustee Act 1998, which codified earlier trust law whilst recognising emerging trends in the requirements of the modern Settlor. Adding to the strength of The Bahamas as the jurisdiction of choice for trust business are the Fraudulent Dispositions and the Trusts (Choice of Governing Law) Acts which provide creditor protection. Trusts established in the Bahamas are protected from attacks by creditors who seek to attack the trust more than two years after the assets are settled into it, and there are specific provisions for the protection of trust assets from forced heirship claims. In the area of tax planning, trusts can also provide protection from estate and other taxes.

Currently, approximately 150 companies hold unrestricted trust licences in The Bahamas, with a number of other companies holding restricted trust licenses.

The Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP), the professional body for the trust and estate profession worldwide, plays an important role in professional development.

STEP Miami and STEP Barbados will be hosts for the annual STEP Caribbean Conference, identified as *”The Premier Forum for Trust Professionals in 2002″.* Under the theme “No Man Is An Island”, the Conference is scheduled for May 6-8 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami. STEP Bahamas participated on the Conference Steering Committee, and the Association of International Banks and Trust Companies (AIBT) and the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) are platinum co-sponsors. Addressing every aspect of Wealth, Mobility and the International Client, STEP Caribbean Conference will feature a broad array of international industry practitioners. From The Bahamas, these include Pamela Klonaris, Klonaris & Co. and Sean McWeeney, Graham, Thompson & Co. Richard Hay of Stikeman Elliott, Counsel to the government of The Bahamas, advising on the OECD and other supranational initiatives, will address the Forum on “Regulatory and Current Events In The World of the OECD”

See PDF below for details on STEP Caribbean Conference 2002.