**BFSB Business Seminar Series**

On May 17, the Bahamas Financial Services Board hosted a Business Seminar focusing on Insurance as a tax compliant business development tool in today’s transparent global environment. Cosponsoring the one-day event were the Britannia Consulting Group, MeesPierson (Bahamas) Ltd., and Lighthouse Capital Insurance Ltd.

In opening remarks, new Minister of Financial Services And Investments, the Hon. Allyson Maynard Gibson, M.P., said *”By meeting here you have clearly indicated your awareness of the need to identify and develop new products and services, and to review alternative wealth management strategies and tools to meet the ever growing sophistication of the international market.”* She noted that The Bahamas already has firms specialising in structures involving tax compliant insurance products, and that the Ministry and industry look forward to further developments in this area. The Minister further stated that practitioners have labeled the existing External Insurance Act of The Bahamas as user friendly and progressive. Nevertheless, she continued, *”To stay on the cutting edge, plans are underway for review of the External Insurance Act to ensure ongoing relevance to the needs of a rapidly developing market.”*

Targetting the banking and trust, asset management, legal and accounting sectors, the BFSB Seminar Series programme presented opportunities for maintaining and enhancing the client base of these practitioners. Specifically promoted was the use of various insurance vehicles as viable alternatives to corporations, trusts and other structures in the international tax planning arena.

Panelists included a diverse field of experts from the United States, Canada, and The Bahamas, and covered topics such as:

*- The Benefits of Insurance As An Asset Holding Vehicle;
– Linkages With Private Banking & Asset Management Services;
– Products For The U.S., Canadian and Latin American Markets;
– Issues Relating To The Distribution of Insurance Products in North America; and the
– Use Of “Captives” As A Wealth Management Tool for High Net Worth Individuals.*

Dr. Roger G. Brown, Registrar of Insurance Companies, also presented welcoming remarks and spoke to the importance given to the financial services industry by the new Government of The Bahamas, as manifested in the appointment of the new Ministry of Financial Services And Investments. On the matter of revamping the External Insurance Act, he noted that his Office is working toward having a draft ready for circulation by the end of July, promising full consultation with industry prior to its submission to the Minister.

Referencing the extensive technical papers and presentations, the Registrar indicated that a sub theme of the seminar might well be “How Working Your Insurance Business In Or From The Bahamas Can Be Of Benefit To Both Policyholders and Shareholders”. With specific regard to Captives, Dr. Brown noted, *”We believe The Bahamas can become, again, the premier domicile in the region for Captive Insurance business. We are restructuring and retooling, and will start very soon to reclaim our position at the top.”*

The Registrar invited seminar participants who might be looking for a home for their off-shore insurance business to consider locating in The Bahamas.