The Hon. Allyson Maynard Gibson, M.P.
Minister of Financial Services and Investments

Addressing a Luncheon Meeting of the Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers (BACO) yesterday, the new Minister of Financial Services and Investments reiterated the Government’s intention to restore The Bahamas to its pre-eminent position as a financial services centre.

Reaffirming commitments for a broad approach, and the establishment of a Financial Services Consultative Forum, Mrs. Maynard Gibson said her Ministry *”will remain fully committed in its partnership with the private sector in terms of national development.”* Industry input is being sought on a number of issues, including new financial services products seen as necessary for the further development of the industry and streamlining the provision of financial services.

With particular regard to money laundering, The Bahamas Government remains committed to the safeguarding of the country’s financial systems and to ensuring continued compliance with international norms and standards. There is continued support for the existing legislative regime as it relates to the “know your customer” (KYC) regime of financial service providers. The Government will examine more closely, however, the nature of the financial services provided, and the risks associated with particular business areas.

The Minister further pointed out that the financial services industry has many positive effects on the Bahamian economy, including a direct contribution to the nation’s tourism product.

Speaking during a session of the House of Assembly earlier this week, the Minister revealed that the Government will release a five-year plan for further development of the financial services sector. Also forecast was the establishment of a hot line for comments and concerns on measures necessary to make The Bahamas more attractive for inward investment. At that time, the Minister referenced the goal of making The Bahamas more competitive in the provision of financial services through the development of new products and ensuring the quality of service. Client expectations must be exceeded, she stated.

*”Our programmes will be investor friendly and we welcome everybody to the table as we review the present policies,”* according to Mrs. Maynard-Gibson. This echoed sentiments expressed earlier in the month at one of her first public speaking engagements as the new Minister of Financial Services and Investments. Addressing a BFSB-sponsored Offshore Insurance Conference on May 17, she said the Government is pro-business, committed to the recognition of the dignity of all persons working in the financial services industry, and resolute about the need for all involved in the sector to feel that they are stakeholders in the industry. *”The success of this sector of our economy is where it ought to be – in the hands of the Bahamian people, amongst whom I include those who call The Bahamas their home,”*concluded Minister Maynard Gibson.