Wendy C. Warren
CEO & Executive Director
Bahamas Financial Services Board
**December 31, 2002 Deadline for KYC**
The Government of The Bahamas, in response to requests from the nation’s financial service providers and in recognition of industry’s commitment and efforts to date to be in full compliance with the Know Your Customer Regulations, has agreed to extend to December 31, 2002 the period for identifying all accounts established prior to January 1, 2001. These Regulations were promulgated pursuant to the Financial Transactions Reporting Act introduced in December 2000. The government had extended the initial deadline of December 31, 2001 to June 30, 2002.
*”International and domestic financial services firms have committed tremendous effort and resources to this exercise. They indicated to government that whilst they were able to substantially complete the exercise, they are unable to meet the 30 June deadline,”* stated Wendy Warren of BFSB. *”All involved in this very important sector of our economy want to ensure that every opportunity is given for financial service providers to be in full compliance with the Regulations. It is expected that by December 31, 2002 industry should be able to complete the review of all facilities established prior to January 1, 2001.”*
The Bahamas introduced legislation in late 2000 that required all accounts, including accounts established prior to the introduction of the legislation, to be in full compliance with the country’s modernised Know Your Customer regulations.
The Bahamas’ legislative and regulatory framework, designed to prevent and, if necessary, detect money laundering, has been recognised as being in full compliance with international standards.
*”The financial service providers are pleased with Government’s decision to extend the deadline”* stated Ms. Wendy Warren. *”They are committed to growing a blue chip financial center and look forward to continued collaboration with the Government in this regard. They support Government’s commitment to position The Bahamas as a blue chip, well regulated and cooperative international financial centre.”*
The Act & Regulations were part of the financial restructuring at the end of 2000, strengthening the anti-money laundering laws of the country.
The FTRA set out a range of businesses deemed “financial institutions” for purposes of and within the scope of that Act. It imposed upon such financial institutions duties of verification of identity of a facility holder, record keeping requirements and the requirement to report knowledge or suspicion of money laundering to the FIU. The FTRA also established a Compliance Commission with oversight of certain financial institutions for the limited purpose of ensuring compliance with the provisions of the FTRA.
The Financial Intelligence (Transactions Reporting) Regulations (FITRR) were made under enabling powers set out in the Financial Intelligence Unit Act but contain regulations which are companion to the FTRA and FTRR. The FITRR requires that financial institutions within the scope of the FTRA establish identification, record keeping, suspicious transactions reporting and staff training procedures for the prevention and detection of money laundering.