International initiatives relating to anti-money laundering regulations and the so-called “harmful tax practices” have seen financial service providers around the world subjected to increased due diligence, document transparency and acceptance of some restrictive regulations. In The Bahamas, practitioners such as Oceanic Bank & Trust point out that traditional structures, such as the trust and international business company (IBC), are likely to be used in conjunction with more compliant structures or be replaced.

In a recent release, Oceanic points out:

*”The Bahamas has enacted legislation that will ensure international standards and best practices are observed, while still maintaining our competitive position and client confidentiality. The principal Bahamian islands, namely New Providence and Grand Bahama, are convenient to most major U.S. cities. Modern communications, competitive costs and access to top tier professional services, make it an attractive location. Most importantly, The Bahamas does not tax corporate earnings, capital gains, dividends or sales.”*

And, like other industry practitioners, Oceanic has a clear vision for developing strategies to compete in the new environment, given the many advantages The Bahamas has to offer.

In addition to structures already available under current legislation for a variety of wealth management strategies, Oceanic is looking forward to new vehicles, draft legislation for which is already before the Bahamas Government. These include:

– Purpose Trusts, allowing for trust arrangements that benefit either private or public purposes, are perpetual in duration and may even have mixed applications to benefit both persons and purposes.

– Protected Cell Companies, which provide protection for the assets of one corporate account from the liabilities of other corporate accounts.

– Private Foundations, having the characteristics of a company without shareholders and yet providing trust benefits of privacy, asset protection and estate planning.

The draft e-business enabling legislation expected to be presented to Parliament this year, also is viewed as crucial to the development of the domestic electronic commerce business, and to attracting international business to The Bahamas. These include the Data Protection (Privacy of Personal Information), Electronic Communications and Transactions, and Computer Misuse Bills.