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

The proposed five-year strategic plan for the financial services industry is expected to be presented by the Ministry of Financial Services and Investments next month.

*”The Government and its various agencies must lead the way in ensuring that The Bahamas acquires and maintains its place as a significant services market,”* according to Minister Allyson Maynard-Gibson. She says financial services centres will continue to be scrutinised and selected on the basis of:

-the quality and productivity of their service providers;

-the standards and regulation applied in the jurisdiction;

-the clarity of the jurisdiction’s policies;

-the speed with which various agencies respond to applications;

-the extent to which the jurisdiction responds speedily to market requirements;

-the extent to which the jurisdiction involves the private sector in policy formulation; and,

-the general environment for doing business in the jurisdiction.

It is the goal of the Government to transform the nation’s financial services sector into a blue chip, well-regulated sector that will contribute even more than it is doing now to the further growth of our economy. Continued the Minister, *”We fully recognise that the theatre of financial services is rapidly changing both locally and globally, and we must be ready and willing to meet and respond to the changes in order to compete on merit.”*

The Government is committed to involving citizens, private sector partners, and regulators in policy formation. The 5-year Strategic Plan of Action for financial services is being developed in consultation with industry. *”We are determined that all Bahamians and those who call The Bahamas their home should participate actively in the mission of The Bahamas seeing itself as competing with other financial centres,”* Minister Maynard-Gibson said.

Addressing the Association of International Banks and Trust Companies (AIBT) last week, the Minister confirmed that the plan will be unveiled in September. Bills required to improve the legislation framework supporting the plan are expected to be tabled in Parliament the following month.

The international banking environment is seen to involve a delicate relationship between regulation and business development, and Minister Maynard-Gibson has indicated that it is the goal of her Ministry to promote the sector, while the Ministry of Finance ensures that the regulatory framework is sound and secure.