In collaboration with the Bahamas Association of Mutual Fund Administrators (BAMFA), BFSB hosted a Members Business Forum on Monday, February 17, for the purpose of providing an analysis of the new Investments Funds Bill, and the opportunity for members to provide further input to the Securities Commission of The Bahamas. The Bill, replacing the existing Mutual Funds Act, is expected to be tabled in Parliament by the end of the month.

Presenting remarks at the working session, the Hon. Allyson Maynard-Gibson, M.P., Minister of Financial Services and Investments, described the Investment Funds Bill as a progressive piece of legislation. She applauded it as creating a ‘genuine’ regulatory structure, while providing an environment that will not stifle the flexibility and creativity of an industry that is fast moving. *”This delicate balance could only have been achieved through a process which involved all of the stakeholders of the legislation…..a manifestation of the benefits that can be achieved as a result of a marriage between the industry and government.”* she said.

The Bill aims to improve the business framework of the funds sector, by removing impracticalities and enhancing the attractiveness of The Bahamas as a “jurisdiction of choice”. Effectively, the legislation creates a new licensing structure for funds as well as new regulatory requirements for funds administered by bank & trust companies. The regulatory authority, the Securities Commission, is to be provided with ‘administrative sanctioning’ powers, an international regulatory norm that will serve to assist in achieving its core mandate of ensuring orderly, fair and equitable dealings in the mutual fund, securities and capital markets.

When the new Board of the Securities Commission of The Bahamas was appointed last fall, Prime Minister the Hon. Perry G. Christie, M.P. said The Bahamas must aspire – with renewed energy and sharper focus – to innovative product development, promotional flair, professional competence, and legislative and regulatory support within the securities industry.

Brian Moree, Chairman of the Financial Services Consultative Forum, hails the Bill as a major step in efforts to regain The Bahamas’ competitive advantage in the international financial services market. He too says it includes innovative and interesting provisions while at the same time ensuring proper regulatory oversight and supervision of funds. *”It does strike a sensible balance between the regulatory issues and market demands.”* he said. The FSCF was appointed by the Prime Minister as a “Think Tank” of industry experts to which the Government will look for opinions and development strategies to reposition the financial services industry to better meet the needs of the international financial markets. *”Their input to the development of the financial services industry ensures that The Bahamas is a cutting edge blue chip financial center,”* said Prime Minister Christie.

Minister Maynard-Gibson is confident that with the advise and recommendations from the Consultative Forum, together with her Ministry’s collaboration with the Bahamas Financial Services Board, The Bahamas *”will achieve success and become one of the leading financial centres in the world.”*

BFSB and BAMFA collaborated in providing input to the Securities Commission as it crafted the new legislation.