A Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) team met with 45 institutions/firms and more than 200 intermediaries during its recently completed two-week European briefing visit.

The BFSB group traveled to Vienna, Zurich, Geneva, Lugano and London to brief European intermediaries and institutions on developments in the Bahamas’ financial services industry. Members of the BFSB team included the Board’s Chairman Michael Paton, Vice Chairman Bruno Roberts, Executive Director Wendy Warren, and Association of International Banks and Trusts Companies (AIBT) Chairman Andrew Law. Maria Ferere, Deputy Chairman of the Financial Services Consultative Forum (FSCF) joined the team for two days during their London visit. While abroad, the team also met with representatives of the media for the finance industry.

BFSB members, institutional colleagues, Friends of The Bahamas members, and others also participated in special BFSB presentations in Geneva, Zurich and London. In London, one of the presentations was co-sponsored by Withers Worldwide, a premier international legal firm, and BFSB participated in and sponsored an event and booth at the 17th Annual Transcontinental Trusts Conference.

*”The European briefing visits not only provided an opportunity for BFSB, on behalf of the industry, to maintain and build relationships but to gain insight into evolving trends and the needs of the global financial services market place,”* said Chairman Michael Paton.

Deputy Chairman Bruno Roberts said, *”During the presentations, participants were updated on The Bahamas progression over the past three years from a jurisdiction focused on defending its reputation and effectively responding to significant worldwide developments to an international center that is now focused on innovation, client service and legislative developments to support an increasingly specialised industry.”*

The BFSB team reiterated The Bahamas’ pro-business environment and its commitment to international standards and best practices, and also highlighted The Bahamas’ positive relations with the United States.

Existing product offerings were reviewed as well as developing businesses, including investment management and family office domiciliation, and the continued interest in the second home market.

Recent and foreshadowed legislative initiatives including investment funds, e-commerce, protected cell companies, purpose trusts, private trust companies and foundations were discussed as well. The investment funds bill was discussed as a legislative initiative seeking to reinforce both a sound regulatory environment and provide an innovative way of conducting investment business – and as a model for private sector contribution to the growth and development of the industry. In this case, a proposal submitted to the Securities Commission of The Bahamas in January 2002 was reviewed and considered in line with good public policy. It is anticipated that this will shortly be enacted in legislation.

Ms Warren said the BFSB team tailored the presentation of The Bahamas’ story for the various audiences. She also noted that the BFSB team was very pleased that The Bahamas’ message was not only well received by European institutions and advisors, but also prompted participants to offer a number of important suggestions for consideration.

*”It was accepted that The Bahamas is a dynamic, mature democracy which resolutely protects its reputation and is a committed global partner in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing,”* said CEO & Executive Director Wendy Warren.