BFSB’s CEO & Executive Director Wendy C. Warren participated in the recent Caribbean Commercial Law Workshop in Miami Beach, Florida, serving on the Panel “Building a Thriving Caribbean Financial Services Sector”.
In introductory comments, Ms Warren told the gathering of lawyers that it was her firm belief the legal profession is *”a founding pillar for the success of a financial centre.”* Her presentation spoke to some of the other essential components for success in financial services, focusing on issues such as the overall health of a society; monitoring developments in the international community; the unlimited choices in the international market; need to be constantly up to date not only on financial products but also financial regulation and risks of fraud, money laundering and terrorist financing; and maintaining an appropriate level of visibility.
Pointing to the fact that many of the banks, trusts, fund administrators, investment managers and insurance companies in ofcs find their headquarters outside of their jurisdictions, Ms. Warren said law firms are quite often the primary native institutions participating in the international financial services sector. *”Consequently, the quality of service, expertise and integrity demonstrated by those in the legal profession provides an immediate and often lasting impression of the service quality, expertise and integrity of the jurisdiction as a whole.”* She said to the attorneys present, *”You are often on the front lines in international financial services and are therefore our ambassadors.”*
The legal profession was encouraged to take the lead in reinvesting for the growth of the sector. And finally, given the strong nexus to the jurisdiction, legal firms were seen as having the role of primary watchdogs in the private sector on behalf of the jurisdiction. *”With your success so closely aligned with that of the jurisdiction, I sincerely believe that the active positive participation of the legal profession in the sector is a primary ingredient for building a thriving Caribbean Financial Services Center.”*
Noting that the ability to build a thriving financial services centre rests with its people, Ms. Warren concluded with a call for a commitment from industry practitioners to:
· Provide the catalyst in our societies for social, political and fiscal stability
· Proactively monitor developments in our environment and be a part of the solution
· Provide quality customer service, expert advice and integrity in the conduct of our affairs
·Increase our opportunity for success through effective partnerships, both within our individual jurisdictions and with our Caribbean partners
· Pursue public relations & communication with influential groupings & key decision makers
· Promote the jurisdiction as well as your individual firms
· Fiercely protect our reputations
· Reinvest for our jurisdictions’ success.
This Fifth Annual Workshop was hosted by the University of the West Indies, Faculty of Law. It included other topics of current importance in the Caribbean Region — Commercial Litigation, Financial Products, Crisis Management, Intellectual Property Rights and Corporate Governance.