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

Minister Maynard-Gibson presented remarks this afternoon on the occasion of the biannual meeting of the Association of International Banks & Trust Companies (AIBT), when new members were welcomed.

AIBT was established in 1976 to represent international banks and trust companies operating from The Bahamas. The Association works with its members to promote professional standards in the industry – through an established Code of Conduct – and continued success and understanding of the banking sector.

The Minister recognised AIBT as a key player in “Team Bahamas”, noting the tangible and cooperative support given to the development of financial services – the second pillar of the Bahamian economy.

As a proponent of self governance, she said, AIBT has always been assiduous about maintaining internationally accepted best practices, including those related to the KYC regime. *”In 1996 when The Bahamas criminalized money laundering, one of the first jurisdictions to do so, AIBT was at the forefront implementing new practices and cooperating with the Central Bank.”*

**Product Development & Promotion**

Particularly acknowledged was AIBT’s continuing effort to keep The Bahamas on the cutting edge through new product development and constant training and retraining of members.

The Financial Services Industry Minister further commented on a number of important projects funded by AIBT and its member firms. These included proposals for Foundations and Purpose Trust Legislation; review of the TIEA Bill, in conjunction with the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB); promoting the use of Private Trust Companies; and the Financial Community Advanced Technical Educational Trust.

Referencing plans presently underway for a promotional trip early in the New Year, the Minister indicated that the need for all stakeholders to travel cannot be overemphasized, while acknowledging the ongoing contribution of AIBT in facilitating meetings by Government and BFSB with counterparts and intermediaries in key marketplaces.

New members of AIBT were welcomed and encouraged to become active within the organization. *”History will show that AIBT has always been at the forefront in promoting the interests of The Bahamas. I believe the atmosphere exists for even more involvement and cooperation.”* The Association and its members were assured of government’s continued commitment to dialogue with the private sector. *”In The Bahamas consultation has been institutionalised. Because of this, you will always be a part of a process that results in the development of government policy impacting the financial sector.”*

**New Developments**

Minister Maynard-Gibson took the opportunity to report that her Ministry has flagged a number of financial services key objectives for 2004:

· the establishment of The Bahamas as an Arbitration Centre;

· the Domestic and External Insurance Bills;

· cooperation with the Ministry of Transport in the establishment of an Aircraft Registry;

· completion of the computerization of the Registrar General’s Department; and

· upgrading of services at the Registrar of Insurance

A Purpose Trust Bill is now in final form and expected to be tabled in Parliament before the end of the year, while a Foundations Bill is being finalised and is expected to be tabled early in the New Year, together with a Financial and Corporate Service Providers Amendment Bill.