Central Bank of The Bahamas**
The Governor of the Central Bank describes The Bahamas as one of the more significant financial jurisdictions operating in the world of financial services in a number of areas, and says it is in a position to compete with some of the best in the world.
The Governor adds that maintaining an overall reputation as a first class financial centre is of the utmost importance in order for the country to remain a serious contender in international financial services and a jurisdiction that people choose to conduct business in. *”No investor who is really serious is going to look only at a particular sector that happens to be of interest to him.”* According to Mr. Francis, investors will also want to be satisfied that the broad thrust of the policies of The Bahamas, the management of the economy, and the quality of human and other resources which are available to them are consistent with good business.
**Investor Friendly Image**
A jurisdiction cannot be seen as a disreputable financial sector that harbours questionable clients and illicit funds and yet expect first class investors to choose the jurisdiction over others. He described recent investments such as the expanded $1 billion investment of Kezner International as an obvious example.
*”I believe the fact that we are experiencing some success in attracting these excellent projects to The Bahamas is also as a result of satisfying the international community that The Bahamas continues to be serious about how we do business and that we are committed to doing a god job,”* Mr. Francis said.
Specifically referencing the Central Bank’s requirement for banking institutions to maintain a physical presence as an example, he said there have been resulting gains to the jurisdiction. *”If you look at the employment numbers in the banking sector over the last four years, there hasn’t been any significant reduction. In fact extremely little for a short period and then because of compliance resource needs the numbers immediately began to turn up again.”*
The Central Bank has implemented standards requiring all banking and trust entities to establish a physical presence in The Bahamas by June 30, 2004. Guidelines provide for a minimum level of dedicated senior management staffing and physical facilities – including documentation of activities and record keeping.
According to its annual report, by the end of 2003, the programme was progressing according to plan, with 216 institutions in full compliance with the physical presence requirements, 29 in the process of meeting the requirements, and 39 remaining under approved administration.
*(Extracts, in part, from the Governor’s remarks at this year’s Bahamas Institute of Financial Services Week Seminar Programme)*