BFSB has announced plans for the **Bahamas Financial Services Retreat** to be held on January 28 through 30, 2005. This annual event serves to bring together stakeholders from the government, the regulators and financial services industry practitioners for intense discussion of the key drivers of the industry. The primary objective of such interaction is to formulate strategies for the growth of The Bahamas financial services industry, while also providing opportunities for networking in the surroundings of Exuma and the Four Seasons Emerald Bay Resort.

**Strategic Planning**

Wendy Warren, BFSB’s CEO & Executive Director says that for this year’s Retreat BFSB was pleased to have the public sector delegation led by the Prime Minister, along with the Minister of Financial Services & Investment, the Attorney General, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, the Governor of the Central Bank, the Acting Executive Director of the Securities Commission, the Registrar of Insurance Companies, and a Member of the Compliance Commission, with other Government Officials. The Leader of the Opposition led the delegation from the official opposition. These public sector officials joined a wide cross section of industry practitioners from BFSB’s membership, representing the banking and trust, investment funds and securities, insurance, legal, accounting and public relations sectors.

The agenda for the 2005 Retreat has been fine tuned to allow for discussions among the Bahamas stakeholders on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning through to the mid-afternoon. External guests, including representatives from the head offices of Bahamas based institutions and intermediaries focused on wealth management, are being invited to join the discussions held on Saturday.

Social events on January 30th will involve the first Bahamas Financial Services Golf Tournament, and boating. The Four Seasons Emerald Bay Resort will serve as the venue for all meals during the Retreat.

As in 2004, the purpose of the 3-day event will be to generate constructive dialogue amongst private and public sector representatives on ‘The Way Forward’ for the financial services industry of The Bahamas. To this end, BFSB again will provide an environment generating trust in the confidentiality of individual input, while at the same time promoting strong private/public sector interaction.

BFSB Chairman Michael Paton said the small working group settings used have proven to be highly successful in generating input from all Retreat participants. During the course of this year, BFSB undertook the task of ensuring that several critical recommendations were brought to fruition, and continues to work on the Action Plan developed post Retreat.

Wendy Warren maintains that the similar high level of participation anticipated for the 2005 event is a testimony to the recognition by all stakeholders of the importance of the industry to the overall economic well being of the nation. *“The willingness of government and private sector leaders to devote time and resources to this initiative bodes well for the continued development of financial services,”* she said.