The 2005 Bahamas Financial Services Retreat was hosted this past weekend in Exuma. BFSB’s CEO & Executive Director Wendy C. Warren says the objective of the annual event is to allow focused discussion of matters affecting the sustainability and success of the financial services industry.

The event attracted over 90 persons, including Government ministers and officials, the official opposition, industry regulators, and the private sector. The breakdown by participants reflected 11 persons from 7 government ministries and departments; 4 persons from the official opposition; 6 persons from 3 of the regulatory bodies; 14 persons from 8 industry associations or non-governmental bodies; and 59 persons from the private sector, representing 36 companies. The Government Ministers included the Hon. Allyson Maynard-Gibson, Minister of Financial Services and Investments; Hon. Vincent A. Peet, Minister of Labour and Immigration; and Sen. the Hon. James H. Smith, Minister of State for Finance.

BFSB had been intimately involved with the development of the 5 year strategic plan for financial services introduced in 2002. With the number of legislative improvements introduced over the past two years, the organisation last year approached the Ministry of Financial Services and Investments to reopen discussions on strategies for the next 5 years in financial services. It was BFSB’s hope that such review would address in greater detail The Bahamas’ plan for growth in this sector – and the Ministry agreed.

During 2004, BFSB held 2 focus groups to discuss the strategic review, as a result of which the Board agreed that a fact based understanding of the global landscape for financial services was an essential foundation to the productive dialogue on strategy. The Board is pleased that the Ministry of Financial Services and Investments and the Association of International Banks and Trust Companies in The Bahamas (AIBT) both agreed with this approach and jointly with BFSB sponsored the development of such a Report, subsequently prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers (UK).

The Retreat opened with a presentation on a **Market Analysis of Financial Services** by PwC’s Mr. Bruce Weatherill, Global Leader of the Private Bank/Wealth Management Practice, who had developed the Report for the sponsoring agencies. It closed with comments from a Government Panel, which included the participating Ministers, as well as the Leader of the Opposition, Sen. Tommy Turnquest. These final discussions, as throughout the 2-day programme, revolved around issues relating to the “Way Forward” for the financial services sector.

The Board of BFSB will review the consolidated reports of the Retreat’s Plenary and Breakout sessions on February 2, when a detailed action plan for 2005 will be agreed and disseminated both to members and Retreat participants.