The financial services sector showed significant resilience in 2004 as key measurements exceeded average results for the past 5 years. The results for 2004 are reported in the annual survey by The Central Bank of The Bahamas on the sector’s gross economic contribution to the country.

Despite the worldwide trend toward consolidation in the banking area, banks and trust companies in The Bahamas:

* Increased employment by 2.6 per cent, outpacing average growth of 0.4 per cent for the previous five years; and

* Increased total expenditure by 16.5 per cent, outpacing the five years’ average annual through 2003 of 3.6 percent;

* Increased capital expenditure programmes by more than 100 per cent over 2003;

* Increased staff training expenditures by 5.6 per cent over 2003.

Other survey findings included:

* The asset base of the international banking sector was stable, near $300 billion at the end of 2004.

* The number of banks and trust companies licensed to operate in the Bahamas stood at 266. The report notes that most banks have now complied with the Central Bank’s physical presence policy which was introduced in 2001.

* The number of active investment funds operating from or within The Bahamas rose to 838 in 2004 from 721 in 2003 with the corresponding value of assets under management increasing to $163.4 billion in 2004.

* The number of licensed insurance companies, brokers, agents and managers rose by 8 to 161 in 2004.