**Hon. Allyson Maynard-Gibson, M.P.**

The Minister of Financial Services and Investments says that as *”a responsible and significant player in the international arena”* The Bahamas takes its international obligations very seriously, and is committed to cooperating with its neighbours in the global fight to ensure the integrity and security of the world’s financial system.

*”Information sharing and strong regulation of the financial services sector are important tools governments have in the global effort to protect the world’s financial systems and our economies, and in the fight against international criminal activity,”* said Minister Maynard-Gibson.

The Minister provided introductory remarks for a BFSB Member Forum on International Cooperation, held on Friday, September 30. The interactive discussions aimed to ensure an adequate level of understanding of various international cooperation developments by stakeholders in the industry. To provide an update, representatives from the Government, Industry Regulators and the FIU participated in Roundtable Discussions on matters including FATF, Basel Committee, IOSCO and the Egmont Group.

According to the Minister, international cooperative efforts have their best chance of success in circumstances where there is universal development of, acceptance of, adherence to, and enforcement of relevant initiatives or standards. *”Inconsistencies in standards between large and small nations, OECD and non-OECD can only be avoided where we sit at the same table, evaluated by the same measures and when penalties are consistently applied.”* She continued, *” We believe that here in The Bahamas we have merged the best agreed international principles with our strong respect for the legitimate right to privacy to produce a blue chip well regulated and cooperative jurisdiction.”*

The Minister reported that as part of international cooperative efforts, industry regulatory agencies have entered into a number of international arrangements and agreements, including membership in the Egmont Group of FIUs and the International Organisation of Securities Commissions, and compliance with the stipulations of the Basle Committee. The Bahamas has Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) with the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Other countries can request assistance under the Criminal Justice (International Cooperation) Act or the Evidence (Proceedings in Other Jurisdictions) Act.

Also referenced was the Handbook on Information Sharing Arrangements released by the Group of Financial Services Regulators (GFSR) earlier this year. This handbook provides an overview of the regulatory information sharing framework in The Bahamas under its financial services legislation. At the time the Handbook was released, the GFSR said The Bahamas is committed to full and timely exchange of information, within the law, between Bahamian and foreign financial services regulators.

The GFSR consists of the Central Bank of The Bahamas, the Securities Commission of The Bahamas, the Office of the Registrar of Insurance Companies, the Inspector of Financial and Corporate Services and the Compliance Commission.