The Bahamas has received The Banker Award as **Best International Financial Centre in the Western Hemisphere**. The Financial Times Group publication engaged in a “high level research” to identify leading International Financial Centres (IFC) across the world. Stephen Timewell, Editor-in-Chief of The Banker said they identified IFCs *“that offer banks and financial institutions the best locations and infrastructure to carry out their business and serve their clients.”*
Wendy Warren, CEO of the Bahamas Financial Services Board, says *”We are pleased to receive this Award. It not only reflects our long history in providing financial services, which dates back to the 1930s, but also recognises the many progressive developments in our jurisdiction as we continue to meet the requirements of an increasingly sophisticated financial services marketplace.”*
Ms. Warren also speaks to the close public and private sector dialogue that has played a crucial role in nurturing an environment designed to encourage the continued growth of the country’s financial services sector. For example, she points to the recently enacted Foundations Act that positions The Bahamas as the first premier Common Law jurisdiction to introduce foundations and the launch of SMART funds which typifies the emphasis on market-driven legislation.
According to the BFSB CEO, The Bahamas’ leading position as an IFC is not just rooted in its sovereignty, political stability, legal structure, progressive regulatory and legislative framework, and tax environment but in the many features that complement and support the financial services sector. *”These include a robust information communication framework, a wide variety of Class A office facilities and business support services, excellent flight connections and compelling lifestyle choices including world re-known residential communities, premier hotels and restaurants.“* She continues,*”Most important is our capacity for growth through the availability of qualified professionals and land in an ideal location.”*
BFSB remains committed to continued development and further strengthening of the nation’s position as one of the world’s leading IFCs. Ms. Warren also notes that BFSB was pleased to submit information on the jurisdiction in response to a request from The Banker in its research efforts, and was supported in this effort by the Research Department of the Central Bank of the Bahamas.
Mr. Timewell points out that a panel of senior editors and industry experts picked the Financial Centres of the Future, with The Banker awarding the leading International Financial Centre (IFC) in four geographic regions: Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and the Western Hemisphere including North, South, Central America and the Caribbean.
The inaugural **Financial Centre of the Future** awards were based on a number of criteria, including:
• The rate of growth of the financial services sector;
• Regulatory quality and supervisory standards;
• Infrastructure and business support services; and
• Overall political and economic stability of the jurisdiction
The Banker says its editorial team was impressed with The Bahamas’ exceptional presentation of its activity and continuity in attracting financial clients.