**Hon. Vincent Peet, M.P.
Minister of Financial Services and Investments**

Presenting remarks at the recent Annual General Meeting of the **Association of International Banks and Trust Companies in The Bahamas** (AIBT), Minister Peet acknowledged the assistance provided by AIBT for various sector initiatives. He took the opportunity to reaffirm the Bahamas Government’s *”unwavering commitment to the institutionalized strengthening of the financial services industry through on-going cooperation that is based primarily on public/private sector consultation”.*

The Minister also spoke to the importance of the industry and the need for its sustainable growth and development. In this connection, he referenced the recent survey undertaken to collect empirical data on financial services, noting, *”My Ministry contracted PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to undertake a Strategy and Branding Survey of the Financial Services Sector.”* Having reviewed these results, he said the Ministry is fully committed to doing its part to further strengthen The Bahamas’ position by capitalizing on the strengths identified, and to resolve in a timely manner those matters that were identified as obstacles and/or weaknesses in services.

In order to achieve these objectives, the Ministry reportedly will continue to collaborate with partners and stakeholders in the financial services sector. *”Government is fully committed to doing all we possibly can to assist with the continued growth of financial services in our country, particularly in the area of wealth management.”*

**Consultative Working Group**

Forecast in the immediate future was the appointment of a Working Committee, comprised mainly of persons from the private sector of the Financial Services Industry, whose mandate will be to begin to chart the way forward based on the results of the Strategy and Branding Survey. The Minister indicated that this committee will also be charged with the responsibility to commence work on a second strategic five (5) year plan for the Industry.

*”My Ministry will continue to partner with you, and such other prominent organizations and stakeholders like The Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB), The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), The Financial Services Consultative Forum (FSCF), and The Bahamas Institute of Financial Services (BIFS) – as well as other professional associations – to ensure that we remain the leading financial centre in the Hemisphere.”*

Minister Peet also reported on other initiatives of the Ministry, in collaboration with its partners in industry:

• Continued participation in promotional tours to further promote the image of The Bahamas in the global arena

• Amendments to the Banks and Trust Companies Regulation Act as it relates to Private Trust Companies

• Human Resource Development / Skills Training for the Financial Services Sector, to ensure that practitioners remain on the cutting edge

In conclusion, he noted that the Financial Services Industry comprises both the public and private sectors of The Bahamas, and again thanked AIBT and other industry partners for ongoing collaboration, while giving assurance of the Government’s continued commitment to doing all it can *”to deepen and expand this sector’s influence and capacity.”*