The Central Bank of the Bahamas has released its latest Quarterly Economic Review, incorporating a feature on the **Gross Economic Contribution of the Financial Sector in The Bahamas**.

The Regulatory Authority reveals that official estimates continue to place the financial sector’s share of value added in The Bahamas’ GDP between 15% – 20%. The report states that a significant share of this contribution is derived from the marketing of international products and services. *”The Bahamas maintains a competitive edge in these activities owing to a variety of reasons, including its ability to support functional operations, backed by a sizeable pool of skilled labour, and a comprehensive regulatory infrastructure which sustains international confidence in the jurisdiction.”*

Of particular note is that banking sector employment increased, with gains concentrated in the positions held by Bahamians. The banks’ total outlays in the economy amounted to some $419 million during 2005, with salaries representing the major component of expenditures, at 49.5%.

While noting that direct outlays on staff training were valued at $2.4 million, the Central Bank said these outlays understate total domestic resources directed at training, represented in the various programmes of study being pursued at tertiary level institutions in The Bahamas and in the industry-supported curricula of the Bahamas Institute of Financial Services.

The report also provides details on the economic contributions by the insurance and investment funds and credit union sectors, with a brief on capital markets developments.

It concludes that the sector will continue to be supported by a cadre of highly skilled professionals as well as an expanding product range – permitting diversified business growth.

**Regulatory Developments**

*”A sound, dynamic and efficient regulatory infrastructure is vital to the operations of the financial services sector”*

The Central Bank highlights developments such as the establishment of the Financial Services Regulatory Reform Commission, tasked with considering options for consolidation of the supervisory regime, and the continued collaborative work of the Group of Financial Services Regulators, including its release of the Information Sharing Handbook in 2005.