Public private partnership (PPP) continues to be a major catalyst for the development of the financial services industry. The joint commitment to dialogue and *practical*interaction has boded well for the nation’s second pillar of the economy.

This past weekend, BFSB hosted the 4th Bahamas Financial Services Retreat at the Four Seasons Resort at Emerald Bay, in Exuma. The annual event regularly attracts senior Government officials and regulators, and this year was no exception. BFSB was delighted to welcome the Prime Minister of the Bahamas to the Saturday Plenary Sessions, with other participants over the 2 ½ days of meetings including over 25 top level representatives from Government Ministries and Departments and Industry Regulatory Authorities. Government Ministers participating included the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Minister of Financial Services and Investments, and the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance. Consistent with previous retreats, the Leader of the Official Opposition addressed the group; representatives of the official opposition also participated in the event.

Altogether, some 123 industry stakeholders participated in the Plenary and Breakout Sessions which have become a hallmark of the Retreat. In addition to the public sector, the Retreat hosted cross sectoral representation by financial services practitioners. These ranged from those focused on international or domestic clients, private wealth or capital markets, to industry association delegates representing the interests of business sectors and professional development.

The usual high level of response from the public sector – and the active participation of these delegates throughout the weekend – was a clear demonstration of the ongoing commitment by the Bahamas Government for the sector. BFSB paid tribute to the level of exchange and interaction resulting from the willingness to pursue open dialogue on the development of the financial services industry in The Bahamas.

The vision and strategic development necessary to maintain competitiveness, and ensure growth, continued to be the primary focus of the Retreat, with small group sessions in particular providing the opportunity for dialogue on issues such as jurisdiction branding, manpower development, regulation and compliance, private wealth management, and capital markets.

BFSB will review the consolidated reports of the working sessions and plenaries, which will serve as a basis for a detailed action plan for 2007, and going forward. PPP is expected to remain a key component of efforts to build the financial services community.