**Wendy C. Warren
CEO & Executive Director**

***Financial Services Industry Stakeholders to Meet in Annual Retreat Sessions***

The Bahamas Financial Services (BFS) Retreat 2009 will serve as a meeting place where leading stakeholders thoroughly identify and discuss opportunities, explore solutions to emerging challenges and, with stronger relationships and collective input, encourage the adoption of well-defined proposals in a timely manner. The annual event also will serve as the central staging ground for feedback on the Way Forward for key segments of the industry.

The major theme of the 2009 Retreat is ***“Building a Sustainable and Competitive Platform for Financial Services”***, with sub-themes relating to “Market Watch”, “Business Platform” and Strategic Responses”. Under Strategic Responses, two distinct sessions will focus on maintaining relevance by anticipating opportunities, one of which will speak to the new financial services paradigm – effecting change to a mature business model. The second will speak to specific business development opportunities across sectors. Other Retreat sessions will cover the Global Economy, Initiatives focused on International Financial Centres, Trade, Business Development Tools and the Judicial & Legal Environment. BFSB has identified key expectations from each session, particularly keeping in mind that the Retreat is an important part of the industry consultation process for selected components of the Bahamas International Financial Centre Strategic Plan now under development.

BFSB’s CEO and Executive Director Wendy Warren says, “We recognise that 2009 will be a year when much will be asked of The Bahamas. As such, the Retreat sessions will be structured to ensure that leaders both from within and outside The Bahamas are able to provide essential input at this critical juncture. “

Retreat participants will include Government Ministers and other Officials, BFSB member firms, and representatives from Professional Industry Associations.

Ms. Warren adds, “We are firmly of the view that now is the time for action. The current global challenges provide opportunities for those who are nimble. They also spur domestic developments important to the competitiveness of our sector.”

The BFS Retreat was established as an annual event on BFSB’s calendar to provide the opportunity for stakeholders of the industry to engage in discussions on key drivers impacting the sector and for the ongoing nurturing of public/private sector collaboration. The 2009 Retreat will be held at Our Lucaya, in Freeport, Grand Bahama, January 23-25.