By most benchmarks, the world is in a deep economic crisis with significant and ongoing negative implications for countries, companies and citizens. The crisis in the financial services industry is a major contributor to the depressed economic developments occurring on every continent. The financial services industry is one that has received the attention of G-7 and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development over the past 10 years. While many agree that the motivation was much wider, it is interesting to note that the Asian financial crisis of the 1990s served as a key stimulus for bringing the world leaders’ attention to this vital sector in 2000. We should therefore anticipate that with the global repercussions felt by today’s financial crisis that the financial services industry will find itself in the crosshairs of policy makers and regulators worldwide. There will be major changes in the landscape.

Predictions are difficult in a time of unprecedented change; however, the frequency of landmark events requires the full time attention of government and the private sector. It is critical that The Bahamas actively tracks these developments, mitigate and manage risks, and respond to unique opportunities that will emerge as economies, business and individuals navigate this volatile period. BFSB is dedicating a tremendous amount of its resources to this very end. These efforts are manifest in a review of the daily press, independent expert research to fuel our efforts and coordinated consultation with the stakeholders in The Bahamas including representatives of companies and industry associations, and international contacts.

A key stakeholder with whom BFSB engages is the Government. We have a number of very important initiatives that are ongoing where we are receiving strong support and response from the Government. We expect to provide updates over the next weeks and months.

The financial services industry is the second largest industry in our country. It is for this reason that BFSB welcomed the opportunity to work with the Guardian in producing a survey of the financial services sector. This survey along with other initiatives will serve to increase the flow of information regarding our financial services sector, the role it plays and what action is underway to reinforce and expand its vital contribution to our country.