The Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) is in the final stages of preparation for this year’s [International Business and Finance Summit]( (IBFS) scheduled to be held February 2-5 at the Abaco Beach Resort in Marsh Harbour, Abaco.

IBFS 2012 is being hosted under the broad theme *“Pursuing Comparative Advantage”,* in recognition of the reality that individuals, institutions and jurisdictions must focus on key benchmarks and exploit their comparative advantages for success. Industry stakeholders will gather over three days to examine current strategies and ways to advance comparative advantage.

BFSB CEO Aliya Allen confirms that the annual event again has attracted some eminent thought-leaders as presenters, including existing and potential partners such as: Bruce Zagaris, American Bar Association (US); Bruce Weatherill, Weatherill Consulting (UK); Catherine Chandler-Crichlow, Toronto Financial Services Alliance (Canada); Diego Pivoz, HSBC (Switzerland); Flavio Peppe, Ernst & Young (Brazil); Gina Pereira, Pereira Consulting (Canada); Ivan Sacks, Withers (US); Joe Field, Withers Asia; María Ángela Raich, Prieto & Carrizosa (Colombia); Nick Rucker, Berkeley Law Limited (UK); Pedro Ramírez Mota-Velasco, Turanzas, Bravo & Ambrosi (Mexico); Rebecca Leon, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP (US); Robert Blower, Charles Russell LLP (UK); Robert Colvin, Colvin & Associate (US); Sebastian Dovey, Scorpio Partnership (UK); Steven Cantor, Cantor & Webb (US); Susan Klouman, Towers Watson (US); Thomas Ragan, Ragan & Freeman LLP (US); and William Heuseler, ITAU Private Bank International (Brazil, US); Rowena Bethel, formerly of the Ministry of Finance (Bahamas) and now an Independent Consultant specialising in the design and implementation of the supporting policy, legislative, regulatory and institutional frameworks for cross-border tax cooperation, rounds out the list of distinguished speakers at IBFS 2012.

The first IBFS (successor event to the original Bahamas Financial Services Retreat) was held in Bimini in 2010 and focussed on the structured approach developed by the financial services sector to assess and prioritise business opportunities – that is, its **Strategy** for cross-sector **Coordination** in a proactive and pragmatic **Regulatory** environment that recognizes that **Infrastructure** and a **Proactive** and targeted business development strategy are vital and emphasizes the attraction and growth of a world-class **Talent** Pool (SCRIPT).

In 2011, in Freeport, Grand Bahama, IBFS attracted strong participation from international and local stakeholders, providing an excellent opportunity to review the global landscape and the research arising from SCRIPT. That year, BFSB also undertook to merge its very successful Bahamas Briefing programme into IBFS, inviting key external intermediaries to be a part of the strategic discussions. In past years, the Bahamas Briefing outreach served to complement BFSB’s external communications and marketing initiatives that involve travelling to various locations to provide intermediaries and other opinion leaders with information on the financial services industry. IBFS now provides the opportunity to bring these business drivers to The Bahamas, and to build stronger relationships with Bahamian institutions and regulators.

Corporate and other sponsors of IBFS 2012 include the Association of International Banks & Trust Companies (AIBT), ATC Trustees (Bahamas) Ltd., Bahamasair, BORCO, COPA, Ernst & Young, Grand Bahama Port Authority Ltd., Klonaris & Co., Ministry of Tourism, PricewaterhouseCoopers, RBC Wealth Management, Schooner Bay, Societe Generale Private Banking, and UBS Trustees (Bahamas) Ltd.