The global focus on taxation, anti-money laundering and the call for greater transparency will be discussed at the upcoming [International Business & Finance Summit]( (IBFS).

The “Transparency and Related Initiatives” IBFS Session will centre on getting the balance right in terms of national development and global community obligations, specifically looking at what “Staying Ahead of the Game” means for The Bahamas and other developing countries in the current tax cooperation environment. It will look, too, at the main strands of transparency and the related agenda of both the G20 and the OECD, with a focus also on revised AML regulations as captured by the FATF’s Revised Recommendations – in particular, the move to define tax crimes as a predicate offence.

Panelists are Michael Lennard, Chief, International Tax Cooperation and Trade, Financing for Development Office (FfDO), United Nations; and George Hodgson, Deputy Chief Executive, STEP Worldwide. The session will be moderated by Aliya Allen, BFSB’s CEO & Executive Director. Ms. Allen points out, *“The current Presidencies of the G-8 and G-20 have identified “transparency” as a key programme objective, the former intertwining this with “tax” and “trade”, while the G-20 has confirmed its focus on Growth through Trust and Transparency. The IBFS Planning Committee considered it essential that IBFS 2013’s Agenda include a focus on these critical issues that have such tremendous impact on our sector and, indeed, the economy at large.”*

Mr. Lennard’s work in FfDO has a particular focus on ensuring the fairness and workability of international tax norms, including achieving greater developing country input into those norms, and encouraging cooperation to improve tax systems and administrations, as a spur to sustained development. He worked previously as a Tax Treaty Advisor in the OECD Tax Treaty Secretariat in Paris, and prior to that he worked on tax treaty and other international tax matters at the Australian Tax Office, including leading and participating on Australian bilateral and multilateral tax negotiating teams. He also has worked in the Australian Government’s Office of International Law, dealing with taxation, trade, environmental, dispute settlement, and jurisdictional issues in particular.

George Hodgson is Deputy Chief Executive at the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the worldwide professional body for those specialising in helping families plan the transfer of family assets and property from one generation to another. Prior to joining STEP he held a senior policy position at the Association of British Insurers, the main insurance industry trade body in the UK and has also served on the staff of the Treasury Committee of the UK House of Commons. Prior to moving to public policy work Mr Hodgson had a career in investment banking that spanned over 20 years as one of the top rated economists and investment strategists.

Now in its 10th year, IBFS in 2013 sees the Bahamas Financial Services Board covering a wide range of issues that must be addressed by industry stakeholders if this jurisdiction is to remain competitive. In fact, the theme for the 3-day event in Bimini is “The Bahamas Advantage: Staying Ahead of the Game”.