The Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) has engaged Charles Russell LLP, a highly respected international law firm based in London, on a project designed to assist The Bahamas – at private and public sector levels – to prepare for the onset of the European Union’s Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD). The introduction of the Directive will impact the fund distribution process in Europe for providers located outside the EU.

In looking at various potential components of the consultancy project, it was concluded that there was a basic need for a comprehensive gap analysis to show where there may be shortcomings in the legislative framework of The Bahamas and its investment funds sector vis a vis the provisions of the Directive. The review will highlight the areas where there are inconsistencies, better positioning BFSB to make substantive recommendations to the Government/Regulator on what has to be done to ensure that Bahamas Funds/Fund Managers have continued access to the EU market.

BFSB’s CEO, Aliya Allen, said of the project, “*We have the analysis in hand and it appears that some changes will need to be made in order for The Bahamas to comply, and thereby to protect the necessary channels of distribution for our funds and continued access by our fund managers. It may be possible to introduce a tiered system; we are still seeking advice on this point.”*

It is anticipated that this preliminary work will feed into the work of the Investment Funds Act Technical Team (IFATT) established by the Securities Commission of The Bahamas to review the IFA, as well as the work being undertaken by the SCB and the Ministry of Financial Services on AIFMD compliance, which includes the conclusion of cooperation agreements with the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) that largely mirror IOSCO standards. The Bahamas recently became an IOSCO A signatory.