Minister of Financial Services the Hon. L. Ryan Pinder presented remarks at the Annual General Meeting of the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) held last night.

He paid special tribute to BFSB for continuing to be *“a voice to the government on expressing both concerns and new opportunities in the industry that cause for the development of new products and joint promotional activities”.*

In his presentation to the AGM, Minister took the opportunity to provide a brief update on the status of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) implementation, by means of the Model 1 Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA). He indicated that the Government has been coordinating with countries in the region with the goal to obtain agreement on suggested revisions and to approach the United States on a multilateral basis with respect to joint recommendations. He continued, *“We have also been in consultations with the Office of the Attorney General on the preparation of the legislation that will cause for FATCA to be implemented. This is an ongoing process.”*

Minister Pinder also made mention of the pending introduction of a Value Added Tax (VAT), specifically relating to the process and the application in the financial services industry. He indicated that his Ministry is in discussions with the Ministry of Finance on the latter. *“We at the policy level are discussing the best way to advance this issue. Once Cabinet has approved the draft legislation and regulations, through the BFSB we will hold consultations with the industry explaining the agreed framework and get your input on how it will affect your business and any recommendations.”*

Special commendation was given to the Chief Executive Officer of BFSB, Aliya Allen, on her advocacy and dedication to the financial services industry of The Bahamas; and, likewise, the Minister applauded the Board of Directors on their high level of commitment and involvement in providing guidance and oversight to the Bahamas Financial Services Board. *“As you have volunteered your time and service to BFSB and that of the financial services industry, you have demonstrated your love for country and love for the industry as you ensured that there are new opportunities for the industry to grow and develop, in our plans to become the preeminent international financial services centre.”*

In addition to encouraging all member firms to be active in BFSB efforts to advocate and encourage the advancement of the financial services industry, the Minister also urged participants to encourage other financial services firms and new entrants to the industry to embrace the membership benefits of the Bahamas Financial Services Board. This, he said, will further expand the network and expertise available to BFSB’s efforts.