Speaking at the [STEP Caribbean Conference](http://www.stepcaribbeanconference.com/) at the Atlantis Resort on Monday, Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie expressed optimism about the future of the financial services sector. The annual conference sponsored by the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners is being held at the Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas through to May 14 under the theme “**Exploring the possibilities**.”

*“The possibilities for Financial Services in today’s world, even with all of the international challenges, remain wide open to exploration and I am convinced that the future is bright,”* said Mr. Christie. *“However,” he said, “the path to discovering these possibilities requires boldness and creativity in your actions, coupled with a collaborative approach in government policy.”*

The global financial crisis and the ensuing slow economic recovery over the last few years have left an uneasy “disequilibrium” worldwide, the Prime Minister said. He added that the dynamics of the sector have changed with the introduction of new rules, new standards, new restrictions, new levels of distrust, new ways of doing things and new costs to comply to be in the financial sector game. *“In recent years, we have witnessed a significant increase in the extra-territorial regulatory burden to this sector from initiatives in the EU, G20 and G8, the Paris–based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and – how can I forget – the United States Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA),”* he said. *“I understand there is an impending Global Account Tax Compliance Act, otherwise known as GATCA, which is on the horizon. And let’s not forget the ever present domestic challenges as well.”*

**Resilience of Industry**

Prime Minister Christie pointed out that while these challenges have been difficult to navigate, the industry has continued to succeed. This success, he believes, is demonstrated through the country’s display of resilience and pliability; its ability to turn a negative into a positive; and the ability to turn around challenges. “*As this new ‘world order’ emerges, I seek to discover positive developments. In this regard, it is my hope that from these changes we begin to find new opportunities for cooperation between countries and a new pursuit of deeper understanding so that the mistrust between countries engaged in financial services can begin to wither – as the mistrust between countries engaged in commercial trade or manufacturing has also started to wither. It is only through joint effort will we be able to reach our fundamental goal. STEP Caribbean, through its members, can play a large role in this process.”*

(Photo courtesy of BIS/Peter Ramsay)