The Hon. C.V. Hope Strachan, M.P., Minister of Financial Services, today contributed to the 2015 2016 Budget discussions in Parliament.

Noting that her Ministry has responsibility to ensure the continued growth and sustainability of the Financial Services Sector, Minister C.V. Hope Strachan said there is much work to be done. Specifically, this mandate involves *“keeping abreast of current trends, providing cutting edge legislation, innovation and creativity in product provision, having a focused strategic promotional program, and educating, nurturing, training and keeping a cadre of dedicated professionals to service the industry.”*

The Minister maintained that in the midst of the global economic crisis, the Bahamas Financial Services Industry has maintained its position as a safe, reliable, compliant and confidential jurisdiction within which to do business. *“This puts us in the best position to regain our losses and/or to attract new business to our shores,”* she said. Touting the public private sector partnership for which the Bahamian financial services industry long has been recognised, Minister Strachan noted, *”Recognising the importance of partnership my Ministry is working with Industry Private Sector Participants, Financial Services Regulators, The Bahamas Financial Services Board and other relevant stakeholders to chart a course that will continue to promote and develop Financial Services in The Bahamas.”*

Speaking to the staff rebuilding exercise being undertaken by the Ministry as a necessary step in delivering on its key mandates, Minister Strachan identified the staffing “imperative” as:

* to build a team to analyze the international competitive landscape.
* to build a team capable of developing initiatives to strengthen the local financial services community.
* to build a team to market The Bahamas brand as a full international financial services center, where conducting business is a seamless process.
* To build a team with a view to finding and exploring new niche markets.
* To create products that are culturally acceptable to foreign markets.
* To anticipate market trends and changes in regulations to ensure appropriate action is taken to protect the industry.
* To ensure legislation is responsiveness, modern and cutting edge.
* To create an environment that minimizes the risks to job security of for industry partners and stakeholders.
* To attract High net worth and ultra High net worth individuals to our shores.

Also included in the Minister’s contribution was a report on promotional efforts to “Push of our Brand” inclusive of trips, mostly in collaboration with the private sector, to North America, Latin America & the Caribbean, UK & Europe, and Asia. She said, *”It is the intent of my Ministry to continue to etch The Bahamas at the forefront of the minds of investors, wealth managers, private client advisors, and other financial services professionals and institutions as they consider international centres in which to do business.”*

Human Capital Resource Development, International Initiatives, and International Arbitration all were included in the Minister’s contribution to budget discussions, as well as matters relating to her portfolios of Trade, Manufacturing and Local Government.

The Minister’s concluding remarks emphasised that the work of The Ministry of Financial Services is critical to the maintenance and sustainability of the Sector, to the protection of the Industry and to the jobs of the thousands of citizens and residents employed in the sector. *“We are proud that we are not only working for today but that our work is strictly focused on the future of our people. We are proud of the work that we do and we will continue to go far and near to tell the world of this great country and the great people who live here.”*

Note: The Ministry of Financial Services has portfolio responsibility for the promotion of the Financial Services Sector, International Trade, Manufacturing under the Industries Encouragement, the Standards Bureau, the development of an International Commercial Arbitration Centre in The Bahamas, and more recently Local Government. Budget Allocation for 2015-2016 is $2,472,935.