*”Our legacy as a financial centre is still relevant today. We have established the “long game”. The sector was not a fad or a flash in the pan. Therefore, the tenets that we relied on in the beginning remain important today.”*

In the midst of a world trying to define itself, it is fitting that BFSB chose to redefine the value proposition in financial services and positioned this as the key theme for its CEO Strategy Conclave. So said the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, as he addressed delegates at the 2016 [International Business & Finance Summit](http://www.ibfs-bahamas.com) in Abaco yesterday. *”The world as we know it appears to be asking the question, “Who are we?” Each country grapples with this question! What is our role, our essential character and our position and relevance in the global economy? Indeed, it is no different for The Bahamas. We too are facing this question, in all facets of life in The Bahamas – but so much so in the financial services sector. And so, your theme this year, which focuses on finding our value proposition – in essence, WHO ARE WE? – is so fitting.”*

Prime Minister Christie pointed out that knowing where we have come from is as important as knowing where we are going.*” We have a proud history in financial services, one that we have carved out of our ingenuity and an almost intuitive sense of what the world needs and how we can assist in meeting those needs. Because of (a) political stability, (b) a friendly business environment that welcomed international business (c) good infrastructure (d) a deep talent pool within the country of both locals and non-locals; and (e) a robust adherence to the Rule of Law, The Bahamas was able to develop a financial services sector at a time when it was only a gleam in the eye of most of the IFCs that abound in the world now.”* He said The Bahamas has had a “first-mover” advantage, a certain know-how and name recognition. The words “The Bahamas” and “financial services” still go well together, and the words have a resonance and international recognition that still makes sense.

Prime Minister Christie was addressing the Conclave after a day of working sessions relevant to the theme of IBFS 2016 – *The Bahamas Advantage: Defining Our Value Proposition*. He cautioned that there is no “silver bullet” in addressing the objectives outlined, pointing out that the journey will be difficult but nonetheless achievable. *”In making this journey and in carrying out this re-building, we need to candidly acknowledge our challenges and systematically address them in a sustained and sensible manner”*, he said.

Defining stability, sovereignty and skill as core tenets of the jurisdiction, the Prime Minister noted that all of these tenets are critical, as is continued meaningful interaction between the government, regulators and the private sector. *”We must ensure that we understand the needs of the industry and are flexible enough to adapt so that we do not inhibit the growth of honest and productive business.”*

With particular regard to skill-sets, PM Christie said as the world becomes more level and transparent, the defining feature for this jurisdiction must become our skill and service quality. Skills and Value have to be the “new weapon” in the current battlefield. *”We must ensure that we continue to offer value added services, competitively drawing on the best minds locally and from outside of The Bahamas. We have to be innovative and proactive: developing and delivering products and services that respond to the needs of our clients.”*

New Paradigm

The new paradigm must begin with a clear identification of new niches, and after having defined the brand the supporting infrastructure must be there to provide all of the services, direct and indirect, associated with this identity. Touting The Bahamas’ leadership in wealth management, he said this provides a springboard from which to drive transformation. *”We need to keep doing what we do well. But we also need to develop other product offerings so that we can create opportunities for a wider cross section of the sector. The Bahamian financial services sector of the future must be more diverse with improved product offerings. We must seek out new markets, new clients and offer dynamic services. Let us examine the centres of new global wealth and high growth and prioritize the selection and implementation of products that these markets require. Let us understand the legislative and policy requirements, and the needs of the end-users and ensure that we meet those needs.”*

Click [here](http://www.ibfs-bahamas.com/assets/files/pdf/2016webagenda.pdf) to see the full agenda for IBFS 2016, this year taking the form of a CEO Strategy Conclave.