The Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) held its 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM) on September 15th in the Victoria Room at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel.

In her annual report to members, Tanya McCartney, BFSB’s CEO and Executive Director, outlined the key areas of focus for BFSB which were categorized as follows: Strategic Development, Maintaining The Bahamas’ Profile as a Premier IFC, Collaboration with Key Stakeholders and Member Engagement. Further, Miss McCartney noted that adherence to international best practice has meant that over the years the business model of The Bahamas has had to adapt and change and this transformation continues. The new landscape she stated “provides the impetus for much needed innovation. As we look at differentiating ourselves as an international financial centre there are some bold steps that must be taken to respond to the changing operating environment. These initiatives will require the support of industry stakeholders and the active support of policy makers to bring about changes.” Those developments include:

1. Innovation – Use of technology to transform channels of delivery for financial service;
2. Progressive Residency and Immigration Policy and Process Reform;
3. Improved Ease of Doing Business/Public Sector Reform – creating a “business friendly” environment;
4. Linking International Business or Commerce and Financial Services;
5. A Review of the Bahamas Tax Structure

She thanked the industry representatives present for their continued support to the financial services sector through their membership with BFSB and their active participation at working group meetings, local and international events.

The Minister of Financial Services, The Hon. C.V. Hope Strachan, spoke to the importance of the private sector and Government collaboration at a time when the Bahamas Financial Services Industry seems to be under attack, “Never before has this collaboration been more important as we face the onslaught that has been launched against The Bahamas Financial Services Industry from our detractors.” She went on to say, “Never before has there been a more compelling reason for Government and the private sector to band together to fight for the survival of our financial services industry, indeed for our very way of life given the thousands of people who depend on the industry for employment.” She reminded the audience of how crucial the financial services industry is to the Bahamian economy.

BFSB’s Board of Directors for the 2016-2018 term were also confirmed at the AGM. Company Directors elected include: Michelle Neville-Clarke, Lennox Paton; Myles Culmer, BDO Advisory Services; Paul Davis, Higgs & Johnson; Zelpha Davis, UBS Trustees (Bahamas) Ltd.; Khrystle Rutherford-Ferguson, Fidelity Bank (Bahamas) Ltd.; Shameka Fernander, Old Fort Financial; Patrick Feuz, Julius Baer; Niekia Horton, Lombard Odier & Cie; Brian Jones, Deltec Fund Services Limited; Yolande Julien, Glinton Sweeting O’Brien, Keva Ingraham McPhee, SIS Solutions Ltd.; Antoinette Russell, Credit Suisse Trust; Andre Souza, Arbitral Securities; Laverne Thompson, MMG Bank & Trust; Michele Thompson, EY and Zelma Wilson, KPMG.

Elected as representatives of their respective Professional Industry Associations were: Ivan Hooper, Association of International Banks & Trust Companies in The Bahamas; Fareda Sands, Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers; Paula Adderley, The Bahamas Bar Association; Emmanuel Komolafe, Bahamas Insurance Association; Darnell Osborne, Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants; Anthony Stubbs, Bahamas Investment and Securities Business Association; Carla Sweeting, Bahamas Real Estate Association; Cherise Cox-Nottage, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators; Robert Turnquest, CFA Society of The Bahamas; Cecil Ferguson, Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and Ian Jennings, The Clearing Banks Association.

Miss McCartney and Latonia Symonette-Tinker, Consultant to the Ministry of Financial Services, serve as Permanent Directors.