Minister of Financial Services, the Hon. C.V. Hope Strachan, M.P., today tabled in the House of Assembly amendments to The Trustee Act (CH. 176) and The Trust (Choice of Governing Law) Act (CH. 179). The amendment to the Trustee Act strengthens the existing law as it relates to the administration of trusts, while the second bill seeks to amend the Trusts (Choice of Governing Law) Act (Ch. 179) to expand the provision relating to foreign law and the trust under Bahamian law. It provides enhanced protection for trusts from attempted enforcement of judgments arising from family disputes and forced heirship rules.
The amendments were brought about following consultation with industry through BFSB’s Trust Working Group. The Minister said, *”These amendments will enhance the growth and competitiveness of our financial services industry by ensuring that our legislative regime in relation to trust services and wealth management is on par with our competitors.”* Additionally, she said, *”The proposals are anticipated to add value to trust instruments in The Bahamas, making it more attractive to potential and existing clients, thus having the overall effect of creating financial services business in The Bahamas.”* This further translates into the creation of new trusts for wealth management, which will have the overall effect of creating employment and enhancing The Bahamas’ position as a major wealth management destination, the Minister told Parliamentarians.
The Hastings-Bass rule has been used for many years to relieve trustees of the consequences of their errors, being most commonly used for unforeseen tax liabilities. The Minister noted that the amendments include inserting a Hastings Bass rule into the Trustee Act. *”Industry professionals highly recommended the preservation of this rule by the insertion of the principle into legislation,”* she explained, noting that it will eliminate the competitive disadvantage that currently exists.