The Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) has consistently expressed the view that the country’s financial services sector is proactive in adopting and implementing the international standards of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing (“AML/CFT”) that are applicable to its environment. The CFATF Report supports this view. This view is also supported by the head offices of institutions with subsidiaries or branches in The Bahamas which have indicated that compliance and corporate governance standards in The Bahamas are as vigorous, or in many cases more vigorous, than what is required by OECD home country regulators.
The CFAFT Report, issued in 2007, and based on a comprehensive analysis of the Bahamian environment up to mid 2006, reaffirms the attention given by government and regulators to formalized AML/CFT policies and instruments to assure implementation.
The industry‘s confidence that the post 2000 rules are being uniformly and consistently adopted is based on the vigour with which regulators are applying adherence to compliance and corporate governance requirements and the negative impact of non-compliance to practitioners.
Industry attention to compliance is underscored by:
- Budgetary increases by institutions in the areas of compliance and corporate governance, including increased staffing levels in these areas;
- Larger training budgets and an increased number of conferences in the jurisdiction focusing on, or including, sessions on compliance and corporate governance; and
- Growth in the number of members of the Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers, a private sector organization, which promotes the certification of its member compliance professionals with international principles in relation to global compliance best practices and standards.
This is the third CFATF evaluation of The Bahamas in addition to an IMF evaluation in 2002. The 2002 evaluation by the IMF confirmed The Bahamas had made substantial progress towards the development of an effective regulatory regime, reflected not only in legislation but also in the structural and operational arrangements implemented, and that the progress made by the Central Bank of The Bahamas and the Securities Commission has been impressive. These evaluations are important exercises for the country; just as internal or external audits are for a company.
We fully anticipate that dialogue with the government and regulators on AML/CFT matters, whether identified in the CFATF report, the National AML/CFT strategy being led by the FIU, or through other initiatives, will continue. This dialogue should lead to continued improvements that further buttress The Bahamas’ leadership both in compliance and the delivery of financial services.