The legislative agenda during the course of the year covered several pieces of industry and business-relevant legislation. Some 2010 Highlights:
The BFSB Arbitration Committee worked closely with the Office of the Attorney General and the Bahamas Maritime Authority to develop a comprehensive and modern Arbitration Act 2009 and Arbitration (Foreign Arbitration Awards) Act 2009. Both became law in 2010. The services of Watson Farley & Williams were secured and proved invaluable during the consultation process.
The Funds Working Group worked diligently to affect recommended changes to the funds regime and the Investment Funds (Amendment) Act, 2010 was enacted to redefine and clarify certain words and phrases and for connected purposes. The act clarified the definition of Non-Bahamas-Based Funds, Recognised Foreign Funds and Professional Funds; it also amended the audit filing deadlines.
The latest market oriented development was the Central Bank’s issuance of its “Guidance Notice on the Waiver of the Minimum Number of Shareholders Requirement for Applicants for a Restricted Bank and/or Trust Company Licence”. The review and adjustment of the regime was based on a risk based analysis of this specific class of licensee.
Some Other legislation:
External Insurance Act, 2009/External Insurance Regulations, 2010: To provide The Bahamas with state of the art legal and administrative machinery with which to compete in the international insurance market; for example, it establishes a clear and efficient structure whereby a captive insurance (or reinsurance) company covering risks outside of The Bahamas, may be established in the jurisdiction.
IBC (Amendment) Act, 2010: To clarify striking off and restoration powers of the Registrar General and the payment of related fines.
Business Licence Act, 2010: To simplify the legal and regulatory requirements to operate a business and to facilitate a “one stop shop” for business licence applications. (Repeals and replaces previous Business Licence Act)
International Tax Cooperation Act, 2010: To effect the implementation of the newly signed TIEAs and to amend The Bahamas and United States TIEA Act and Regulations
Probate and Administration Of Estates Act, 2010: To consolidate the law on the procedures for obtaining a grant of representation in respect of the estate of a deceased person and for the administration of a deceased person's property.