Regulators within the financial services industry have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), intended to assist with the harmonisation of standards and practices. This will include licensing, registration and on-site examinations as may be required by the various regulators.
Signing the MOU last week were the Central Bank of the Bahamas, the Securities Commission of the Bahamas, the Compliance Commission of the Bahamas, the Office of the Registrar of Insurance Companies, and the Office of the Inspector of Financial and Corporate Service Providers. These regulators form the “Group of Financial Services Regulators”.
It is anticipated that the harmonisation of practices by the various regulatory agencies will minimise duplication in the supervision of financial institutions, and enhance regulatory efficiency.
The legislative package introduced in 2000 – together with the administrative strengthening in the Mutual Legal Assistance Division of the Attorney General’s Office and in the Supervision Department of the Central Bank of the Bahamas – brought regulation and supervision of the financial services industry into full compliance with the new and evolving standards.
The Government at that time said the legislative changes would have a tremendous impact on reducing opportunities for anonymous use and/or abuse of Bahamian entities for unauthorised purposes either within The Bahamas or internationally.
At the time of presenting the draft 5-Year Strategic Plan for the financial services industry last month, the Hon. Allyson Maynard-Gibson, Minister of Financial Services and Investments, identified the streamlining of processes under the enhanced regulatory regime as an area that will be fast tracked in the months ahead. In particular, the Minister promised an examination of KYC legislation and, where necessary, to table relevant amendments to such.
The primary goals of the strategy are to:
-Sustain a successful, blue chip, well-regulated and co-operative financial centre; and
-Expand and diversify the economy
The Bahamas, said Minister Maynard-Gibson, will succeed in financial services by recognising, embracing and nurturing two simple operating principles in everything it does, i.e. *”providing value for money and providing top quality service.”*