The Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) has submitted to Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham an outline of financial services industry “priorities” arising from a request by the Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Brent Symonette, during the annual ***Bahamas Financial Services Retreat*** held in Abaco.
The report to the Prime Minister covered three distinct areas: **National Policy and Regulation**, **Infrastructure**, and **Business Development**.
Another specific recommendation arising from Retreat discussions was the need to build even further on the public private sector partnership to improve the competitiveness of the jurisdiction. As a result, the first in a series of sector-focused meetings between BFSB members and relevant Government Ministers and Industry Regulators was hosted by BFSB last month. The **Public Private Sector (PPP) Roundtable** involved some 40 CEOs and Managing Directors of bank and trust company member firms meeting with the Minister of State for Finance, Minister of State for Immigration, Minister of State for Legal Affairs, Minister of National Security (whose portfolio includes Immigration) and the Governor of the Central Bank.
Similar meetings are being scheduled by BFSB for the insurance and securities sectors, as well as for financial and corporate service providers and professional firms. In addition, BFSB is planning a mid year review on developments following the matters raised at the 2008 Retreat, which will include a report on steps outlined during the follow-up Ministerial Portfolio presentations.
Now in its fifth year, the annual ***Bahamas Financial Services Retreat*** has become an important platform – bringing together industry stakeholders – to discuss the key opportunities and challenges of the sector, and to formulate strategies for growth and development. Some 133 individuals attended this year’s working sessions, with 21% representing Government and Regulators; 5% Professional Industry Associations; and 74% member firm representatives across all industry sectors.
Craig Tony Gomez, Chairman, BFSB, said the presentations and feedback from the retreat reinforce its growing importance in maintaining the high level of productive dialogue that exists between the private and public sector.
*“The feedback was tremendous from both the perspective of the presenters as well as that of the audience. I think going forward we understand what the steps are to keep The Bahamas competitive and to grow the sector. I am optimistic that, should the matters discussed be addressed in the way that all stakeholders wish, The Bahamas will remain a very competitive jurisdiction in which to do financial services business,”* Mr. Gomez said.
Wendy Warren, BFSB’s CEO and Executive Director added that the annual event continues to help shape the direction for BFSB programmes, and that a matrix has been prepared highlighting the key areas of work and designated responsibilities. These will be used to track progress and provide quarterly updates leading up to the next Retreat, scheduled to be held at Our Lucaya, in Freeport, Grand Bahama in January 2009.
Bakers Bay Golf and Ocean Club and The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) were sponsors of the 2008 Retreat.