The Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) held their annual financial services conclave at the Pavilion at Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour on March 11 through 12 where senior officers of financial institutions discussed strategies to make the industry more competitive.
Tanya McCartney, Director of the BFSB, said they came down to Abaco because “it is beautiful”, but also because it is “a good getaway from the city so we could just focus on what we need to do to remain competitive; what do we need to do to keep the Bahamas attractive as an international financial center.”
She said that every year the BFSB hosts the International Business and Finance Summit, “this year we decided to do it a little differently, and it took the form of a strategy conclave.”
“There are lots of changes going on in the global environment that is impacting our business and financial services around a push for transparency and sharing of tax information, so we have moved from bank secrecy, to bank confidentiality, to privacy in a very open global environment and the Bahamas is committed to being cooperative,” she said. “And to that end it means that we need to change the way that we do business.”
Ms. McCartney discussed the need to revisit the Bahamas’ business model and determine how the country can continue to grow and thrive in financial services.
“We went about reviewing the 2010 strategy document that was done that identified certain market opportunities and enabling opportunities to see how successful we were in achieving those objectives; how many of those objectives remained relevant today and then to say is there anything new we ought to be doing,” she said.
Prime Minister Perry Christie was invited to talk about the government’s views in terms of financial services as a key component of the national development plan, what The Bahamas’ value proposition is in this jurisdiction and why the country remains attractive to clients as well as international financial institutions to come here to do business.
Attending the conclave were senior officers representing the over one hundred members of the Bahamas Financial Services sector from banks, trust companies, insurance companies and investment advisors
Ms. McCartney said that the key theme to come out of the conclave is “that we can have all the strategies in the world but if we don’t have the enablers for the processes refined to make doing business easy then we are not that competitive.”
On the second day of the conclave all government ministers whose ministry touches the financial sector were on hand to discuss ideas and concerns with the view to influencing government to assist us with removing some of those barriers to doing business
She said that the government is very collaborative; they provide financial support to BFSB. “We meet regularly, we are just at that point where we need to, having identified the strategies, execute on removing some of those barriers.”
Ms. McCartney said “We believe the Bahamas has a strong value proposition in terms of providing structures and wealth management support, to high-net-worth, ultra-high-net-worth individuals, we have a diverse toolkit of products in terms of trust funds, captive insurance; really a one stop shop whereas some of our competitors only specialize in one product. The Bahamas can offer a full solution to clients.
“We believe that positions us quite well despite the changing environment to be very competitive and remain attractive.”