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Bahamas Financial Services Competitive Model Not Easily Duplicated Says Minister Strachan

Minister of Financial Services Hope Strachan in her contribution to the 2015 Budget Debate, June 3, in the House of Assembly said The Bahamas has a competitive model as an international financial services centre that cannot be easily duplicated.

“Our people are our best resources. We have some of the most qualified professionals in financial services and associations second to none, like BACO (The Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers) who are the model to follow in the region and I dare say the world.”

The minister noted that BACO is the gatekeeper of the financial services sector, and have proven how important it is for government, private sector and professional organizations to work together for the greater good.

Minister Strachan said it is the intent of the ministry to continue to etch The Bahamas at the forefront of the minds of investors, wealth managers, private client advisors, and other financial services professionals and institutions as they consider international centres in which to do business.

“As a sovereign nation in a centre that offers a full range of services in the areas of banks, trusts, funds, wealth management, insurance, ship registry, second homes, yacht and aircraft services and arbitration services with the full support of government.

“This is the message that I have been taking to countries far and near.

She said the Ministry of Financial Services continues to develop new marketing material that will help to deliver this message all over the world and ensure that it remains constant, and parallel with the already established Bahamas Investor Magazine, published by Dupuch Publications, and Gateway, published by the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB), which have been invaluable sources of information through the years.

“So far this year we have partnered with the BFSB to sponsor STEP MIAMI, STEP Anguilla (St. Maarten) and a private wealth forum in Sao Paulo Brazil.”

Minister Strachan mentioned that this month is a busy month again for the staff.

She explained that there are promotional forums in San Diego, Cyprus and Mexico where Ministry of Financial Services’ officials will promote The Bahamas, its financial services industry, its products and its people.

“The Ministry of Financial Services is to this industry what The Ministry of Tourism is to tourism. These two industries are first and second in terms of revenues and Gross Domestic Product however the similarity stops there.”

“The Ministry of Tourism has a budget of some $90.5 million, the MOFS gets $2,472,935 million. This is a cut of some $400,000 from the previous year and is some cause for concern to the ministry and to industry. However, we are cognizant of the government’s mandate towards fiscal responsibility.”

She said the ministry will endeavour to work within the parameters of this provision. However, we already foresee the need to seek augmentation from the Ministry of Finance in days ahead as we meet our subvention commitment to BFSB, “as we move forward and our country moves on to further commitment to the ministry through the provision of greater resources.”

The minister affirmed she is committed to working with what has been provided and the ministry shall do what it takes to sustain the reputational integrity of the financial services sector in The Bahamas and abroad.

She said in the overseas promotion campaigns ministry officials are often provided with speaking slots which has afforded them the opportunity to raise the profile of The Bahamas in countries such as the Brazil, China, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Panama, Mexico, Greece, the United States and throughout the Caribbean region.

Minister Strachan said one thing has held true at every single event, and that is the unabated value the government brings to the sector by showing its commitment to the financial services industry through its promotion and presence at these events.

“It provides confirmation that we are serious about the growth and development of this sector.”

The minister added, “however, we must continue to create be innovative through the development of new financial products, which will enable us to reach a wider financial services market and ensure that our industry professionals are fully equipped and prepared to take advantage of opportunities.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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