Categorized | Business, Featured, National News

PM: Gov’t To Restructure Financial Services Model

Prime Minister Perry Christie said although The Bahamas has enjoyed more than eight decades of a thriving financial services sector, it is no time for the country to become complacent and announced that his government is in the process of restructuring the current model.

While speaking at the opening ceremony of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners Caribbean Conference (STEP) on Monday, Prime Minister Christie said the government’s growth strategy could best be described as bold and creative “with the private sector working hand-in-hand with a supportive government.”

“Notwithstanding our success in financial services over the years; my government is not complacent,” he said. “After 80 years of a very successful financial services model, largely bank and trust based, we are re-examining what we do and how we do it.

“For The Bahamas, as Minister (Ryan) Pinder outlined in his 10 year strategy last year, The Bahamas is taking stock and promoting the depth and width of our products and services which include commercial banking, private banking, trust services, capital markets, investment advisory services, e-commerce, insurance, accounting and legal services along with corporate and shipping registries and investment fund administration.”

Prime Minister Christie added that the government is seeking to add to this menu through the introduction of arbitration services and yacht and airplane registries and updated Intellectual Property registries.

“We are also looking to link more comprehensively our financial offerings with our trade and logistical agenda, and we have announced our intention to create a trade finance campus in Freeport, Grand Bahama to enhance our transshipment and container port assets,” he added. “We also seek to encourage more front office and mind and management work in the country. We are re-examining our immigration policies to ensure that they are conducive to our goals.”

Mr. Christie told the crowd that, The Bahamas as a financial services centre, is an example of boldness and creativity with strong government support.

He reminded that in less than 100 years, The Bahamas managed to transform itself from a fishing and farming economy, to an economy with a good standard of living, a growing middle class, full access to education and a modern financial services infrastructure.

“At a time when the prevailing development economists focused on import substitution, The Bahamas assessed its strengths and built an economy based on services, tourism which has ensured broad employment for a major share of the population and financial services which today, is the second industry of The Bahamas representing over 15 per cent of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and a similar share of employment.

“Yet, in spite of these challenges, the financial services industry in The Bahamas, and in the region, continues to succeed. That success is demonstrated through our country’s display of resilience, pliability; by its ability to turn a negative into a positive; and by being able to turn around challenges.”

Despite the successes, Prime Minister Christie said he does not wish to continue the status quo with respect to The Bahamian economy, but to allow The Bahamas to move to a new growth paradigm through the diversification of the Bahamian economy and the refocusing of the financial sector towards activities which add significant value to its clients.

“Indeed, critical to the survival of our centres, is the need to periodically assess our individual strengths and strategies – particularly in the realm of wealth and estate planning,” Mr. Christie added.

“The Bahamas now finds itself at a similar crossroads as our forbearers those many years ago, and my government is determined to apply the same boldness, creativity and political leadership to continue to drive our economy towards an even higher growth trajectory. It is imperative, that our centres continue to be staffed with the right people to drive our industry. After all, it is our people who seek out the possibilities, innovate and create.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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