Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me to begin by expressing my gratitude for having the privilege to address you today. This wonderful gathering is a testament to our shared commitment to the pivotal role of the Financial Services Industry and to recognizing the contributions of the Bahamas Institute of Financial Services.
Considering the central role financial services play in our economy, every week in The Bahamas could be considered financial services week.
In fact, in times of turbulence, the financial services industry has been an anchor.
The strength of this sector allows us to promote The Bahamas as a “safe harbour” for financial services. Every investor who chooses The Bahamas understands they are investing in a nation renowned for resilience, stability, and the ability to weather any storm that comes our way.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian and the pandemic, the financial services industry continues to play a crucial role in our recovery and growth.
The Bahamas Financial Services Institute serves as a linchpin in maintaining our excellence in the sector. In providing quality training and educational opportunities for local professionals, the Institute plays an invaluable role in strengthening our industry and guiding its future development.
Under the dynamic and visionary leadership of esteemed professionals such as Jermaine Williams and Kim Bodie, our financial services sector continues to innovate and gain strength.
The BIFS is a steadfast partner in the pursuit of excellence. Together, we are formidable contenders on the international financial services stage.
Our nation’s prominence relies on our reputation for transparency, accountability, and integrity. These values are in the DNA of our financial services sector and are the foundation upon which our industry stands.
Our impressive pool of world-class expertise allows us to remain at the forefront of developing market-responsive, client-centric financial services products. These include innovative solutions like Smart Funds and ICONs, which are designed with the needs of our clients at their core.
Per capita, our nation boasts an unrivalled concentration of financial services talent. Bahamians are making their mark in various fields, from accountancy and trust management to law, insurance, and wealth management. Our rich talent pool is a testament to our nation’s capabilities and further potential.
As the global financial industry takes on the introduction of the Global Minimum Corporate Tax, and as we work towards resolving remaining issues with OECD Common Reporting Standards and EU Economic Reporting Standards, we remain focused. In fact, thanks to the diligent efforts of our financial services and compliance experts, we stand proud as one of only six nations worldwide that comply with all 40 FATF Recommendations.
Looking ahead, we are determined to maintain our position as a global leader in the regulation of digital assets. With the fintech industry experiencing rapid growth, we must continue building on our early strengths and remain competitive in the emerging digital era of financial services.
We are refining our legislative framework to better accommodate and protect emerging crypto-based technologies, while also safeguarding market integrity in the decentralized crypto sphere.
As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of global standards, we place the utmost importance on maintaining compliance. We are committed to advocating for a fair and balanced approach as to how these changes are enacted and enforced, to ensure that all nations, large and small, play by the same rules.
Our success to date is owed to our ability to navigate a complex compliance landscape while maintaining our competitive edge. As challenges arise, we navigate them and continue to excel and ascend, with our financial services sector demonstrating robust growth.
The key to our success within the financial services sector, as well as across the wider policy spectrum, lies in our openness to feedback and input. We are a government that values active listening and learning.
Your perspectives and insights are invaluable to us.
I would like to express my profound appreciation to organizations such as BIFS, BFSB, STEP Bahamas, and BACO, among others. The technical support they provide, coupled with their efforts to develop and promote the sector, is crucial to our success as a financial services jurisdiction.
It is through your work that we are able to forge such strong partnerships with the private sector. This enables us to ensure that their needs are met, their concerns addressed, and their innovative ideas integrated into our policymaking. The private sector’s influence is evident throughout our legislative framework and policies.
Engagement with stakeholders is absolutely vital in our quest to create effective, responsive policies grounded in the realities facing practitioners and clients.
As we approach the upcoming budget season and look towards the next fiscal year, I am filled with optimism for the continued economic success of The Bahamas. We are continuing to demonstrate our resilience and tenacity and capacity for growth.
Our forthcoming legislative reforms and the revamp of our National Investment Framework through Bahamas Invest will create a fertile ground for investment. By capitalizing on our potential, we aim to position ourselves as a regional leader in Alternative Dispute Resolution and a global hub for arbitration.
These positive changes are auspicious signs for our financial services sector. They offer compelling reasons for clients to choose The Bahamas for their trust, estate, and wealth management needs. They assure those seeking an innovative, stable, and successful environment to protect and grow their wealth, that The Bahamas is indeed the destination of choice.
I am deeply committed to working in close partnership with the private sector to further grow this industry. Together, we can create abundant opportunities for our talented Bahamian professionals and ensure that we continue to develop innovative, market-driven vehicles for wealth generation and management.
In this gathering, we are fortunate to have some of the world’s best and brightest minds in financial services. With such formidable support, we are filled with confidence and optimism for our future.
Thank you, each and every one of you, for your dedication, hard work, and continued faith in the potential of our nation.