Bahamas Braving Turmoil in Financial Sector

27 Feb 2019


Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest

The Bahamas will not give up ground as a premier financial center

Pointing to the “turmoil in the financial services sector today”, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest yesterday charged that The Bahamas has no intention of giving up any ground as a premier international financial center.

Despite the country’s best efforts, Turnquest said there seems to be no end in sight for small territories like The Bahamas, and “the playing field will never be level”.

“No matter how cooperative or how compliant we are as a nation, larger countries exercise their liberty to create new rules at will, with an expectation for everyone to immediately fall in line, no matter the resources we need to marshal or the investments we need to make,” Turnquest said, while giving remarks at the Royal Fidelity Bahamas Economic Outlook at Baha Mar yesterday.

“The United States has one set of rules. The European Union has another. And then, the OECD and the EU together have another set of rules. The latest move by the Netherlands is clearly an indication that individual countries within the EU now want to have their own individual standards to export to the entire industry too. When does it stop?”

The Bahamas stands blacklisted by the European Union due to “strategic deficiencies” in anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT).

This followed rushed attempts at the end of 2018 to pass legislation that would keep The Bahamas in good standing and off the EU’s blacklist of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions.

The Bahamas is a clean, compliant and cooperative wealth management jurisdiction

“This is 2019, and it doesn’t matter how many blacklists pop up to unfairly stick The Bahamas on, the fact will remain: We are a clean, compliant and cooperative wealth management jurisdiction, providing competitive financial services. We compete on the strength of our services and the quality of our professionals, and we eschew any and all efforts to introduce AML/CFT risk into our system. This government is committed to keeping up with any regulator or legislative reforms that are necessary to maintain our position as a global leader,” Turnquest said.

“We have no intention of giving up any of the ground we occupy as a premier international financial center. We are adapting to the changing environment and encouraging the industry to innovate and develop new competitive products to meet the demands of the market. Investors can be assured The Bahamas will continue to be a reliable provider of sophisticated, high-quality financial services products that meet their needs.”

Despite the constant threat from global financial watchdogs, Turnquest said The Bahamas is braving the turmoil.

“Just last week, our efforts in this regard were highlighted in an independent and impartial assessment conducted by Moody’s Investor Service. After examining our fiscal reforms in totality, they changed the outlook on our credit rating from negative to stable, and affirmed our overall rating at Baa3,” he said.

“The upward revision in the outlook was attributed to a number of factors, including the soon-to-be-established Disaster Relief Fund, which was recognized for promoting greater economic resilience by mitigating the underlying credit vulnerability that natural disasters pose.”

Source: Nassau Guardian