Bahamas News

As International Financial Centre, Bahamas Must Keep Up with Constant Change

#Nassau, September 17, 2018 – Bahamas – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest said The Bahamas operates in an environment of constant change when it comes to the international financial sector, particularly when it comes to international codes of conduct.

“In the region, when it comes to keeping pace with the ever-evolving standards, we know the challenges all too well,” DPM Turnquest said at the two-day AML/CFT Anti-Money Laundering: Countering the Financing of Terrorism 2018 Risk Management Conference at Baha Mar, Monday, September 17, 2018.

The DPM said, understandably, the sector is reliant upon international standards to safeguard the integrity of the financial system.

“These are important components of the industry’s necessary infrastructure. At the foundation, there are international financial reporting standards that govern financial accounting.”

He explained that there are international codes governing the effective regulation and supervision of banks, insurance companies, and pension funds.  There are codes related to correspondent banking, financial crime, and tax compliance.  DPM Turnquest said as the industry matures, new threats emerge and new risks are assessed.

“This means codes of conduct change. And change can be extremely consequential in the financial services sector.  The Financial Action Tax Force (FATF) Recommendations on Money Laundering, first introduced in 1990, were momentous for the entire industry.

“Similarly, the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act, a 2010 law enacted in the US, had far reaching effects in The Bahamas and across the entire industry.

“Of course, we are all familiar with the most recent Common Reporting Standards (CRS) implemented by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and how consequential they have been.”

He said in light of this, international codes and compliance mechanisms simply cannot be taken for granted by any country or institution, much less small island nations like ours.  The DPM said to stand amongst the best in the international financial services sector there is simply no room for complacency.  “Complacency makes you obsolete; it can threaten your market access.”

He explained that it is the government’s desire is to maintain the country’s status as a premier International Financial Centre (IFC); and to set a gold standard in effective management of Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) risks.

“To kick off this conference today I want to affirm the government’s serious commitment to a high-quality AML/CFT regime, and to emphasize this message: To all of the stakeholders gathered here today – legislators, regulators, members of private financial institutions and law enforcement – as a jurisdiction, together we must be highly engaged at the international level; we must be robust in our domestic actions; and we must be effective in our enforcement of standards.”

He said, “This message is relevant to all IFCs, because to remain competitive we simply must have a safe financial system that is resistant, across the board and within each relevant institution, to any facilitation of financial crime such as money laundering and terrorist financing.”

 

By Llonella Gilbert

Release: BIS

Photo Caption:  Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest opens the two-day AML/CFT Anti-Money Laundering: Countering the Financing of Terrorism 2018 Risk Management Conference at Baha Mar, Monday, September 17, 2018.

(BIS Photo/Kristaan Ingraham)

 

 

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