The new administrative monetary penalty system adopted by The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) last week has already been “imbedded in the system” of supervised financial institutions (SFIs) for years now, and won’t change The Bahamas’ standing with international watchdogs, Chairman of the Clearing Banks Association (CBA) Gowon Bowe insisted yesterday.
CBOB released a guidance note last week that set out the procedures it will follow to impose AMP if there is cause for concern regarding anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT).
In its role as the supervisory authority, CBOB will impose penalties on a case-by-case basis, informed by the particular circumstances of each case; and for violations made by a financial institution, the bank may impose a maximum penalty up to $200,000, and in the case of an individual, a penalty up to $50,000.
Bowe said there must be working relationships between the financial institutions and the regulator to ensure that The Bahamas has the most robust and effect regime, but equally the most efficient and pro-business.
“And more importantly from the institution standpoint, that it’s not lopsided, or all about eliminating risks, but balancing risk with business process,” he said in an interview with Guardian Business.
“The reality is if you make it so difficult for me to transact business then I really don’t need risk management, because I wouldn’t have any business to manage.”
Bowe said the reality is that most of the SFIs in The Bahamas have been adhering to the formal regimes introduced for up to two years now.
“The initiatives that we are now signing onto are ensuring that we get recognition for the things that we have been doing for a number of years, and now making sure that we get credit for it. And we certainly have to be very mindful that this isn’t going to change our standing,” he said.
“We have to demonstrate that the actual regimes are effective, that there is enforcement when there is a failure to comply, and more importantly that it is dynamic, that it is ever changing and that it is representative of the way of the world.”