Yesterday the Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) announced the expansion of its bilateral exchange agreements through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia (SFC) – the Colombian government agency responsible for overseeing financial regulation and market systems – even as it continues through the process of Colombia-based GNB Financial Group Limited’s acquisition of CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited.
Governor CBOB John Rolle told Guardian Business yesterday that the Colombian MOU was not related to any “particular transaction”.
“The Central Bank has bilateral MOUs with 11 other financial regulators aside from Colombia, including a multilateral arrangement with CARICOM (Caribbean Community),” he said.
“These facilitate cooperation in supervisory matters affecting licensed financial institutions operating from within The Bahamas that have a direct link to the country or countries with which the agreement is signed. This list of MOUs is growing.”
The purpose of the MOU is to establish mechanisms that ease the exchange of information and cooperation between the two bodies regarding supervised institutions and their cross-border establishments, as well as the institutions that are a part of a financial conglomerate.
The two authorities agreed to also share confidential information and allow for inspections of its supervised institutions by foreign authorities.
It is understood that eventually GNB will be a licensed financial institution operating from within The Bahamas when its majority acquisition of CIBC FirstCaribbean has been finalized.
Rolle responded with “no comment” when asked where the regulatory process is at this time for GNB’s acquisition locally.
The MOU outlines that both countries agree to exchange of information and mutual cooperation for comprehensive, consolidated and cross-border supervision.
The MOU explains that supervised institutions governed by the MOU include “credit establishments, entities committed to electronic savings and payments, trust companies, general deposit warehouses, pension and severance fund management companies, pay-as-you-go system management companies, insurance companies, insurance cooperatives, reinsurance companies, capitalization companies, professional risk management companies, insurance and reinsurance brokers, foreign exchange brokers and special financial services companies”, among others types of financial services business.
According to the MOU, its purpose is to “establish mechanisms that ease the exchange of information and cooperation between the parties of the supervised institutions and their cross-border establishments and the institutions that are part of a financial conglomerate”.
While the MOU might have no correlation to GNB’s acquisition of CIBC, it will likely make transitions between both countries easier in the future.
Guardian Business reported in November that GNB reached an agreement with CIBC to purchase 66.73 percent of CIBC FirstCaribbean’s shares, a transaction which is subject to regulatory approval from local regulators. CIBC will continue to hold a 24.9 percent stake in its Caribbean arm.