The Bahamas’ financial services sector has remained resilient through Hurricane Dorian, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ever-changing global financial services industry, Bahamas Financial Services Board CEO and Executive Director Tanya McCartney said recently, adding that none of those challenges experienced by companies have affected the execution of their business.
McCartney, who made the remarks in International Investment’s special report on The Bahamas, said many of the international financial services firms had “robust” business continuity plans to get them through these back-to-back crises.
“None of these challenges have impeded the country‘s financial services industry from conducting business and delivering bespoke solutions to meet changing diverse client needs,” McCartney said.
“Robust business continuity plans that are in place with all financial institutions have allowed businesses to continue doing business during Hurricane Dorian last fall and now as the world deals with COVID-19. The far-sightedness of business continuity measures have clearly been in play in cushioning the implications of these events and reinforces why the country is seen by many as an ideal location for financial institutions and the services they provide to their international client base.
“This adaptability has been especially evident in The Bahamas’ response to international initiatives, which has ensured adherence with the highest standards of compliance with every internationally agreed standard of conduct.”
McCartney, though, acknowledged the sector, and country’s difficult and ongoing bouts with the European Union (EU) and other bodies regarding this country’s placement on black lists and grey lists.
She contended that while The Bahamas has made great strides in some instances in becoming compliant with the whims and fancies of international financial watchdogs, on some fronts the country is continually jousted by them.
“The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has acknowledged that The Bahamas has remediated the issues identified in its assessment of its anti-money laundering framework and had agreed to an onsite inspection as a part of the formal process of exiting the FATF ‘Grey List’,” said McCartney.
“This onsite visit was scheduled for April 2020 but had to be postponed as a result of the COVID19 pandemic. The Bahamas remains buoyed by that announcement, notwithstanding later conflicting news of the EU’s intention to include The Bahamas on the list of high-risk third countries, which would take effect in October 2020.
“The Bahamas is engaged with EU officials at the highest diplomatic and political level to demonstrate the strength of The Bahamas’ AML/CTF regime. The Bahamas maintains that it is attaining the highest standards in the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and other identified financial crimes risks.”
McCartney said financial services remains an important second pillar of the Bahamian economy and is important to the country’s continued development.
“The financial sector’s viability is therefore a priority for both public and private sectors alike,” she said.