Business

Warren: Despite challenges, financial services sector has adapted

Amid ongoing and intense scrutiny, The Bahamas’ financial services remains tried and tested, according to a top industry expert.

The Bahamas has faced multiple blacklistings by international financial services regulators in recent years, forcing the Minnis administration to shift its legislative agenda to ensure adherence to globally agreed standards.

Wendy Warren, managing director of boutique services firm Caystone, said despite such challenging circumstances, the jurisdiction has had an impressive adaptability to the varying changes thrown its way.

“The financial centers only secure the headlines when they’re under scrutiny, so it’s very often and very easy that you can associate the international financial centers as persons that are under intense scrutiny. I would argue that places like The Bahamas have been able to run two parallel tracks, responding to the scrutiny while still delivering high quality services to clients and I think that is pretty impressive,” she said in the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) Special Report on The Bahamas, released yesterday.

“The scrutiny, while difficult, is not unlike what a corporate entity might experience at, say, an enterprise-wide audit, where you’ve got multifaceted points of interrogation and challenge to that institution. And the countries have been under that same type of scrutiny, perhaps even more challenging because these are global standard setters who are rolling out new regimes that are not very predictable sometimes.

“But The Bahamas has been able to adapt, has been able to engage in a way that’s been productive and I think we have demonstrated our viability and our ability to remain competitive in what has been a significantly evolving environment. So, I would say to persons as they consider The Bahamas that we have been tried and tested, but in each case we have proven that we can respond in a holistic way while we continue to provide a good place for clients to work globally, to hold and invest their wealth.”

Warren’s comments come days after G7 nations made the decision to move forward on a global minimum corporate tax rate. She was not, however, speaking directly to the issue, which is seen by many as another threat to The Bahamas’ financial services sector.

Last week, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis acknowledged the dilemma facing the industry, noting, “The offshore financial services sector, our number two industry, has been shrinking due to a vastly different and much more stringent global regulatory environment.”

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Paige McCartney

Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas. Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016. Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News

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