The global pandemic dealt a harsh blow to tourism-dependent economies like The Bahamas', and many questioned whether there would be a domino effect throughout other industries.
While many industries were impacted, financial services, as our second largest industry, proved resilient throughout the pandemic, staying steady in rapidly changing circumstances affected by changes in service delivery channels and the ongoing transformation of the regulatory landscape. Today, we remain a major global destination for wealth management.
On a per-capita basis, no other country can match the level of expertise teeming within our borders. We have an entire cadre of legal, accountancy, trust, banking, and insurance professionals working with and for financial services firms of all sizes and specialisations in the planning, creating and managing of our world-class offerings. Our in-country expertise is a major driving force behind our success, serving as the springboard that propels our financial services sector through the best and worst times.
Over the years, despite multiple economic shocks and a rapidly evolving global financial services market and regulatory landscape, The Bahamas continues to lead the way. You will find secure anchorage for your financial services and investments within our borders. We refer to our approach as measured innovation: each step we take is well-planned and strategic and balances the preservation of our historical strengths with the need to evolve and lead the way constantly.
As the second-largest contributor to our GDP behind tourism, the financial services industry is a central pillar of the Bahamian economy. Successive administrations have demonstrated their commitment to sustained innovation and success in this sector. The government remains committed to avoiding adverse listings, harnessing the potential within existing and new niches, and ensuring that our financial services regime continues to provide market-responsive wealth management vehicles.
As a result of the investment of a tremendous amount of resources, you will not find The Bahamas on any existing blacklists. We have met and exceeded global standards for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures and established the highest tax transparency and compliance levels. Investors can expect consistency, stability, and security within the confines of the financial services sector.
We have responded to and adopted EU standards related to economic substance, ensuring that entities in The Bahamas are managed and conducting adequate business and removing all preferential exemptions for local entities operating commercial activity outside the country. We embrace change as an opportunity for growth.
Greater transparency measures for mandatory disclosures and the arrival of global minimum corporate taxes are issues that we are prepared to address in the near future. You can be sure that our response to these looming issues will be thoughtful and maintain clearly articulated, balanced policy positions. Our number one priority, as always, is to protect the interests of our investors, clients, and other key stakeholder groups.
You can expect to see sustained jurisdictional excellence and world-leading innovation from our financial services sector. This is increasingly important as the world grapples with the current inflation crisis, and economic indicators have spurred economists to begin warning of an impending recession. Savvy investors are positioning themselves to secure their assets and future while taking advantage of a re-opened global economy.
One of the critical elements of the Bahamas infrastructure is a robust public-private partnership where communication is open and frank among all three participants involved with this agenda: government, regulator and private sector. This public-private dialogue facilitates our engagement in creating and investing in our wealth management pedigree.
As a jurisdiction, we lean into our geopolitical advantages as a global transhipment hub – a gateway to the Americas – and as a politically, economically, and socially stable nation with a strong international standing. While global markets and economies remain in flux, The Bahamas' financial services sector remains a bulwark of strength, stability, and consistency. This is not by chance. Through the strategic development of the industry, we have created optimal conditions for our financial services stakeholders to grow and protect their economic interests.
This is why leaders in the FinTech industry, for example, are now making moves to establish a foothold in The Bahamas.
During these uncertain times, it is more critical than ever for investments to be anchored in a safe harbour. The track record of our financial services industry speaks for itself. We have weathered storm after storm. The Bahamas will continue to maintain its position as a global destination of choice for wealth management and wealth generation. We are committed to keeping our status as the complete and compelling choice for financial services for years to come.
Dr. Tanya C McCartney
Dr. Tanya McCartney is a UK trained barrister and chartered banker who since 2016 has served as the CEO and Executive Director at the Bahamas Financial Services Board. Over the past two decades Tanya has distinguished herself as a hardworking professional with expertise in the law, regulatory and gaming compliance, risk management, banking, and international financial services. She holds a Doctor of Business Administration from Edinburgh Napier University (Scotland, U.K.) for a programme of work entitled “Perspectives on Leading change: Exploring Change Readiness Strategies used in the Bahamian Financial Services Sector”. Tanya was appointed to the Senate of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas in 2001 being one of the youngest persons ever appointed to the Upper House where she served for five years. She vied for a seat in parliament in the 2002 general elections. She is a former President and founding member of the Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers. She is the co-chairman of the Bahamas Chapter of the global Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists. Tanya is also an adjunct professor in the School of Business at the University of the Bahamas. She has served on several government boards over the years including The Public Hospital’s Authority, The University of The Bahamas and currently serves as Chairman of The Police Complaints Inspectorate and Deputy Chairman on The Airport Authority.