From Features

Bahamas Report 2023

The Bahamas has emerged as a powerhouse in the realm of international finance, showcasing resilience in the face of regulatory challenges and a keen embrace of cutting-edge financial technologies. As the world's financial dynamics continue to evolve, the Bahamas stands resilient as a strategic hub, offering a unique blend of regulatory acumen, technological innovation, and a commitment to excellence.

Dr Tanya C McCartney from the Bahamas Financial Services Board provides an overview of the Bahamas' commitment to regulatory excellence and innovative solutions, setting the stage for exploration into the nation's multifaceted financial landscape.

Christina Rolle from the Securities Commission of The Bahamas highlights the Bahamas' leadership in regulating digital assets, exemplified by the progressive DARE Act (2020) and DARE Bill (2023), prioritizing investor protection and adaptability.

In trusts and funds, Paul Winder from Deltec Bank & Trust Ltd focuses on intergenerational estate planning, while Chris Illing from ActivTrades Corp. explores the growing importance of systemic research in investment strategies, targeting opportunities like AI, carbon capture, and FinTech in 2024. Dr. Iyandra Smith from Quantfury Trading Ltd. emphasizes the advantages of systematic trading for effective risk management.

In addition, we focus on unique opportunities within the Bahamas in the world of climate finance. Aliya Allen from Graham Thompson underscores the Bahamas' dedication to climate finance and ESG initiatives, navigating global disclosure regimes through acts like the Carbon Market Initiatives Act and the Carbon Trading Act 2022.

The Bahamas' pivotal role in global dispute resolution is relayed by Peter D. Maynard, PhD, FCIArb, who considers the function of institutions like the International Western Hemisphere Arbitration, Adjudication, and Mediation Centre. Meanwhile, Christel Sands-Feaste, Alexandra T. Hall and Julia Koga da Silva from Higgs & Johnson look at the Bahamas' unveiling of legislative updates, enhancing revenue measures, modernizing payment systems, and overhauling economic substance regulations amid a tourism-driven economic rebound.

Finally, Michele Fields, Superintendent of Insurance at The Insurance Commission of the Bahamas, outlines the competitive costs and robust regulations making the Bahamas an attractive destination for international and captive insurance businesses.


The Bahamas: A Financial Centre Built to Last

Dr. Tanya C McCartney
CEO and Executive Director, Bahamas Financial Services Board

For years The Bahamas, like many other jurisdictions, have been ‘running against the wind’ as the headwinds of successive global regulatory initiatives blow hard against the financial services landscape, seemingly intent on eroding competitive advantage and ability to lead the way in the international financial services marketplace.

While The Bahamas confronts forward and rearguard actions by G7 and other international bodies that threaten to impede its sustainability as a financial centre, the jurisdiction continues to persevere and move ahead, unperturbed by these efforts and focused on remaining compliant in delivering exceptional service and bespoke client solutions. It has been more than twenty years since the heavyweights of the world’s economic order began to impose rules that pose an existential threat to core elements of the economies of developing countries such as The Bahamas. Some of these actions were admittedly required. However, uniform global implementation and imposition of consequences for failing to comply remained uneven, with small developing states feeling most of the pressure. Nonetheless, The Bahamas with its limited resources makes every effort to meet these standards. It can now boast of being one of very few countries in the world to be compliant with all forty Recommendations of the Fin…


Navigating The Digital Frontier: The Bahamas' Approach To Regulating Digital Assets

Christina R. Rolle
Securities Commission of The Bahamas

The rapid emergence of digital assets and cryptocurrencies has presented many challenges for regulators in the global financial sector. Recognising the need for a robust regulatory framework to bring legal clarity to this dynamic, evolving space, The Bahamas has taken a progressive approach to the regulation of digital assets. This article explores the rationale behind The Bahamas’ decision to regulate digital assets, the development of the Digital Assets and Registered Exchanges (DARE) Act, 2020, and the key provisions shaping the regulatory landscape that influenced the new DARE Bill, 2023, which we anticipate will become law this year.

The Path Toward Regulation

The Securities Commission of The Bahamas, (the Commission), the statutory regulator for the nation's capital markets, began developing legislation for digital assets in 2018 after monitoring the industry's rapid growth over several years. The Commission took a thoughtful, deliberate approach to determining what threats, if any, the space represented. The Commission was faced with several considerations including the lack of legal definition and a globally agreed taxonomy for digital assets, as well as what its overarching approach to digital assets in or from within the jurisdiction would be.

First and foremost, The Bahamas had to determine whether it wanted to: (1) allow digital asset businesses to operate within the jurisdiction without a specific regulatory framework; (2) develop a specific regulatory framework to ensure that all digital assets and digital asset activities fall within the perimeters of the regulator’s scope; or (3) prohibit digital asset…