THE Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) combined its annual Summit with the regular Bahamas Briefing that sells international intermediaries on this nation's benefits as an international financial centre (IFC).
More than 170 persons attended this year's International Business & Finance Summit (IBFS), where local speakers were joined by international counterparts from the United Kingdom, Canada, Miami and Singapore. This summit was held under the theme of Hitting the Reset Button, focusing on how the Bahamas proactively reposition itself in an environment demanding tax transparency.
Antoinette Russell, BFSB's chairman, said: "As we hit the reset button, practitioners and regulators alike must move away from describing our financial sector as offshore. The reality is that our business model is far better described as international.
"Therefore, we must remove offshore from our lexicon, which is justified in light of the preponderance of exchange of information agreements before and after CRS and the Bahamas' commitment to these initiatives, including BEPS. Once we acknowledge how far we have come then we can focus on the way forward." Brent Symonette, minister of financial services, trade and industry and Immigration, gave remarks on the state of the industry. John Rolle, the Central Bank of the Bahamas' governor, addressed international developments impacting the country, the global regulatory environment and the institution's response. He also spoke to reshaping domestic policy and the importance of having an international voice.
Sarah Venables, of Deloitte UK, spoke on the topic 'Tax Strategies for the Bahamas as an IFC'. She provided an insight into the current global environment; tax strategies employed by other IFCs; the potential impact of corporate tax and policy considerations; and the next steps for the Bahamas as a compliant jurisdiction.
Philippe May, of Singapore-based Arton Capital, spoke on the world's programmes for investor residence and citizenship, while Susan Fulford of Dynamic Legacy in Canada spoke about Bahamian trusts and Family Offices.
Don Stubbs, of Scotia Wealth Management in Miami, spoke to the role of the Government, financial services providers and professionals in defending the wealth management sector and maintaining the Bahamas as a reputable IFC.