The Bahamas is one of the world’s principal international business and financial centres. The country’s progressive legislation and regulatory structure, skilled workforce and responsive government have attracted many of the world’s largest and most prestigious financial institutions. Convenient air transportation, modern infrastructure, including a state of the art telecommunications system, support efficient business operations.
The financial services industry benefits from the country’s long history of political and social stability. Parliamentary democracy has continued without interruption for more than 280 years. As an independent nation, financial markets in The Bahamas are supervised by independent regulatory authorities, including the Central Bank of The Bahamas.
Goodman’s Bay Corporate Centre, Nassau
The Government and the private sector have a shared vision for the way forward in financial services: to be a globally competitive international business centre for private wealth management, capital investment in the Americas and emerging markets and residency.
The Bahamas Financial Services Board (BSFB), a partnership between the Government and the private sector, promotes the development of the financial services industry. It responds to the changing demands of international clients, and provides efficient coordination and communication of the opportunities available in The Bahamas.
In its role as an international financial centre of world banking activities, The Bahamas emphasizes the quality and international reputation of financial institutions. There are over two hundred and fifty banks and trust companies licensed to do business within and from The Bahamas, representing twenty-five different countries including the United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, the United States, Canada, Japan and Brazil.
Private banking, portfolio management and mutual fund administration have gained in importance in recent years, reinforcing the international community’s recognition of The Bahamas as a safe place for financial assets of individuals and corporations.
The Central Bank of The Bahamas supervises all bank and trust companies, and maintains a regulatory environment that is conducive to investment opportunities while at the same time ensuring the highest standards of operations and conduct, as developed by the Basle Committee on Banking Supervision.
EXPANDING SECURITIES MARKET
The securities sector is a dynamic and growing part of the financial services industry. The Securities Commission of The Bahamas is an independent body, charged with the responsibility for providing regulatory oversight for developing capital markets, including investment funds. It has been in existence since 1995 and has been a member of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) since 1996.
The Commission’s role encompasses the supervision and oversight of the Bahamas International Securities Exchange (BISX), launched in 2000, and other market participants such as brokers, dealers, investment advisors and clearing settlement, depository, custody, and registrar and transfer agent facilities.
Bahamas Financial Centre, Nassau
To date, the Commission has played an important role in the administration of the Investment Funds Act, 2003. The investment funds industry boasts over 700 investment funds operating in or from The Bahamas, with a net asset value in excess of US$189 billion under administration.
Most recently, the Commission has signed off on modern legislation, compliant with IOSCO standards and designed to strengthen and enhance effective regulation of the securities market and to foster the development of the capital markets.
This independent entity along with the new modern securities laws all serve to strengthen the position of The Bahamas as a worldwide leader in the provision of financial services.
GROWING INSURANCE SERVICES
With the establishment of the independent Insurance Commission of The Bahamas (ICB) in 2009, and the introduction of competitive insurance legislation, in particular the External Insurance Act, 2009, The Bahamas is poised for growth in this arena.
With its experienced pool of talent, diverse professional services firms, ideal location and legislative framework, The Bahamas possesses the right environment for international life insurance and captives industry. The Bahamas is careful to ensure that the insurance industry develops on principles compliant with the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS).
The legislative framework governing the activities of the financial services industry is modern and accommodating.
Representatives of the private sector are regularly consulted in a continuous effort to keep financial services legislation abreast of changing investor requirements.
Presently, a full suite of legal entities is available and includes:
- Private, Purpose and Charitable Trusts
- Professional, SMART and Standard Funds
- Captive, Life and (Re) Insurance
- Segregated Accounts Companies
- Limited Duration Companies
- Companies Limited by Guarantee
- Exempted Limited Partnerships
Non-residents who do business in The Bahamas enjoy considerable freedom from exchange controls. The repatriation of foreign investment funds, foreign assets and dividends or profits arising from foreign investment is allowed and facilitated.
Bahamian law strongly protects the right to confidentiality and privacy of bank clients and further protects the security and good name of The Bahamas.
The introduction of legislation criminalizing money laundering in The Bahamas strengthens the jurisdiction’s reputation as clean, reputable and worthy of the full confidence of discerning international investors and businesspersons.
The Bahamas has no personal, capital gains, estate gift or inheritance taxes. There is also no corporate tax unless revenue is derived from within The Bahamas.
Having regard to and structured upon the accepted international standards of transparency and tax information exchange, the Government has brought into force the International Tax Cooperation Act, 2010,and concluded twenty-two tax information exchange agreements with our major international business and financial partners.
A STRONG WORK FORCE
UBS House, Nassau
One of the greatest assets of the Bahamian economy is its large, skilled workforce. The nation enjoys an adult literacy rate of 95% and The Bahamas Institute of Bankers sponsors academic programs in conjunction with the College of The Bahamas that are designed to keep the nation’s workforce competitive.
The professional community of attorneys, accountants, international bankers, trustees and investment specialists is large, diverse and highly skilled. All of the “Big Five” international accounting firms: Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young, Pannel Kerr Forster, KPMG and PriceWaterhouseCoopers are represented in The Bahamas. There is also a full complement of respected and experienced law firms.
BAHAMAS INVESTMENT AUTHORITY
OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER
P.O. BOX CB-10980
PHONE: (242) 327-5826
FAX: (242) 327-5806
BAHAMAS FINANCIAL SERVICES BOARD
P.O. BOX N-1764
NASSAU, THE BAHAMAS
PHONE: (242) 326-7001
FAX: (242) 326-7007
WEB SITE: www.bfsb-bahamas.com
- About The Bahamas
- Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC)
- Bahamas Chamber of Commerce
- Bahamas Development Bank
- Bahamas Financial Services Board
- Bahamas Maritime Authority
- Bahamas Real Estate Association
- Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BaTelCo)
- Central Bank of The Bahamas
- Department of Customs
- Department of Immigration
- International Persons Landholding Act
- Ministry of Finance
- Ministry of Tourism
- Registrar General’s Department
- Securities Commission of The Bahamas