Monday, January 23, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
Leading lawyer Brian Moree has called for a “major paradigm shift” in the financial services sector so that The Bahamas can grow its economy and compete with other international financial centres (IFCs).
Speaking at the 21st annual Bahamas Business Outlook conference held at the Wyndham Nassau resort recently Moree, a senior partner at McKinney Bancroft & Hughes, said the sector was in need of widespread reform.
Audio content loading … please standby
“We in The Bahamas are not realizing our potential with regards to the financial services industry. It has contributed 15-18 per cent of the GDP for twenty plus years. If you are not growing that means you are going backwards, there is no such thing as standing still in business.”
The former director of the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) told conference attendees he believed the sector could increase its GDP contribution to between 22-25 per cent within the next ten years through greater investment in the sector.
“While we recognize that these are austere times, we cannot expect to achieve quantum growth without investing in the industry,” he explained.
According to Moree, the creation of a Ministry of Financial Services, better and more effective marketing on an international scale, the introduction of timely financial services products to global markets and regulatory reform could help kickstart this growth and better position The Bahamas internationally.
He also suggested that a value added tax could be introduced in the future, to replace the current system of import tariffs, saying: “The ability of an international financial centre to survive is enhanced by migrating from a neutral tax platform to a low-tax platform, this would complement and enhance our status as an IFC.”
Moree impressed upon his audience the importance of the financial services industry and called for greater awareness of how vital it is to the country’s economy.
“If we are going to do what we have to do, we must convince the Bahamian people that the financial services industry is as important to the labourer, the teacher, the plumber as it is to the banker, the lawyer and the accountant. People must accept that a rising tide lifts all boats.”
“We are competing with many other countries for business and we must develop tangible, discernible, competitive advantages for doing business in The Bahamas.”