Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Outlining The Bahamas strategy to compete in an ever-changing regulatory environment, Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder firmly believes a first class international business center requires first class talent at all levels.
“My Ministry cannot stress this enough,” he told industry stakeholders at the Bahamas Financial Services Board’s (BFSB) 10th International Business Finance Summit (IBFS) held at Bimini Bay Resort February 1-3.
At the government level, Pinder expressed his Ministry’s commitment to facilitating the continued education, professional programmes and certifications for high-level executives throughout the sector.
The Ministry has initiated a quarterly education symposium for financial services professionals to further expand their knowledge base. The initiative is in partnership with private sector organizations.
Pinder is also proposing to work with the Ministry of Education and The College of The Bahamas (COB) to expand and enhance the tertiary institution’s foreign language and cultural sensitization training, with a specific focus on international business.
Target areas are to include Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Arabic and Mandarin.
Another new project Pinder’s Ministry will embark on in mid- to late 2013 is the Day One Business Skills Programme.
“Through this programme Bahamians entering the business sector will be equipped with practical business skills,” Pinder explained. “We will ensure adequate training is put in place to utilize the tools of the trade.”
The Ministry will also facilitate the development of an endowment fund for business education majors at COB. It was not immediately clear whether the government intends to create an entirely new endowment fund, or contribute to an existing one.
Pinder also said that his Ministry will aggressively pursue internship opportunities for Bahamian students, in addition to international exchanges for local professionals.
Meantime, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Financial Services have agreed to partner in a comprehensive skills gap analysis of Bahamians in the financial services industry.
The intent is to identify the areas where there exists a gap in local talent, and then in partnership with the Ministry of Education and educational institutions ensure that proper training and educational opportunities are created to help Bahamians cultivate the skills to fill these positions.
“Promoting the advancement of Bahamians through the financial services sector will ensure a sustainable talent pool for continued growth,” said Pinder.
As a part of his strategy, the Minister hopes to encourage innovation and entrepreneurial activity within the industry.
“We are encouraging entrepreneurs to create new products, processes and opportunities for business services,” he said. “The Ministry of Financial Services has the political will to make the necessary changes that can benefit The Bahamas’ financial services sector. Furthermore, we understand that innovation comes from both large and small firms.”
The Ministry intends to undertake two initiatives useful to its policy-making process.
“The first is based on the Dutch ‘Innovation Room’ model. This approach brings together regulators and other officials to review new products and processes quickly. This initiative will bring greater transparency to the process of introducing new or complex products to The Bahamas,” Pinder explained.
The second initiative is the launch of a Financial Sector Innovation Council, which will work with industry to identify new markets and new products for The Bahamas to pursue.
Additionally, the council will assist in ensuring that modern financial sector legislation is in place to create new market niches for Bahamian firms. The council will also be charged with encouraging–through appropriate incentives–financial sector research and development, the Minister added.