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Central Bank focuses on Fintech

As The Central Bank of The Bahamas moves ahead with plans to develop a digital Bahamian dollar, governor John Rolle says regulators must facilitate "the positive side of the Fintech revolution". (Stock photo)

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Monday, November 5, 2018
Monday, November 5, 2018
Catherine Morris

As The Central Bank of The Bahamas moves ahead with plans to develop a digital Bahamian dollar, governor John Rolle says regulators must facilitate “the positive side of the Fintech revolution”.

Addressing attendees at the Caribbean Association of Banks 45th annual conference last week, Rolle said: “We are working to have a digital version of the local currency in circulation at some point. This will be a digital version, functioning in every way as the existing currency.”


In August, the Central Bank invited tech firms to submit proposals for design and implementation of a digital currency platform. When a proposal is selected, the bank expects to pilot the system on a small-scale in the Family Islands, with full roll-out throughout the country within 30 months.

Staying ahead of the evolving market is key, according to Rolle who highlighted the need for regulators to become familiar with some of the technical aspects of Fintech as well as the terminology. “The tech-rich environment means regulators have to have the capacity to keep up in the space and understand what is going on.”

In terms of The Bahamas’ AML/CTF risks, Rolle said technology presents a way to better monitor transactions and therefore strengthen the existing compliance framework saying: “There are risks on the AML side, but there are also tremendous opportunities.”

“We must make sure our legal frameworks adapt. The way we harmonise regulation is important. It is not about putting up obstacles and barriers but having the right framework in place.”

Noting that greater use of technology leads to concerns over data protection, the governor said the Central Bank was very focused on cybersecurity. “We have to manage these threats, the alternative of staying offline is not an option.”

Another area of importance for the bank is raising public awareness and ensuring that all consumers have access to Fintech innovation. “We need to address how people embrace the technology,” said Rolle. “Having the legal environment is not enough.”

cmorris@dupuch.com

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest brought remarks at the Caribbean Association of Banks' 45th Annual General Meeting and Conference, October 31, 2018. Read/download his address here.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest addressed the Caribbean Regional Compliance Association Conference in Bridgetown, Barbados, November 2. Read his comments here.

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