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IFCs must focus on new markets

International financial centres must target new markets, such as those in Latin America, if they are to survive in an increasingly regulated environment, says Bahamas Financial Services Board chief executive officer Aliya Allen. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Wednesday, April 2, 2014

International financial centres (IFCs) must concentrate on innovative products, foster creativity in the financial services industry and target new markets if they are to survive in an increasingly regulated environment, says Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) chief executive officer Aliya Allen.

Speaking at the 3rd Caribbean Conference on the International Financial Services Sector yesterday, Allen told participants that a greater burden of compliance has put pressure on IFCs since the financial crisis of 2008 and offshore jurisdictions such as The Bahamas need to be strategic in how they attract, and cater to, new business.

“Going forward, small Caribbean states will have to demonstrate their nimbleness, their stability, their human capital [and] their expertise,” she said, adding that savvy centres were looking to capture new markets such as Latin America.

“The world’s eyes are shifting towards Latin America,” she said. “There are enormous opportunities. We are seeing a lot of business coming from Brazil and Mexico. You cannot deny the economic strength and opportunities in the Americas.”

Allen said that The Bahamas has already seen a lot of interest from Latin American clients in its wealth management products, particularly in SMART Funds, which have experienced a 25 per cent growth in the last year, and said that the industry was committed to accessing new markets “in a very focused and dedicated way.”

She said creative new ideas such as SMART Funds arose from the industry and emphasized the importance of fostering creativity within the sector.

The BFSB head was part of a panel discussing how IFCs could compete by accessing new markets and developing new products. She said The Bahamas is exploring many avenues for the future including fund administration, asset management, developing an arbitration centre and fulfilling Freeport’s potential as a logistics hub.

The conference took place March 31-April 2 and was held at the British Colonial Hilton, Nassau. Prime Minister Perry Christie delivered the keynote address and delegates also heard from Minister for Financial Services Ryan Pinder. The event was sponsored by the Caribbean Export Development Agency and welcomed attendees from across the region.


Speaking at the opening ceremony for the 3rd Caribbean Conference on The International Financial Services Sector March 31, Prime Minister Perry Christie said that the success of the financial services sector depended on innovative products and development of human resources.

The monopoly on cellular phone services enjoyed by Bahamas Telecommunications Co has come to an end, with the market being liberalized yesterday. Watch a ZNS Network news report here.

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