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Industry urged to engage with CRS

As The Bahamas moves to adopt the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), the international community will be watching, warned Brian Moree (pictured, stock photo), senior partner at McKinney Bancroft & Hughes, this week. 

Friday, September 23, 2016
Friday, September 23, 2016

As The Bahamas moves to adopt the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), the international community will be watching, warned Brian Moree, senior partner at McKinney Bancroft & Hughes, this week.

“There is much work to be done,” he said, addressing the Nassau Conference. “It will require a national commitment and structured collaboration between stakeholders. There is no room for missteps or delays.

“If you give the international community half a reason to intervene, they will do so. We can afford no mistakes, we have to fully comply.”

The Bahamas has committed to implementing CRS by December 2018, as mandated by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development. Moree spoke of the various stages that adopting the legislation would entail, including incorporating it into domestic law, creating an administrative and IT framework and safeguarding data.

“The challenge is that we have to ensure that we have the institutional capacity to handle a very large volume of data,” he said and added that “meaningful consultation” with industry stakeholders was crucial to the process.

“This is a process you need to be engaged in,” he told delegates at the conference on Wednesday. “The overriding objective is to comply but there are areas where we have legitimate options and those are the areas you need to be engaged in. It is going to be a challenge but I am confident it is a challenge we will be able to meet.”

Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) CEO Tanya McCartney said the private sector will be invited to give feedback once the current draft legislation has been approved. She said those involved are working towards an “aggressive goal” of having the legislation passed before the end of the year.

The Nassau Conference took place on September 21 at the Melia resort on Cable Beach. Other speakers on the agenda included Minister of Financial Services Hope Strachan and Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis. The theme of the event was Strengthening Our Competitiveness and topics ranged from opportunities in Latin America to trends in family offices and international business.

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists yesterday unveiled a free online database containing 1.3 million leaked files from The Bahamas’ corporate registry. Read a Bahamas Tribune article about the responses from the industry here.

The Office of the Attorney General has released an official statement following the leaking of data by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Read the statement here.

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