Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest, pictured (third left) with the Governor of the Central Bank Mr. John Rolle (fourth left) and delegates from the ASBA XXI Annual Assembly & XIII High-Level Meeting.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest welcomes the Association of Supervisors of Banks of The Americas XXI Annual Assembly and XIII High-Level Meeting at Grand Hyatt, Baha Mar, October 30, 2018:
Good morning, and welcome to The Bahamas. We are honoured to host this distinguished gathering of bank supervision executives from the Americas, plus representatives from many colleagues including the Bank for International Settlements, the Basel Committee, and the Financial Stability Institute. We thank ASBA for its role in organising this conference, and its other good work in our region.
The Bahamian banking system is characterized by a split between our domestic and our very much larger international sector. In the domestic sector, in common with much of the English-speaking Caribbean, the majority of assets are controlled by three Canadian banking groups, with a substantial minority of locally-owned banks. The international sector is about 20 times larger in asset terms, and gives the Bahamian economy an important direct and indirect source of high quality jobs.
Historically, The Bahamian economy has benefitted from its simultaneous closeness to and separation from the much larger American and other regional economies. Sometimes this closeness has led us astray, starting with the pirates of the 17th and 18th centuries, and notably in recent years our struggle to preserve both our society and our financial system from next door’s torrent of drugs heading north, and dirty money heading south. Since undertaking major legislative reforms in 2000, The Bahamas has become steadily better at discouraging dirty money from passing through our banking system. In recent years we have concentrated on building better information links between Bahamian and international law enforcement and tax authorities.
As this work has proceeded, the Bahamian international banking sector has continued its 90 year tradition of preserving the wealth of multi-generational, multi-national families. We propose to continue in this business, and our intent is that The Bahamas will become and remain the western hemisphere’s jurisdiction of choice for private wealth preservation.
In this context, The Bahamian banking system must be, and must be seen to be, financially strong, resistant to financial crime, and reliable in protecting information as well as protecting money.
The Basel Committee and associated agencies have over the decades been very helpful in providing not only its members but non-members with a coherent international framework for regulating and supervising banks. We are currently transitioning our prudential framework to full Basel III compliance. The Bahamian regime will be much simpler and appreciably more conservative than the minimum applicable standards, and we are comfortable that this is the correct position for a small country with a large banking system.
I wish you every success for this conference, and your endeavours to preserve a safe global banking system.