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News : New Providence Last Updated: Oct 18, 2017 - 11:07:36 AM


BIFS highlights more than 150 at Annual Award Ceremony
By Keesha Bethell
Oct 18, 2017 - 10:43:47 AM

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BIFS Awardees

Nassau, Bahamas - More than 150 financial professionals received accolades for their accomplishments at the 41st Bahamas Institute of Financial Services (BIFS) Annual Awards Ceremony at The Balmoral Club on Saturday September 30, 2017.

Overall, 162 awardees were awarded for completion of programmes including: formally-structured programmes and professional certification programmes.

Recipients reached beyond the financial arena and into other sectors including: the Gaming, Retail, Government, Education, Hotel and Medical Sectors.

This year, the Institute had a number of achievements according to Jane Major, Chairperson of the Education Committee.

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Guest speaker Gowan Bowe President of Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants

“The Institute has been able to complete its registration with the National Accreditation Equivalency Council (NAECOB),” she said. “This represents the first step towards the five-year process in obtaining the national accreditation.

“Like The University of The Bahamas, all other private providers of the tertiary education are required to participate in this process. The Institute’s accreditation is also obtained through its international partnership and endorsement.”

Another achievement this year was the addition of a new certification programme – Introduction to AML (Anti-Money Laundering) & Compliance Systems 2017.

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Kim Bodie BIFS Executive Director awards Crestwell Gardiner Vice President Fidelity Bank Bahamas Limited with Floating Trophy

Speaking under the theme March On Bahamaland, guest speaker President of The Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants Gowon Bowe, spoke to the audience about the history of the Bahamian Financial Sector. He reminded them that The Bahamas was once considered a major hub for the Caribbean and U.K. (United Kingdom) commercial banks.

“We have prided ourselves from the very inception of being a tax haven - today, not so positive because that is seen as a taboo statement,” he said. “Back then, we were the Little Switzerland both literally and figuratively. We were the offshore jurisdiction outside of Switzerland and most of the institutions were the Swiss enterprises that had started to set up shop.

“Where we should be very proud, is that actually a Swiss bank was not considered a real Swiss Bank, unless it had a Bahamian subsidiary.”

According to Bowe, it is important for The Bahamas to keep on par with the ever-changing global financial sector. The only way to do that, he said, is to invest in continued education.

“We in The Bahamas do a lot of wishing because we have a tremendous amount of goals but when you ask for the plan, that is always short in the coming, he said. “We, as the financial service participants, have to now change that trend. We have to take the education that we would have had whether it was high school, tertiary and now the continuing education and say ‘how do we leverage that to actually make us the best little country in the world so that people always remember us?’

“The person that believes that the certificate that they have, means that you have come to an end, is the person that will very quickly be left behind,” he said. “When you get your next piece of paper, the previous one became toilet tissue. It’s about how you behave.  It’s about how you perform. It’s about what you do in the industry.”

The final award of the evening was the announcement of the most coveted award of all – the floating trophy. Fidelity Bank (Bahamas) Limited walked away with the prestigious award – it was a first for the financial institution. The award is given to the company with the most employees receiving certificates at the annual ceremony.

The students were not the only recipients of the evening. A special award was presented to Derek Rolle who was recently appointed Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of the Bahamas. Rolle’s new appointment brought his 17 year commitment as a BIFS lecturer to an end. BIFS executives lauded Rolle’s contribution as an invaluable one.

Organizers and faculty of the Institution encourage the various local sectors to take advantage of the opportunities offered by BIFS, for employment mobility and the future growth of the financial field.

Interested persons can contact BIFS by telephone at: 242-325-4921 or 325-4955; by website: www.bifs-edu.com or email at: info@bifs-bahamas.com


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