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Bahamas Survey Confirms Leading Position

by Amanda Banks, Tax-News.com, London

27 June 2006

A survey conducted for the Bahamas' Government by PricewaterhouseCoopers has confirmed Bahamas’ position as a leader in the three core areas of private banking, trusts and corporate services, says the Government.

At a recent Bahamas Financial Services Board (“BFSB”) retreat, four Cabinet Ministers, members of the official opposition, senior public officers and heads of the regulatory agencies, met with more than 100 representatives from the private sector, for a two-day conclave to review the results of the survey. More than 220 organizations responded to the extensive survey, mainly from the private banking sector.

The input received from key industry stakeholders during the 2006 BFSB retreat will be used, with the empirical data collected in the Survey, to shape the country‘s next five-year strategic plan for financial services (2007-2012).

As perceived by survey participants, the Bahamas has a number of strengths, in particular, language, location and time zone, the country’s political stability and sovereignty and banking confidentiality. This unique combination of strengths along with The Bahamas’ capabilities in wealth management were key reasons that The Banker magazine, an affiliate of the Financial Times Group, named The Bahamas the “leading financial centre in the Hemisphere,” says the Government.

The survey confirmed that The Bahamas’ significant position in the private and investment banking services, trust and fiduciary services and corporate services has led to a buoyant sector. The majority of institutions surveyed will focus on growing their Bahamian businesses over the next three years while the remainder expect to maintain the status quo.

While the survey results confirmed The Bahamas’ position as a leader in the three core areas of private banking, trusts and corporate services, it appears that the market is not as aware of The Bahamas’ strength in other areas. There is every indication that increased awareness and understanding of The Bahamas’ capabilities could lead to new and increased business opportunities. Great opportunities for growth exist through the provision of a wide range of facilities including business continuity, custody facilities and structured products, the establishment of a commercial court, bespoke/comprehensive services for families, capital market facilities, e-business, intellectual property, back office and call centres, funds, insurance and the establishment of an international arbitration centre.

Some 40 percent of the respondents are prepared to recommend to clients services including asset management services, tax inheritance planning, residency, investment funds, foundations and family office services even though they are not currently recognized as core areas of strength.

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