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Bahamas Commissions Finance Industry Impact Study

by Amanda Banks,, London

27 December 2006

The Bahamas Financial Services Board has contracted with Oxford Economics to assess the economic importance of financial services and associated activities in The Bahamas.

The results of the study will be delivered at the Bahamas Financial Services Retreat in January.

According to Wendy Warren, the BFSB’s CEO & Executive Director, the board is seeking to obtain a comprehensive picture of the financial services industry’s contribution to The Bahamas; specifically, the direct, indirect and imputed impacts.

“We believe the contribution of the financial services industry goes beyond economics. The positive and long-standing social impact of the industry must be identified,” she said.

The project is being supported by the Central Bank, which will provide data from its annual surveys, the Department of Statistics, the Securities Commission of the Bahamas, and the Office of the Registrar of Insurance Companies.

The research project will provide BFSB with empirical data, enabling it to engage in wide ranging communication with all stakeholders regarding the long standing and significant socio-economic contribution of the sector to the nation, and the need for continued development and growth of the industry. Further, the growth and contribution of the sector will be monitored through annual comprehensive reporting.

Warren said that the contract with Oxford Economics incorporates a capacity building component, to ensure that going forward the Department of Statistics will be able to update the data and build information into their established research mechanisms. “Effectively, we do not visualise this as a one-time study, but as setting the groundwork for an essential national initiative,” she revealed.

The project arose from a BFSB Working Group that had been engaged in reviewing various options to best utilise existing data and looked at the indirect contributions that are not being tracked at the present time. The Central Bank and Department of Statistics fielded representatives to this Working Group and have been integral to the development of the project. Warren also said that the contract with Oxford Economics was made possible only through the financial support of industry stakeholders.

In addition to the quantitative analysis being prepared, Oxford Economics will also provide qualitative perspectives, by way of a narrative on the role that the financial services industry plays in supporting the broader economy and certain sectors in particular.

Founded in 1981, Oxford Economics is one of the world’s leading providers of economic analysis, forecasts and consulting advice.

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