Financial Services Commission Promised By Next Year

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Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson (FP)????

Government is moving swiftly to have the much-touted Financial Services Commission, (FSC) in place by next year.

This assurance has come from Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson, who said Government had already approved its establishment, and expected to have the report from the consultants on a proposed model, by month-end.

Minister Hutson, who was addressing a cocktail reception in celebration of London Life and Casualty (Barbados) Corporation’s 20th anniversary of

operations here, noted that the FSC would regulate the insurance sub-sector, the co-operative sector, the Stock Exchange and generally the non-banking financial sectors.

"Specific legislation will need to be enacted and the dynamics of the staffing and administrative matters determined. We project that the FSC will be established by the end of the second quarter of 2010," he explained.

In speaking to the island’s reputation as a domicile with sound regulation, the International Business Minister added:?? "The careful and effective supervision and regulation of international business and financial services activity in Barbados constitutes a critical element of Government’s policy for the development and expansion of this sector.

"Consequently, ensuring the adequacy and soundness of its legal basis, either through the revision of existing legislation or the introduction of new ones, is fundamental to the achievement of that objective."

He told the intimate gathering at Champers Restaurant, that the establishment of the FSC would, in itself, help to regulate the sector, and "certainly increase Barbados’ presence as a financial services domicile of good international repute."

Lauding London Life for?? its positive role in Barbados, both as a high-end employer and good corporate citizen, Minister Hutson said the company must also be congratulated for its contribution to the island’s economic development.

"Certainly at this particular time in our history, and given the external factors that surround the global financial crisis, business of that volume is welcomed and is necessary in Barbados," he said.

Minister Hutson urged other companies within the offshore centre to follow London Life’s lead in continuing to be good corporate citizens, particularly since other sectors were "under pressure" due to the global financial situation.

Addressing the function, Chairman and CEO of London Life Reinsurance Group, William Acton, hailed Barbados as an "excellent location" for the company’s international reinsurance business."

Noting that the group’s operation had grown to 63 companies, including the flagship London Life of Barbados, Mr. Acton said the sector’s regulation and taxation had developed over the years in a way that was conducive to business. Pointing out that the group had also benefitted from the skills of highly-trained local personnel, the Chairman and CEO said they were "grateful to the Government of Barbados for providing this [enabling] environment."

Citing personal attention to clients and a focus on reinsurance solutions as the main drivers of the company’s success, Mr. Acton said equally important was the maintenance of its reputation as a secure and well-capitalised entity. To this end, he noted that with a strong parent company, London Life possessed nearly BDs$ 1 trillion in assets under administration.

Mr. Acton cited financially strong parent companies; a well-educated and customer-focussed staff and a stable business-friendly base of operations in Barbados as ingredients for the Group’s success, which also provided them with hope and confidence for the future.

cgaskin@barbados.gov.bb

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