The Barbados financial services sector cannot stand still if it is to maintain its competitive edge!

This assertion has come from Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of International Business?? and International Transport, Gabrielle Springer-Taylor, who has deemed the time ripe for Barbados and the wider Caribbean to develop professional standards?? within the industry to place them on par with those around the globe, and by extension expand the regional sector.

Mrs. Springer-Taylor’s comments came recently while addressing a project launch for the establishment of an Institute of Financial Risk and Regulation at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies in collaboration with the European Commission and the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.

"What the global crisis has taught us is that there is need to take the time out from addressing complex technical issues within the financial services sector, to ensure that there are crisis management plans that can be activated when financial stability is under threat. The establishment of this Institute would be another stepping stone to enhance such plans in the Caribbean," said the Permanent Secretary. She was delivering the feature address on the behalf of Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson.

Noting that once established, the Institute would offer professional training in anti-money laundering, financial regulation, corporate governance and risk management, among other areas, the International Business official maintained that the programme would contribute significantly to addressing priorities in respect of competitiveness, employment creation, and the maintenance of real wages.

"It is expected that the benefits will redound to the entire Caribbean region and not one specific territory. For we must, as a region, seek to review and update our legislative systems, continue to promote our offshore sectors, keep abreast of new initiatives and remain current in international best practices.

"Though we may have our individual niche areas, we must never forget that as a region we stand stronger against the rest of the world," she declared.

Mrs. Springer-Taylor told the diverse audience that if the Caribbean was considered as a single banking jurisdiction, it would represent the fourth largest banking sector in the world.

"In order for the sector to develop further, it is necessary to adhere to changing international requirements such as anti-money laundering efforts, regulation, governance and risk management. However, regionally the sector is relatively under-represented by individuals with experience and qualifications in these areas or by institutions able to provide practitioner-oriented training," she observed.

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