Barbados??? financial services sector came in for high praise from this island???s Minister of Finance, Christopher Sinckler, who described it as ???one of the best regulated sectors in the world???.

And, Mr. Sinckler said the description was not ???an idle boast???, but ???a fact and reality???. He expressed this view recently while on an official visit to the relocated Financial Services Commission (FSC) at Harbour Road, St. Michael.

He stated: ???When the international financial crisis struck in 2007/8 and intensified into 2009, many jurisdictions, particularly within western economies, were affected adversely by the fallout of poor regulation, or in some instances, nonexistent regulation of many financial entities and their transactions.

The Barbados system held up reasonably well. It held up both in relation to the banking sector, which is regulated by the Central Bank, and ???in the non-banking sector, which is largely regulated by the Financial Services Commission.

???We have a fairly proud and distinguished tradition to continue. That does not mean that from time to time we will not have challenges as all systems do. The goal, however, is to ensure that we respond punctiliously to those challenges and that we have the requisite legal and other interventions that can bring resolution to the challenges we face.???

Mr. Sinckler underscored the importance of establishing the FSC, which he described as a critical cog in the wheel that constitutes the financial services sector. In addition, he surmised that the Commission???s establishment was a substantial step towards continuing to promote Barbados as a pristine centre for financial services.

According to him, Barbados has had three Financial Sector Assessment Programme (FSAP) reviews and it received ???extremely high marks??? for its level of regulation.

???Some countries are still struggling to complete their first FSAP reviews and some have not done theirs as yet. The fact that we have had three in recent times shows that we are not only doing what we have to do but we are not afraid to put it to the test of international best practice and standards,??? he contended.

The Minister congratulated the Board, management and staff of the FSC, saying the organisation went through teething problems when it was set up in April 2011, but had now settled and was a highly respected entity in Barbados and beyond its shores.

Chairman of the Commission, Sir Frank Alleyne, commended the members of staff for their efforts to facilitate an almost seamless transition from Warrens to their new location.

Sir Frank said the FSC was conscious of Government???s policy to rationalise the public sector allocation of human and non-human resources in central government and the parastatals to enhance cost effectiveness in their operations. He insisted that the Commission???s relocation was a huge contribution to enhancing the cost effectiveness of those operations.

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