Cognisant of the negative fallout as a result of lapse regulation of a country’s financial services sector, the establishment of the Financial Services Commission (FSC), is poised to lift Barbados’ regulatory and financial sectors to a higher plateau.

Established on Friday, April 1, 2011, the FSC is now responsible for the regulatory functions that were previously undertaken by the Securities Commission under the Securities Act. It is also responsible for regulatory functions that were previously undertaken by the office of the Supervisor of Insurance and Pensions under the Insurance Act and the Exempt Act.?? It will also be in charge of pensions under the Occupational Pensions and Benefit Act and regulation of credit unions.

In highlighting the importance of the FSC, Programme Manager, Ashley Bignall, explained that a properly regulated financial services sector would significantly boost the island’s competitiveness. "The objectives of the Financial Services Commission are to efficiently regulate the non-banking financial services sector; while promoting greater public confidence both in the supervision of the non-banking financial services sector and in the operations of financial institutions."

He further stated: "The establishment of the FSC would enhance the competitiveness of the Barbadian non-banking financial services sector.?? It is also envisioned that this would be achieved through strengthened regulation and instilling confidence in the quality of regulation.?? When this is done, investors are usually more willing to undertake operations in an area that is competently managed and well governed."

Apart from regulation, he also disclosed that the FSC had powers under the existing legislation to: conduct investigations into the affairs of any financial institution regulated under the Act; revoke or cancel licenses and take control of the management of any financial institutions as warranted.

Mr. Bignall also outlined the department’s role in fighting financial crime. "Under Section 14 of the Act, the FSC can issue directives to combat the incidence of money laundering as well as investigate company compliance under the Money Laundering and the Prevention of Terrorism Acts," he explained.

In turn, the Project Manager implored the public to familiarise themselves with the operations of the FSC and how it can protect their investments. "The average Barbadian is committed to a financial investment be it in mutual funds, an insurance policy or credit union savings and, as such, the FSC regulates those non-banking services which some citizens take advantage of. In light of these significant investments, the public must be given the assurance that their interests are safeguarded," Mr. Bignall underlined.

He also said that the organisation was committed to providing up-to-date information on the FSC to educate Barbadians about its role in regulating the non-banking sector.

Further information on the FSC may be obtained by calling the General Office at 437-3924, the interim Chief Executive Officer at 437-3930, by facsimile at 437-3931 or via email at seccom@caribsurf.com.????????


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