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How The Bahamas modernizes to remain dream destination for companies, families and high net-worth individuals

 

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The Bahamas is one of the richest countries in the Americas (following the United States and Canada in terms of GDP per capita). The country boasts 700 beautiful islands, with the closest (Bimini) just 50 miles away to the United States, and a very competitive tax regime. The Bahamas is a Commonwealth country and so English speaking, but operates in a multi-currency environment with multilingual staff and institutions offering access to Spanish, Portuguese, and French. Not to forget, there has never been a frost or freeze reported in The Bahamas, and the difference between the warmest month and coolest month is just 8 °C.

Close to 400,000 live in The Bahamas and benefit from an excellent infrastructure. Also from a landmass perspective, with 13,878 km2 (5,358 sq mi) The Bahamas appear to score nicely against some other island jurisdictions, which sometimes can be just a fraction of that.

The Bahamas for decades has had a value proposition and a particular ability for private wealth management and remains an international financial center of first choice. But there is no stand still as the government and key stake holders continue to develop The Bahamas as a jurisdiction of substance and not just of form and structure.

At the moment, the Bahamas Securities Commission is doing an overhaul of the Investment Funds Act. The new Commercial Enterprises Bill is already attracting new technologies and new businesses to do business from the Bahamas. Large family offices and other firms are set up or move to The Bahamas based on location, accessibility, the reputation of the jurisdiction and quality of the regulation, infrastructure and ease of doing business, political stability, responsiveness of the regulators and access to professionals.

In 2017, the Bahamas Financial Services Board created a FinTech Working Group and has published a draft policy position, while the Central Bank is exploring a digital currency. A number of FinTechs and crypto funds have already chosen The Bahamas as a platform to centralize their cryptocurrency and Blockchain activities there.

A dream destination for companies, families and high net-worth individuals

For generations, The Bahamas has been a forerunner in providing the arena for second homes or for emigration of high-net-worth individuals to the country, starting with Juan Tripp, who founded Pan American Airways and who had great investment in the island of Eleuthera, inventor Robert Abplanalp, Sir John Templeton, and many others. The reasons why these individuals would have relocated to or established second homes in The Bahamas generations ago still exist today and are even amplified by the fact that services-based industries are by their nature mobile.

The Opalesque 2018 Bahamas Roundtable took place in Nassau, The Bahamas, with:

  1. Tanya McCartney, CEO & Executive Director, Bahamas Financial Services Board
  2. Michael Halkitis, CEO, GBO Bank and former Minister for Finance
  3. Oscar Johnson, Managing Partner and Global Managing Director, Higgs & Johnson
  4. Ryan Pinder, Partner, Graham Thompson and former Minister of Financial Services and Trade
The group also discussed:
  • The Bahamas' value proposition as an international financial center (page 7-11)
  • How does the Bahamas' approach to regulate cryptocurrency and ICOs differ from Bermuda and other jurisdictions? (page 11)
  • What makes The Bahamas the clear choice for families or wealthy individuals to relocate? (page 12-17)
  • Geographical background on The Bahamas. A variety of choices to relocate and work (page 13-16)
  • The Bahamas network & cluster effect: How local and international investors team up (page 17-18)
  • Infrastructure on The Bahamas (page 18-19)
  • The main attraction points of the new Bahamas investment funds regime (page 21)

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