Our Woman In China

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discount viagra thumb times;”>Closing out the tail end of a three-week long, four country tour of Asia to promote The Bahamas’ financial services sector, Minister of Financial Services, Hope Strachan, spoke to a gathering of trust and financial management professionals, highlighting the steps The Bahamas has taken to position itself as a competitive player in the international market for financial services.

Speaking at the gala dinner for the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioner’s (STEP) Asia conference in Singapore, Minister Strachan made note of the explosive growth of the Asian markets in recent years and how The Bahamas, which has not effectively targeted the Asian market, is now primed to take advantage of the opportunities created within the financial services industry.

The first step, according to Minister Strachan, is the effective exchange of information and promotion of services that the jurisdiction offers.

“As the largest and fastest growing market in the world, we need to make up for lost ground. We haven’t paid the kind of attention to these markets as we should have in the past, but we are now in a good position to capitalize on the business coming out of this part of the world In light of the contracted markets of jurisdictions previously relied upon. The opportunity to exchange information, answer questions and understand cultural norms is tantamount to The Bahamas defending and growing its standing as a prominent jurisdiction.”

The Ministry of Financial Services’ participation in events such as STEP Asia, China Offshore Financial Summit and their Latin American equivalents, represents part of an aggressive push via a partnership between the Bahamas government, the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) and key private sector stakeholders, to take advantage of opportunities for expansion into the world’s emerging markets, particularly in the large Central/South American and East Asian markets.

The Ministry of Financial Services, which was a Silver sponsor of the aforementioned STEP Asia event, was able to lead the charge along with a robust delegation of Bahamian professionals who were able to effectively convey the strengths of the Bahamian financial sector to their international counterparts and potential investors.

Minister Strachan believes that “having a physical presence is critical.” She pointed out that the Ministry’s involvement as a sponsor and participant in international events is intended to serve as a demonstration of the country’s commitment to catering to the needs of the international markets.

“When we appear as Platinum and Silver sponsors of STEP, China Off-shore and Bahamas Landfall events, it shows we are serious about solidifying our position. We are able to give a face to the industry, answer questions and give an understanding of the cultural norms and customs.”

“On this Asian trip in particular, we have had the opportunity to present and speak to well over a thousand intermediaries who represent ‘high net-worth’ and ‘ultra-high net-worth’ individuals including lawyers, investment advisors & asset managers from across Asia. Having private sector representatives from BFSB and private firms like Winterbotham Trust, LENO Corporate Services, Equity Bank & Trust Company and others, gave our local firms the opportunity to solicit business, and generate further interest in The Bahamas as a premier financial center.”

However, promoting The Bahamas is not the Ministry’s only objective –equally important is the opportunity to learn from the best practices of other jurisdictions. Minister Strachan believes that this Mission, and the others like it, have provided invaluable insight into the ways that we can improve our local product, specifically when it comes to the ease of doing business in The Bahamas.

“We have seen and continue to hear from existing and potential clients of the inordinate amount of time it takes to do rudimentary activities associated with doing business in The Bahamas. Things like obtaining a business license, opening a bank account, applying for work permits, getting utilities turned on and real estate purchases are not done in a reasonable time compared to international standards.”

However, Minister Strachan is hopeful that we can effectively address these areas of inefficiency.

“I have no doubt that we can meet or even surpass our competitors in providing the services that are necessary to facilitate the needs of industry. We can make it easier to do business. It might involve improving systems of operation, a better utilization of technology or it might involve a simple change e in attitudes in some cases. The reality is that we can have the best marketing promotions in the world to bring investors to our shores, but we must ensure that we live up to our promises, and demonstrate that we can do as well or better than our competitors in the delivery of the services that are crucial to the existence and maintenance of the industry if we are we are serious about foreign direct investment, financial services and the sustained growth and viability of our economy. “