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New guidelines for B’dos off-shore sector
BRIDGETOWN—The Central Bank of Barbados says it has developed a new framework for granting licenses for prospective financial institutions seeking to operate here warning that it would reject any applicant if it determines that approval would not be in the public interest.
The central bank said that the new framework is in furtherance of its responsibility to regulate and supervise licensees under the Financial Institutions Act (FIA) and the International Financial Service Act (IFSA). “The licensing process is central to maintaining a well-respected financial centre,” it said, noting that it would reject an application if the specified criteria are not fulfilled; if the applicant fails to provide adequate information; if the proposed application promotes unsound financial practices; or if the Bank determines that approval would not be in the public interest.
“The Bank may exercise flexibility in implementing this Framework in order not to stagnate growth of the sector,” the Central Bank said, noting the requirements in the framework “are based on best practice and the desire for Barbados to remain a competitive jurisdiction that attracts entrants into both the domestic and off-shore sectors, who are capable of contributing to the further development of Barbados as a reputable financial centre”.
While it emphasises that the document is not a regulatory guideline, the Central Bank says nonetheless it is intended to increase transparency so that the processing of applications will be undertaken against clearly defined criteria, provide applicants and service providers with a clear understanding of the criteria for market entry, facilitate an efficient but rigorous licensing process and permit the efficient use of regulatory resources.
“This Framework applies to all entities that desire to be incorporated or organised in Barbados for the purpose of being licensed under the FIA or IFSA,” it said, noting that a licence obtained under the FIA or IFSA relates to activity governed by these pieces of legislation only. “It does not preclude the need for licensees to obtain a licence from another regulator if the licensee’s activities span more than one regulatory agency”. It said that under the terms of the legislation, a person shall not carry on banking business from within Barbados or include the word “bank” in its name without a licence issued under the FIA or the IFSA.
Figures here show that in 2010, 420 new business licences were issued to International Business Companies, an increase of 10.8 per cent compared to 2009. (CMC)
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