ROUNDTABLE :- Opalesque Roundtable Series – The Bahamas 2019

Like many other on- and off-shore jurisdictions, The Bahamas financial services industry had to tackle many different regulatory and legal initiatives over the last few years. However, instead of just passively reacting to global regulatory pressure, the premier private wealth jurisdiction has also been able to pro-actively implement a number of highly successful regimes and solutions such as the Investment Condominium or ICON for Brazil and now also for Mexican clients, or the Specific Mandate Alternative Regulatory Test Fund (SMART Fund) whose open architecture is useful not just for startups, but also for family offices and other clients who want to establish a track record and for other purposes.

The BEE (Bahamas Executive Entity) was conceived out of a very specific scenario and the needs of clients from the Middle East where family businesses are the norm and not the exception. In such businesses, and in the context of family wealth, there is a need for effective governance wrapped in an entity which possesses limited liability. The BEE also meets all the necessary high points for truly dynastic planning. This is not just relevant for the Middle East but literally anywhere where new wealth is generated and essentially concentrated in family structures like family businesses.

Economic Permanent Residency with TIN number soon available

In addition, the Roundtable participants believe The Bahamas is absolutely best positioned among the so-called island jurisdictions to implement economic substance requirements in compliance with the OECD&’s BEPS principles.

The Bahamas government is also in the process of rolling out an Economic Permanent Residency with a TIN number that individuals can use that for tax planning reasons when they stay a minimum 90 days here – not consecutive but throughout the year, and no more than 183 days in one other jurisdiction. Already in pace is a BH1 visa, which is almost a tech visa and attractive for founders who want to come here to build the next Google, etc. Real estate development is ongoing, and indeed, The Bahamas have registered a significant uptick on the immigration side over the past two years.

Code Name “Sand Dollar”: Central Bank to issue national digital currency

The Bahamas Central Bank is preparing the creation of the Bahamian digital dollar to enable more financial inclusion and economic growth. The digital dollar will also be a sign to the world that The Bahamas is an innovative and technology-oriented jurisdiction, and a commitment to anti-money laundering because blockchain allows for better verification and transparency.

With the upcoming Digital Asset & Registered Exchange Bill (DARE Bill), The Bahamas will have the opportunity to be a frontrunner and global leader in terms of registering legitimate international token offerings in the form of security and utility token offerings that can serve a variety of purposes such as unlocking liquidity in markets where traditionally that was very difficult to achieve. But this is not just about creating a digital currency and infrastructure, but also a very comprehensive legislative framework that governs the integrity of digital wallets that would be holding digital assets of all sorts, including the Bahamian dollar but not limited to it.

The 2019 Opalesque Bahamas Roundtable took place in Nassau, The Bahamas, with:

  1. Brent Symonette, Member of Parliament and former Minister of Financial Services, Trade, Industry & Immigration
  2. Aliya Allen, Partner, Graham Thompson
  3. Brian Jones, Managing Director, LENO Corporate Services
  4. Christel Sands-Feaste, Partner, Higgs & Johnson
  5. Francesco Vanacore, Head of Fiduciary, Ansbacher (Bahamas)
  6. Linda D&’Aguilar, Partner, Glinton Sweeting O&’Brien

The group also discussed:

  • Why The Bahamas expects a major uptake in business from Mexican clients (page 9), Dubai/Middle East and Africa (page 13-14)
  • Which types of businesses will benefit from the new Bahamas Commercial Enterprises Act? (page 7) What to expect from the new Investment Fund Act (page 8-10, 15-16)
  • The Bahamas: A safe place for Bexit (page 16), Second Homes (page 21, 23) and persons with substantial ultra high net worth (page 12-15)
  • What are the benefits or the promise of the digital Bahamian dollar? (page 17-19, 21-22)
  • Education, Automation in Finance (page 20-21).

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