Halkitis promotes local financial services industry

Halkitis promotes local financial services industry
Minister of Economic Affairs Michael Halkitis

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — This past Friday, 08 September 2023, Minister of Economic Affairs, Hon. Michael Halkitis, addressed the STEP LatAm Conference in Bogota, Colombia, as he promoted The Bahamas’ strength and stability as a “safe harbor” for financial services and investments.

Addressing the conference as a featured speaker, Minister Halkitis spoke of The Bahamas’ continued support for STEP LatAm as the premier conference for regional trust and estate practitioners.

For consecutive years, the Ministry of Economic Affairs has served as a Presenting Sponsor of the conference in recognition of its importance to the region and the need to promote the nation’s financial services product to Latin American and Caribbean stakeholders. 

Halkitis asserted that The Bahamas may have “the highest concentration of financial services talent in the world,” noting the full extent of local participation in the industry:

“Our financial services industry features a plethora of Bahamian-grown talent. You will find Bahamians at every level of the corporate structure – from entry-level to Managing Director.”

The Minister lauded the robust representation from The Bahamas at STEP LatAm, including a wide range of private sector practitioners, intermediaries, and other stakeholders. 

He highlighted the positive developments in the sector with amendments to the DARE Act, the rollout of the Commercial Entities (Substance Reporting) Act 2023 and the corresponding Economic Substance Reporting Portal, as well as recent steps toward establishing The Bahamas as an International Arbitration Centre, among other topics. 

Halkitis also noted the Ministry’s plans to expand its promotional efforts throughout the globe, with STEP conferences playing a significant role:

“In just a few weeks, we will return to STEP Asia as we move forward with our plans to expand our promotional efforts into the Asian market. Based on feedback we received in 2022, participants were very interested in The Bahamas and wanted to learn more about our products and services.

“So, just as we’ve done with STEP LatAm, it seems STEP Asia will likely be a permanent addition to our schedule.”

The Minister expressed confidence in the nation’s financial services prospects, stating that “on a fundamental level, The Bahamas is positioned to adapt and thrive.” He conveyed his expectation that the nation will move from “strength to strength” and continue to demonstrate its qualities as a regional and global leader.

Halkitis was accompanied by Director of Financial Services, Brandace Duncanson, and called the reception to his message universally positive.

“The response was overwhelming. Attendees welcomed our message and are eager to do business in The Bahamas, which is why it is always critical that we are accompanied by a large private-sector delegation.

“We generated a lot of interest, and we will build on that momentum by pressing ahead with a full slate of promotional efforts to convey our message that we are among the world’s top destinations for wealth generation and wealth management.”

Conference delegate John Lawrence, CEO of the Windemere Group and immediate past president of the STEP LatAm Conference, stated that he was impressed with the overall turnout at the conference, with 420 delegates hailing from 30 countries, including 25 representatives from The Bahamas. He praised the Minister’s presentation as an excellent representation of The Bahamas’ financial services product:

“The presentation by Minister Halkitis was well-received by the delegates and affirmed that The Bahamas should be on your short list of jurisdictions for international estate planning.”