International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper assesses the recent trends in The Bahamas’ offshore financial center (OFC) and their contribution to the real economy. The Bahamas hosts one of the largest OFCs in the world. International banks are the most important institutions in the Bahamian OFC. Despite a sharp contraction in the size of the offshore sector, the direct impact on the real economy appears to have been modest. The direct contribution of offshore banks to the real economy appears to have remained broadly stable, reflecting an orderly adjustment so far. Strong compliance with anti–money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism and tax transparency standards should help ensure that this orderly adjustment continues.
Globalization requires enhanced information flows among financial regulators. Standard-setting bodies for financial sector regulation provide extensive guidance, but financial sector assessments have often found that problems in cooperation and information exchange continue to constrain cross-border supervision and financial integrity oversight. In July 2004, the IMF organized a conference on cross-border cooperation for standard setters, financial intelligence units (FIUs), and financial regulatory agencies. This book brings together conference papers in which participants discuss: information exchange for an effective anti–money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime, in terms of both standards and practices; the standards for cooperation in the insurance sector; and the experiences of regulators from banking, securities, and unified regulatory agencies with international cooperation. The book also includes papers providing a general overview of international standards and their implementation and, on the basis of survey results, of practices among financial sector regulators and FIUs.
Ms. Esther C Suss, Mr. Oral Williams, and Mr. Chandima Mendis
The paper reviews the development of offshore financial activities in the English-speaking Caribbean islands and takes stock of the size and status of these sectors today. In view of the heightened concerns of the international community about money laundering, the costs and risks to countries of having or establishing offshore sectors have risen considerably.