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.
This study reviews the structure of the Trust and Corporate Service Providers (TCSP) sector in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), focusing on their role in the offshore financial sector, and seeks to assess the legislative framework in place as well as effectiveness of implementation and enforcement of this framework. Structure of the TCSP industry and the key features of legislative framework are also discussed. The global financial crisis has also resulted in a significant decline in asset values. The Financial Services Commission Act (FSCA) provides a strong framework for the supervision of other financial services in the jurisdiction.
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.
This paper updates Executive Directors on the progress since February 2005 in implementing the second phase of the offshore financial center (OFC) program as agreed in November 2003 (see PIN No. 03/138 at http://www.imf.org). At that time, Directors recognized that OFCs could pose prudential and financial integrity risks to the international financial system. In this context, Directors agreed that the monitoring of OFCs' activities and their compliance with supervisory and integrity standards should become a standard component of the financial sector work of the Fund. They also requested periodic updates on the progress with implementation of the program. Earlier updates were provided in March 2004 (Offshore Financial Centers—The Assessment Program—An Update) and February 2005 (Offshore Financial Centers—The Assessment Program—A Progress Report). With the completion of the first round of assessments, staff have begun implementing the second phase of the program.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Offshore financial centers, which nowadays account for a significant portion of global financial flows, typically do better than many countries in complying with international standards and codes of good practice, and in cooperating and sharing information among regulatory bodies, reflecting the on-average higher incomes of these centers. A staff report on the initial assessment phase of the IMF program noted that 41 of 44 contacted jurisdictions had been appraised, and these centers have published their reports.
This paper presents an assessment of the supervision and regulation of Samoa’s financial sector. The size of the offshore business remains very small compared with major offshore centers. The registration of International Business Companies represents the largest offshore business for Samoa. For offshore banks, the Samoan authorities have tightened regulatory controls following the amendment to the Offshore Banking Act in 1998, and as a result, the number of offshore banks has been reduced significantly.
This report provides an assessment of the British Virgin Islands’s (BVI) compliance with the Basel Core Principle for effective banking supervision. The BVI has the preconditions for effective banking supervision. It has specific legislation governing international cooperation and mutual legal assistance. The BVI has designed its antimoney laundering (AML)/combating the financing of terrorism supervisory legislation to apply broadly to banks and trust companies, insurance business, and parallel areas. The financial services commission is responsible for both prudential supervision and ensuring compliance with AML measures.