This week I spoke at a lively conference, Engaging in a Transparent World, in Nassau. There were some thought provoking presentations on the theme of how an international financial centre such as the Bahamas could best adapt to the ‘new normal’ of automatic tax information exchange and greater clarity of beneficial ownership; the emphasis being on contributions from practitioners covering both new market opportunities and compliance best practice.
Perhaps the most dramatic contribution, however, came from the Bahamas’ Minster of Financial Services, Ryan Pinder, who argued strongly that the country should now open up to the big international law firms. In Minister Pinder’s view, the international reach of such firms could add considerably to business flows through the Bahamas and assist it in breaking into new markets, to the benefit of all, including existing local practitioners. Perhaps we will now see similar debates emerge in other jurisdictions which currently have market access restrictions for professional advisors.
George Hodgson is Deputy Chief Executive of STEP.