The Bahamas PM Davis Securities Industries Bill 2024 and the Digital Assets and Registered Exchanges Bill 2024 represent critical steps forward

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Nassau, The Bahamas

– During his Contribution to the Securities Industries Bill (2024) and the Digital Assets and Registered Exchanges Bill (2024), in the House of Assembly, on June 26, 2024, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis said that it represented critical steps forward, as well as “the strengthening of our regulatory framework for financial services and investments to enhance fairness and transparency and promote sustainable economic growth.”

“Through these Bills, we will maintain the Securities Commission of The Bahamas’ position as a world-class regulator, inspiring investor confidence in our financial services sector and our capital markets,” Prime Minister Davis said.  “As a result of our efforts, The Bahamian public will reap the economic benefits of increased investor confidence.”

The Securities Commission of The Bahamas continued to exemplify excellence as a regulator operating at the highest international standards, he added.

“Through the work of the Commission, we protect investors and those who use related services from unfair, imprudent, and illegal practices,” Prime Minister Davis noted.

“The Commission oversees regulations to promote fair and efficient capital markets and protect our systems and people from financial crimes like money laundering, fraud, and insider trading,” he added.  “Given the scale and scope of our financial services and capital markets ecosystem, and given the limited manpower and resources at hand, the Commission, under the stern leadership of Executive Director Christina Rolle, should be applauded for its efforts to successfully maintain The Bahamas’ leading position.”

He continued:  “Their small but skilled team monitors our capital markets, ensuring the timely, fair and accurate disclosure of information while also serving as a safeguard against systemic abuses. They are charged with reviewing all financial and corporate services in The Bahamas, detecting any issues that arise, and taking the appropriate actions to protect the interests of clients and investors. In cases where securities are offered to the public, it is the Securities Commission that regulates and reviews this process to protect investors.”

Prime Minister Davis pointed out that, when there are issues encountered, it is up to the Commission to take action on those who fail to comply with Bahamian laws and regulations on behalf of the public.

“And, of course, where there is a need to reform certain aspects of our legislative and regulatory regime, the Securities Commission of The Bahamas takes the lead on guiding this process,” he said.

Prime Minister Davis added:  “Thanks to the diligent work of the Securities Commission of The Bahamas, led by Christina Rolle, the Attorney General’s Office, and a broad cross-section of local stakeholders, we have two bills before us that will empower the Commission to maintain our regional and world-leading status.”

He noted that both Bills before them had undergone extensive public consultation, during which “feedback from our top legal, investment, capital markets, and financial services minds was incorporated to ensure that we would have the most modern, progressive legislative regime that promotes best practices for the industry.”

Prime Minister Davis also stated that the two Bills they would be debating that day represented progress on several fronts.

“We’ve made changes that will strengthen confidence in our capital markets and promote investments and economic growth,” he pointed out.

He added: “We’ve enhanced financial services as our second-largest industry and strengthened our ability to comply with the highest international transparency standards. We’ve made our digital assets regime even more robust, with greater protections for investors and clients.  And we have embraced the future by embracing change, not only to address our needs for today, but to make room for where we see global financial systems and capital markets headed in the future.

“These changes are essential to ensuring that we position ourselves for growth.”

Prime Minister Davis noted that The Bahamas is a global leader in financial services precisely because “we never rest on our laurels”.

“It was The Bahamas that launched the first Central Bank Digital Currency in the world,” he said.  “We were the first country to research the economic value of seagrass meadows and will now soon monetise Blue Carbon Credits by the end of next year as a result of our world-leading research.”

“And we boast a world-leading, updated regulatory regime and legislative framework for investments, capital markets, financial services, and digital assets,” Prime Minister Davis said.  “It is this innovative streak that will enable us to solve our biggest problems.”

He noted that those in The Bahamas lived in a time when banks were closing branches throughout the archipelago. Thanks to his Government’s innovations, he said, it had the framework in place to eventually serve the needs of unbanked populations.

“In the face of global changes in financial services, thanks to the two bills before us, we will now have modern, efficient, and agile systems that are more responsive than ever and will continuously adapt and grow to keep pace with the rapidly changing environment of 21st-century innovation,” Prime Minister Davis noted.

“We are making progress on all fronts, and we have every intention of keeping the momentum going,” he added.  “The Securities Industries Bill and the Digital Asset and Registered Exchanges Bill have my full and unbridled support as key components in our wider plan to drive investments and growth.”

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