2017 TO SEE NEW APPROACH TO FINANCIAL SERVICES IN ANGUILLA
The incoming year, 2017, is expected to see some new initiatives towards the development of Anguilla’s offshore financial services. As a consequence, these efforts might eventually lead to the sector not only being more regulated, but becoming a second industry to tourism – the current lifeblood of the economy.
That was basically among the expressed desires arising from Industry Day – a joint coming together of the Governor’s Office, Government, the Financial Services Commission, Anguilla Finance Ltd., the newly-formed Anguilla Compliance Association and STEP Anguilla.
Governor Christina Scott, who has responsibility for offshore financial services, set the tone for the event held at the Teachers’ Resource Centre on December 15. “I think we need to continue to develop a clear long-term vision for Government which continues to uphold the rule of law to provide for a stable, reliable, and safe environment for international business persons and depositors to do their business here in Anguilla,” she said. “I think it is fair to say that over the last ten to fifteen years Anguilla has had a history of short and medium term strategies which haven’t really added to a longer-term vision…I am really pleased that Executive Council has agreed to take forward a significant piece of work next year. It will be a national economic development plan which will look over the next 20-30 year horizon. I am very pleased that the UK Government will be funding that to the tune of a million EC dollars. I think coming alongside the anniversary of the Anguilla Revolution it is a really important opportunity to look forward on a cross-party and a cross-sector basis. It is important that this group of people here are fully part of that debate…about how the financial services sector can and must devolve if it is to play its part.”
The Governor added that while Anguilla will continue with a sustainable tourism-based economy, as an important bedrock, there was a need for diversification regarding the financial sector – a matter for debate and discussion next year.
Mrs. Cora Richardson-Hodge, Minister of Home Affairs who, at the time was Acting Chief Minister, said in part: “The Government of Anguilla continues to be committed to meeting international standards and to adapting to the ever-increasing demands being placed on the jurisdiction in that regard. We have no choice if we wish to protect our country’s reputation, its ability to participate in the international economy and its potential to grow its role in providing international financial services.”
The Minister continued: “The Government recognizes the significance of our international financial services to the Anguillian economy. We are taking a number of steps to support its continuing development. The Government will be bringing forward a legislative agenda for 2017 that includes the enactment of long-awaited legislation as well as a new Corporate Societies Act. We also look forward to any ideas that are generated from today’s discussions, and are open to working with the industry and its regulators to facilitate its on-going development.”
The Anguilla Finance Services Commission was represented at the Industry Day meeting by its Director, Mr. Gerry Halischuk. He said 2016 was a very eventful year in the financial services world-wide. “I think Anguilla’s financial services are at the cross-roads,” he went on. “I expect that everyone now agrees that the old ways of doing things to drive economic growth in Anguilla, over the latter part of the 20th century, and the early part of this century, are now gone for good. For the most part this is due to forces outside of our control…We thought that this year’s Industry Day would be a good opportunity to look at some of these challenges that we are facing in the Anguilla financial sector, and how we should potentially address them.”
Mr. John Lawrence, Chairman of the Anguilla Compliance Association, spoke about its recent formation, objectives and benefits. Among its objectives, working with the Financial Services Commission, are to promote a culture of awareness among practitioners and compliance officers of their duty and professionalism of meeting compliance requirements in all forms; to contribute to the reputation of Anguilla as a sound financial services jurisdiction; to foster communication and an exchange of ideas among service providers across the industries in Anguilla; and assist with training and education in the areas of financial services and compliance in Anguilla.
The Industry Day event included two panel discussions. The first dealt with “The changing environment for the financial services industry in Anguilla”. Among the topics were: the captive insurance market; company management business; offshore banking services; and regional reputation. The speakers from the various industry affiliate agencies were: Mr. Lavie Hobson; Mr. Steve Garlick; Mrs. Tina Bannister; Mr. Carlyle Rogers; Mr. Philip Kisop; and Mr. Clement Ruan.
The second panel discussion was entitled: “How do we adapt?” The topics included – sustainable investment and innovation; financial opportunities; and jurisdiction shopping for corporate service providers. The speakers were: Mr. Christiaan Walsack; Dr. Aidan Harrigan; Ms. Helen Hatton of Sator Regulatory Consulting Ltd; Mr. Carlyle Rogers and Mrs. Fiona Curtis of Anguilla Finance Limited.