A belated overhaul of commercial legislation

ATTORNEY GENERAL Ryan Pinder. (File photo)


Tribune Business Journalist

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The Attorney General said yesterday that part of the government’s next legislative program will be to “update the corporate laws”.

Ryan Pinder, in an address to the Prime Minister’s Office weekly press conference, said the International Business Companies (IBC) Acts and other related laws which fall under the Companies Act will be reviewed over the course of of this legislative year.

Mr Pinder said the government wanted to ‘redefine the jurisdiction as a central jurisdiction for business and corporations…to really strengthen the commercial side of the country to help promote economic growth and development on the financial services side. “.

He added: “As a corollary to this, a number of financial services amendments are being prepared for tabling over the next six months. We hope to have a brand new securities industries bill. It is a complete overhaul of the SIA (Securities Industries Act) that brings the securities framework in the country up to modern, fully benchmarked and international best practices.

“This legislation was groundbreaking in its day, but it is over 10 years old. And as we know, the industry has changed dramatically. And so it’s a complete overhaul of the Securities Industries Act.

The 2011 SIA was seen at the time as having the ultimate goal of bringing the regulatory regime of the securities industry into line with the 38 Objectives and Principles of Securities Regulation of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) . IOSCO is the international standards body for securities regulation. The SIA Act of 2011 is believed to have accomplished this.

Adhering to IOSCO’s 38 Principles paves the way to achieving Signatory “A” status to IOSCO’s Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding for Consultation, Cooperation and Exchange of Information (MMoU).

Mr Pinder also said: “In accordance with this, we are considering amending the law on investment funds, to adapt it to the developments.” He continued: “We are again considering substantial changes to the DARE (Digital Assets and Registered Exchanges) Act, you should have known this as part of our policy position on digital assets. We created the Digital Advisory Panel, of which I am the president, we work in close collaboration with the Securities Commission.

The digital asset industry has taken a significant shape in the Bahamas, especially after the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges landed at FTX in 2021. Building on the success of FTX, which brought dozens of cryptocurrency investors in the country in April, many of whom expressed interest in relocating to the Bahamas as FTX did, the government sees this as a positive sign for the future of the sector.

Mr. Pinder added: “We have committed in our policy document to keeping our legislative framework in step with the development of the industry. So you can see amendments that have to do with how clients hold their assets, how custodians operate in a digital asset space, staking, a regime for stablecoins, we would have seen that there has a lot of questions about stablecoins and proper regulation for a framework.

“The DARE Act amendments will address these issues in this way. We are also looking for further regulatory changes to regulations that deal with areas under digital assets.

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