Friday, 30 November 2012 02:30
By caribarena news
Antigua St. John's - A two-day seminar designed to provide insight into the new Money Services Business Act of 2011 and encouraging compliance among money service business operators, is underway at the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC).
The workshop, which kicked off at 9am on Thursday, comes under the chairmanship of Manager-IBCs and Other Non-Banking Financial Institutions (NBFIs) at the FSRC,Terry Smith.
Chief Executive officer of the Commission John Benjamin said the workshop was “no small achievement”, as it aims to rebuild the country’s suffering image.
“A good reputation built over years can suffer serious impairment overnight -- and the recovery can be very challenging,” Benjamin said, as he referred to the ongoing R Allen Stanford saga.
He urged participants to continue to work together to take Antigua & Barbuda to the helm of the financial community.
Finance Minister Harold Lovell, who declared the seminar opened, reaffirmed the importance of the initiative and recognized the FSRC for bringing together the key stakeholders of the sector.
The minister echoed some of Benjamin’s sentiments regarding the Stanford matter when he noted, “One bad apple can spoil the bunch.”
He said the Money Services Business Act was passed in 2011 with the primary purpose to ensure that the necessary procedure and regulations needed to regulate the sector were in place.
“The workshop is important and seen as a positive indication… The Commission’s aim is to ensure that money services operators become conversant with the Act in reference,” the Minister said.
He added that it is anticipated that the workshop would provide several key deliverables while focusing on the act.
The forum will present a valuable medium for the exchange of information and the opportunity for persons to network and gain fresh insights on the industry.
Minister Lovell said it was “indicative of the Commission’s commitment to strengthening the service sector locally as a whole.”
He underscored that the world today is totally different from one or two decades ago, with global rules and standards that while not equally applied, require Antigua & Barbuda’s observance. The disreputable Stanford debacle has has placed the country under very intense international scrutiny, much of it negative and damaging.
By the end of Friday, it is anticipated that all money services operators will implement procedures that are fully compliant with international best practices as outlined in the 2011 Act.
Participants have been encouraged to take advantage of insights that would be shared and recognize their role in positioning the country as a vibrant and clean jurisdiction in the international financial services sector.
“I think we are all aware of the risks that the sector faces at this time. And we all have a part to play.
“Let us together recognize the importance of our role, mission and mandate as we seek to make this land of ours more vibrant and sustainable,” the Minister said.