THE BAHAMIAN financial services industry has moved to raise the profile of its "relatively unknown" brand in Asia, completing a series of meetings and presentations in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore.
The promotional tour was organised by the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB). Its chief executive and executive director, Wendy Warren, said the visit was key to the industry's strategy to gain a foothold in the growing and strong economies of the Far East.
"The Bahamas financial services brand is relatively unknown in Asia," said Ms Warren.
"The tour was a first stage of increasing the knowledge of the Bahamas among our target audience, and a concerted effort to establish relationships with these individuals and their institutions, which hold the key to considering the Bahamas as a jurisdiction for their clients and investment.
"We also gained insights into the market, which you can only obtain by being on the ground and meeting personally with business peers."
Ms Warren said she was especially pleased with the first leg of the tour, which included 12 representatives from the financial services industry.
The BFSB hosted financial services presentations in Hong Kong on October 24-25 under the banner Bahamas Landfall: Destination Hong Kong, and a reception under the banner, The Bahamas Advantage.
"With approximately 200 financial services and business professionals attending, we believe the visit was helpful in increasing their understanding of the Bahamas," she added.
Bahamas Landfall focused on the Bahamian financial services industry's legal and regulatory regime; specifically, private wealth and asset management products and services, including investment funds.
The Bahamas Advantage highlighted business and lifestyle opportunities in the Bahamas, covering financial services, maritime, transhipment, logistics and residency.
Sponsors of the Bahamas Landfall events were key to its success, and included ATC Trustees (Bahamas), Bank of Bahamas, BSI Overseas (Bahamas), Butterfield Bank and Trust, Deltec, Equity Trust, Higgs & Johnson, Scotia Private Client Group, Societe Generale, Windermere Corporate Management Limited and the Winterbotham Trust Company.
The Bahamian Ambassador to China, Elma Campbell, was present for all the financial services presentations and gave remarks at the cocktail reception in Hong Kong. The Bahamas Advantage cocktail reception was sponsored by John Meredith, the Bahamas Honorary Consul in Hong Kong, and group managing director of Hutchinson Port Holdings (HPH), the Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) and BORCO.
Mr Meredith's reinforced the strong relations between the Bahamas and China, and the opportunities to strengthen these ties through tourism, financial services and international business.
In Shanghai, the BFSB and industry representatives who were also in Hong Kong attended the China Offshore Summit from October 26-27, where they interacted with a wide range of Chinese institutions interested in conducting international business and finance with offshore jurisdictions.
Ms Warren spoke on a panel called, Chasing the Dragon - External Perspectives, addressing efforts the Bahamas was making to align itself with China, and to ensure that when Chinese investors seek an international destination, the Bahamas is among their options. The BFSB was also an exhibitor at this event.
The final leg of the tour included BFSB exhibiting at a conference for the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Asia, from November 1-2, in Singapore. More than 400 financial services professionals attended the conference, including countries and territories seeking business from the region.
It marked the second consecutive year that BFSB has attended the STEP Asia conference, recognising that the Bahamas' suite of financial products - in particular its trusts and foundations - can meet the needs of Asian investors. The BFSB is already planning a follow-up Asian briefing tour next year.