The Bahamas is a tax neutral international financial centre with a leading position based on its close proximity to the United States, sophisticated communications infrastructure, sound investment-oriented legislation and highly qualified financial community. The government is committed to providing an investor friendly environment, encouraging foreign investment and ensuring that The Bahamas maintains a reputation for being a well regulated jurisdiction for the conduct of international finance.
The country offers a compelling lifestyle, and is ranked by the World Bank as a stable upper-middle income developing nation. With a population of just over 300,000 citizens, The Bahamas’ economy is based for the most part on tourism and international financial services. The Bahamas is the leading tourist destination in the Caribbean region. Tourism generates over 50 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product and directly or indirectly employs about 50,000 people. The banking and finance sector, for which The Bahamas has a tradition of excellence, typically accounts for more than 15 per cent of the GDP.
Since its independence from Great Britain in 1973, The Bahamas has been governed by a written constitution that proclaims it a Sovereign Democratic State, establishes requirements for citizenship and guarantees fundamental human rights. The Bahamas is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State. The system of Government is based on the British Westminster model. The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary, including a Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, with final appeals to Her Majesty’s Privy Council in England.
The Commonwealth of The Bahamas is a 100,000 sq. mile archipelago of 700 islands and cays that extend over 600 miles between Southeast Florida and northern Hispaniola.
Following a comprehensive evaluation of the Bahamian financial sector’s regulatory and supervisory regimes by The Financial Action Task Force of the G7 countries in the year 2001, The Bahamas was recognized by that agency as meeting best international standards for the prevention and detection of money laundering.
The United States government, in approval of the know-your-customer rules pertaining to the financial services sector, granted The Bahamas “Qualified Jurisdiction” status, under US law, which facilities the investment and holding of US securities by Bahamian financial institutions.