HIGGS & JOHNSON hosted its annual client seminar on Thursday 26 September 2013 under the theme ‘Riding the Waves of Change: Compliance, Confidentiality & More.’ Welcome remarks were given by Oscar N. Johnson, Jr., Managing Partner of the Firm. Minister of Financial Services, the Hon. Ryan Pinder, MP, in his opening remarks noted that the developments in what is regarded as international best practices in international financial services has resulted in increased compliance requirements for institutions and clients. Minister Pinder stated, “Change can be intimidating, can cause operations to change and adapt, and can result in increased costs, but it can also result in new and additional opportunities and allow for a jurisdiction and industry to be reflective of progressive evolution.”
The first session, ‘Addressing Mental Capacity: Law, Pitfalls and Best Practice’ was presented by Senior Associate, Nadia J. Fountain. She provided insights with regard to the evolving concepts of incapacity and also discussed the duties of and best practice options for local professionals.
Baker & McKenzie Partner, Simon Beck spoke on the topic ‘Confidentiality of Financial Information is Dead! Will There Be Any Survivors?’ He highlighted the impact that FATCA, legislation in Europe and Latin America and multi-lateral and bi-lateral conventions have had on the client’s ability to keep their affairs confidential. In discussing these recent events he surmised that confidentiality of information is not dead but there are greater exceptions to the principle which continue to develop.
Portia J. Nicholson, Firm Partner along with Charles Virgill, Senior Bank Examiner of the Central Bank elaborated on the topic ‘Overdoing Compliance: Perspectives of the Regulator & Practitioner’. Noting that regulatory compliance is risk based, a lot of discretion lies with the financial institutions who must balance client’s needs with their reputational concerns.
The seminar concluded with a mock arbitration between ‘DaCustomer is Always Wright’ and ’Bank & Trust Company Ltd.’ Associates Audley D. Hanna, Jr. and Dwana Davis-Imhoff represented the Bank and Mr. Wright respectively before a distinguished arbitral panel comprised of the Firm’s Senior Partner, Philip C. Dunkley, QC, Tara A. A. Archer, Partner along with Simon Beck. They decided the fate of both parties in a reasoned oral judgment. This segment was lively as Counsel did battle on behalf of their clients and concluded with Mrs. Davis-Imhoff’s victory as the Arbitral Panel found in favor of Mr. Wright.
In its ongoing effort to promote education in The Bahamas, Higgs & Johnson sponsored the attendance of faculty and students of both the UWI/COB Law Degree program and the Eugene Dupuch Law School.
Sponsors of the Higgs & Johnson seminar included H&J Corporate Services Ltd., First Bahamas Title Insurance Agency and H&J Fiduciary Services Ltd. all of which are affiliates of Higgs & Johnson.