||Central Bank Of Barbados
This is indeed a premier event. One that allows for experts within our financial industry to share their rich experiences, while at the same time fostering an environment of great consideration and collaboration to address new and emerging issues. We can now look through the last decade and identify pivotal themes that have become the bedrock of key policy initiatives and regulatory innovations. AML considerations, IFRS matters, financial technology and innovations, and de-risking are only a few examples of key deliberations we have had in the past. And while some of the matters addressed previously still remain high-priority, we continue to covet your input in these very important matters.
Today, as we consider the agenda items, I am very excited to participate in these deliberations as we have an opportunity to build on the success achieved thus far, and carve out new opportunities that are before us.
Opportunities, opportunities, opportunities. I remember only a year ago, in this said forum, talking about “… trying to grapple with, or to simply understand the issues …”. Today I see opportunities. Does it mean we have a perfect understanding of all those issues? Certainly not, but we cannot deny that there are successes from which we may learn. We do have a better understanding of some of the issues and a greater appreciation for the regulator’s responsibility to create the enabling environment that will allow for innovations, efficiencies and new products.
In some cases, we can easily recognise legislative gaps and other tweaks that can contribute to financial sector development. On the other hand, it is not always clearly intuitive for us, the regulator, and occasions like these give us the opportunity to hear from you, experts in your respective fields. This engagement goes a long way in helping us to shape the environment for the benefit of all.
Much has transpired since our last meeting in June 2018 and these developments have impacted us all. At the time, we were thinking about FinTech and how we would address these issues, and the debt restructuring was a path previously unknown to us. We were mindful of our piecemeal approach to AML matters and we were not yet concluded on our approach to address Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) matters. Each of these critical elements demanded an inordinate amount of time and speed to ensure that our framework could withstand any scrutiny.
In relation to the FinTech issues, there were robust exchanges between the regulator and market participants as we tried to come to terms with each other’s perspective. Today, we have established the regulatory sandbox and although it has just one entity at this time, we certainly have a better understanding of the process and can articulate our framework with greater confidence and clarity. The framework remains one that considers systemic risk and investor protection.
We have continued to engage with international partners. We are currently Vice Chair of the regional Caribbean Group of Securities Regulators FinTech Committee, and a member of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions FinTech Network, where we participate in the regtech workstream. These memberships are a result of our recognition of the importance of networking, ensuring that we are cognisant of what is transpiring in the FinTech arena and how other regulators, both regionally and internationally, are approaching this space. To help us navigate this space, FSC continues to participate in forums from which we can develop. We have also had requests from other jurisdictions to engage with us on Barbados’ regulatory sandbox.
As many institutions move to undertake technologies to digitise their frameworks and become more efficient, so too, are players in the market considering digitising financial instruments to meet growing consumer needs or market demands. We at FSC are in the process of reviewing a digital asset framework, including its rules and operations, to determine its applicability and appropriateness for our financial market. On the wider point, we have recently heard of several initiatives to bolster capital market development whether through new instruments or redesigning existing platforms, all in an effort to deepen investment options and market participation. Without a doubt, the government’s announcement of limited or no government debt instruments, does provide an opportunity for the development of new investment options in Barbados. Certainly, we have a panel that will describe and discuss many aspects around fine tuning this and we certainly look forward to it.
FSC is continuing to strengthen its supervisory framework, aggressively moving to fine tune its legislative framework and enhancing its service standards, and we remain committed to stakeholder engagement on any matters.
Governor, I must express sincere thanks to you for continuing to spearhead this initiative and carve out the space to engage our stakeholders in this way, despite the ever increasing demands. I also wish to recognise the dedication and professionalism of the group of persons who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that events like these are of the highest quality; this we do not take for granted.
Ladies and Gentlemen I thank you for your attention and look forward to rich and lively deliberations on the various subject matters. Once again, welcome to the 10th Domestic Financial Institutions Conference.