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Barbados: Offshore Business Sectors


Barbados is well-developed as an international financial centre, although this has come about in an unspectacular way. For 25 years the Government has welcomed offshore business, and has consistently re-invented its legislative apparatus to stay abreast of the competition, while preserving its defences against money-laundering and other criminal activity. Barbados can't claim to have any of the world's largest offshore business sectors, but has growing and successful communities in banking, insurance, and shipping, as well as IBC and trust business; mutual funds are a very recent addition to the Barbados product range, and there is a stock exchange, which in early 2012 had capitalisation of BDS8.9bn.

The economy recovered from a downturn in 2001, and growth averaged 3.1% in the five years to 2007, but fell again to 1.5% in 2008. The economy contracted by 5.3% in 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis. It has seen slight growth of 0.3% and 1.8% in 2010 and 2011 respectively. According to the IMF's World Economic Outlook in October 2012, growth of 0.7% is expected for 2012. The international business sector also remains in a healthy condition.

According to the Central Bank of Barbados, in 2011, there were seven commercial banks, one bank holding company, 13 domestic near-banks and 47 international banks. While during 2011, a further two international banks were licensed and three new applications were pending.

Prior to 2007, construction, transport, storage and communications and business and other services drove non-traded sector growth, owing to both private and public projects associated with that year's Cricket World Cup.

A Financial Services Commission, which regulates the insurance subsector, the cooperative sector, the Stock Exchange, and all non-banking financial sectors in general, became operational on April 1, 2011.

This section of the site describes the most important types of offshore business activity carried out from Barbados.



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