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Barbados: Law of Offshore

Table of Statutes

This is a non-exhaustive list of the main Barbados statutes affecting offshore and non-resident business. The statutes are listed in alphabetical order – click on the statute for a fuller description of the statute, the legal regime it forms part of, or in some cases the text of the law.

Companies Act 1982
Exchange Control Act 1967
Exempt Insurance Act 1983
Fiscal Incentives Act 1974
Foreign and Commonwealth Judgements (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1922
Foreign Sales Corporations Act 1984
Foreign Sales Corporation (Amendment) Act 1994

Income Tax Act

International Businesses Companies Act 1991
International Financial Services Act 2003

International Trusts Act 1995
Limited Partnerships Act Cap 312

Partnerships Act Cap 313
Proceeds of Crime Act 1990
Shipping Act 1994

Shipping Corporations Act 1996

Shipping Incentives Act
Societies with Restricted Liability Act 1995

Tourism Development Act 2003
Trustees Act Cap 250

In July 2000, Barbados pledged to make changes to its financial supervisory regime in order to have its name removed from an OECD blacklist.

The government of Barbados is planning to establish a Financial Services Authority, with the aim of enhancing the supervision and regulation of the non-bank international business sector.

Senator Lynette Eastmond, Minister of Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Business Development, disclosed in February 2007 that the proposed authority would integrate regulators of the Co-operatives Department, the Securities Exchange Commission, the Business Development Unit of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Development and the Office of the Supervisor of Insurance and Pensions.

The minister revealed that “a variety of resources would be at its (the Commission's) disposal to further facilitate the growth and development of the financial sector of Barbados."

In February, 2009, The International Monetary Fund published a report on the adherence of Barbados to the international standards governing the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.

The report stated that: "Barbados has criminalized money laundering (ML) broadly in compliance with international standards. However, while the definition of unlawful activity allows for a wide array of serious predicate offenses, human trafficking, corruption and bribery are not totally consistent with the requirements of the Palermo Convention."

However, it observed that: "While the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) carries out its functions competently, it is hampered by a lack of resources. The law enforcement authorities and the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions are under-resourced in relation to their functions. The competent authorities continue to engage in a wide array of joint law enforcement initiatives."

"Regulation and supervision of the financial sector is shared among four regulatory authorities with varying supervisory powers. Except for trust and company service providers who are licensees of the CBB, there are no measures to monitor and ensure compliance of DNFBPs with AML/CFT requirements. While the Registrar of Companies maintains a register with information on directors and registered offices of companies, there is no legislative requirement to disclose beneficial ownership information."

"While there are no secrecy laws inhibiting the implementation of the FATF Recommendations, certain regulatory authorities are limited in their ability to either share or access information. Recordkeeping requirements are extensive and generally observed. However, there is no requirement in law or regulation for account files and business correspondence to be retained for five years after termination of the business relationship or for financial institutions to ensure that records are available on a timely basis to competent authorities."

In November 2009, Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson revealed that plans for the establishment of a Financial Services Commission (FSC) in Barbados were on track.

The FSC, will regulate the insurance subsector, the cooperative sector, the Stock Exchange, and all non-banking financial sectors in general.

"The careful and effective supervision and regulation of international business and financial services activity in Barbados constitutes a critical element of the government's policy for the development and expansion of this sector,” commented Hutson at the time.

"Consequently, ensuring the adequacy and soundness of its legal basis, either through the revision of existing legislation or the introduction of new ones, is fundamental to the achievement of that objective," he added.

The establishment of the FSC will help to regulate the sector, and "certainly increase Barbados' presence as a financial services domicile of good international repute,” he explained.

"Specific legislation will need to be enacted and the dynamics of the staffing and administrative matters determined. We project that the FSC will be established by the end of the second quarter of 2010," Hutson concluded.



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