Euro Exim Bank

Licensed to Make a Killing

ImageJames Bond loves his Dom Perignon, his Aston Martin, and his martinis shaken not stirred – but he loves the Bahamas more…


This island nation of 2,400 heart stoppingly beautiful cays covering 100,000 of the Atlantic off the coast of Florida has been Bond’s store front in four separate movies.

The reason for this is simple – The Bahamas exemplifies the natural playground of the internationally wealthy better than anywhere else in the world.


It has an unbeatable combination of sun, sea, and offshore financial services within spitting distance of Miami, and just a short hop from New York and Washington DC – and with the Island’s rich colonial history, even London seems much closer than it really is.


You don’t have to have the colossal net worth of a Bond Villain to live here – but it certainly helps.  On sale right now is perhaps the most expensive property anywhere else in the Caribbean.  This spectacular Nassau waterfront estate has three separate houses, three docks, and four lush acres of landscaped sub tropical gardens with more than 1,700 feet of water frontage. The main house has more than 6,000 square feet of living place with 10 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms – enough for Blofeld, Goldfinger, and Scaramanga.  Dr. No could probably be very welcome on weekends, too.


Naturally, it also features a helipad, a heated pool, and a detached recreational building -dubbed the Gunpowder Room-which originally was a storage shed used by the British Army back in 1826. The price of such limitless luxury?  A cool $32.5 million…


The price bares no reflection on the recent turbulence in the Bahamian economy which contracted by as much as five percent last year.  The dip is mostly a knock-on from the restrictions in US consumer spending.  The Bahamas has made significant gains in the cruise segment of the tourism market, particularly in the US, and data suggests that output in the tourism sector remained subdued in the third quarter of 2009.  However, the wealthy remain buffeted.


The high-net worth resident or non resident domiciled don’t make their money here, they bring it with them; contractions in the high value-added air component makes little or no difference to them.


What does matter is that the Bahamas has enjoyed a stable government based on a Westminster model with a track record of more than 230 years of unbroken parliamentary democracy.  There’s no banana republic here.  The only blip on the radar in recent times has been the recent ignominy of Standard & Poor's lowering lowered the Bahamas' credit ratings by one notch to BBB+.  That’s still three notches into investment-grade territory.


Increased spending and a narrowed revenue base was S&P’s reasoning behind the move. Of course, the ratings outlook is stable, reflecting a gradual tightening of the government's fiscal stance and generally stable external financing profile.

The Island’s Central Bank Governor, Wendy Craigg, believes that the worst of the economic and financial crisis has passed and insists that the Bahamian economy is set to bounce back:

"I think we have seen the worst of it and the pendulum is certainly swinging in a more positive direction, but at the end of 2010 we still expect to see the economy contract," Craigg said.


In fact, investors and potential new residents are highly likely to be waiting in the wings over a new agreement with the OECD, which must be ratified by March 2010.


The Bahamas have exceeded the minimum requirements in compliance with G20/OECD’s minimum 12 signed Tax Information Agreements.  There are agreed TIEAs with the US, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, China, France, New Zealand, Argentina, Belgium, the Netherlands, Monaco and San Marino.


TIEA negotiations have been successfully concluded with Germany, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Australia, South Africa, South Korea, and the seven Nordic countries of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Greenland and Faroe Islands.


Going forward, the upshot of all this is, The Bahamas is destined to grow into a globally competitive international business centre for private wealth management, capital investment in the Americas and emerging markets.


"The Bahamas is actively participating in the international dialogue concerning the regulation of international financial services," a statement from the government said.


"The government is committed to safeguarding this important segment of the Bahamian economy by ensuring that The Bahamas remains a well regulated jurisdiction which meets evolving standards for offering international financial services."


Better set another place at the table for Hugo Drax…