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Saint Lucia establishes an integrated financial regulatory unit

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Contact: Rose Marie Harris

Wednesday, April 09, 2003 – The establishment of an integrated regulatory framework for the financial institutions operating within the Saint Lucian jurisdiction will be brought to bear this financial year. In presenting the 2003/2004 Budget Address on Tuesday, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Honourable Dr. Kenny Anthony, said the financial institutions consist of banks, trust and insurance companies operating in both the domestic and offshore sectors, credit unions, building and loan societies and money transfer agencies. Dr. Anthony explained that this new approach is consistent with a recommendation made by the Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), which urged that efforts be made to have a framework established by December 2002.

According to the Prime Minister, “The rational for establishing a Regulatory Unit is compelling as we observe the changing landscape in the financial sector. No longer are banks relying on traditional banking practices to derive income. There is now the introduction of E-banking and telephone banking. We are witnessing mergers and acquisitions in the banking and insurance communities. Insurance companies are beginning to offer non-insurance products and services, while banks are engaging in non-banking business. In some countries of the OECS, Credit Unions have asset bases that are larger than indigenous banks. The establishment of money transfer companies is a relatively recent phenomenon that has introduced challenging regulatory issues.”

Dr.Anthony is of the view that it has become necessary to review the current regulatory and supervision practices of those financial institutions in the domestic and international financial services sector. “It is perhaps time for us to look at the melding of our resources. In many respects there are variances in the quality of our resources in the various regulatory agencies that have been established. For example, in the International Financial Services Sector, because of the pressures exerted by international institutions, we have found it necessary to employ specialised expertise. However this may not necessarily be the case in the domestic regulatory environment,” Prime Minister Anthony said.

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