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.