STEP

Title Research

Bahamas

The Commonwealth of The Bahamas is a 100,000-square-mile archipelago of several hundred islands, rocks and cays situated in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 50 miles off the coast of Florida. Not all the islands are inhabited and they vary in size from several hundred square miles to others that are little more than rocky cays. The total land area of The Bahamas is approximately 5,400 square miles and the population is approximately 300,000. The local language is English. The official currency is the Bahamian dollar (BSD) although the US dollar (USD) is widely accepted.

STEP Bahamas branch page

New developments
  • A draft bill of the Executive Foundations Act 2009 is well underway. The main purpose of this new foundation will be to perform powers and duties of an administrative, supervisory or ‘office holding nature’. One of the practical uses envisaged is for the foundation to act as a protector of a trust.
  • The government of The Bahamas has announced its intention to endorse and negotiate ‘appropriate arrangements to meet the standards for transparency and effective exchange of information’ now endorsed by all members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD) and non-OECD member jurisdictions who are principal competitors in the provision of cross-border financial services.

1. Introduction

a. History and background

The Commonwealth of The Bahamas is a 100,000-square-mile archipelago of several hundred islands, rocks and cays situated in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 50 miles off the coast of Florida. Not all the islands are inhabited and they vary in size from several hundred square miles to others that are little more than rocky cays. The total land area of The Bahamas is approximately 5,400 square miles and the population is approximately 300,000. The local language is English. The official currency is the Bahamian dollar (BSD) although the US dollar (USD) is widely accepted.

b. Legal system

The Bahamas inherited the common law of England as a result of its status as a settled colony. The decisions of the superior courts in England, while not binding on the Bahamian courts, have persuasive authority and are normally followed in the absence of local judicial authority or statute. The Bahamas has its own Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, but the English Privy Council is the final appeals court.

  • appointment of an administrative Foundation Agent who must fulfil Know Your Client rules in accordance with the regulatory regime
  • the names and addresses of the founder and the foundation council to be kept private and
  • less onerous accounting.
Editorial board
Heather L Thompson TEP
Higgs & Johnson, Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas
Timothy Colclough TEP
Butterfield Private Bank, Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas

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