Gov’t orders immediate implementation of amendment

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The Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) will seek to improve its oversight over the financial services sector, following a meeting with Cabinet officials.

According to notes from the Cabinet, the Solicitor General and the Head of the FSRC met with Cabinet officials to address concerns regarding liability that have mounted since the fallout from the Stanford Ponzi scheme.

The Cabinet reportedly told the officials that the amendment to the FSRC Act (passed by Parliament more than a year ago) should be implemented with immediate effect.

The 2017 amendment, which establishes a management committee for the commission, was intended to prevent decisions from being left solely to the chairperson of the FSRC.

Minister of Information, Broadcasting, Telecommunications & Information Technology, Melford Nicholas said that Cabinet invited FSRC officials to alleviate concerns about improving oversight over the financial services sector.

“The meeting with FSRC officials had to do with ensuring that there is no single entity that can make exclusive decisions [relating to the financial sector]. So we talked about the type of oversight that would broaden the decision making process, impacting the review of any entity, whether it is a trust company or an offshore bank, to ensure that we do not have a repeat of what took place back in 2007,” he said.

Nicholas added that the country has been under extreme pressure, both diplomatically and economically, from member states of the European Union (EU) and Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to improve regulation of the financial sector in Antigua and Barbuda.

The FSRC regulates both the international financial services sector in Antigua and Barbuda, as well as the domestic non-banking financial services sector, including the supervision of insurance companies and co-operative societies.

The FSRC will be expected to report to Cabinet in two weeks to provide an update to the implementation of the amendment.

Additionally the Cabinet reported that stress tests will be administered to banks to prevent future bank crises from occurring.

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