At Lennox Paton, we have over three decades’ experience advising financial institutions on banking and trust matters in The Bahamas.

To undertake banking business in the country, you must have a licence from the Central Bank of The Bahamas. We can guide you through the application process—advising on all required information, minimum capital requirements and licence fees—while working closely with the regulators to ensure a smooth and efficient process.

Our experienced team can also help you to navigate the legal and regulatory issues of operating financial institutions in or from The Bahamas.

Areas of Focus

Banks and Trust Companies

We advise all banks and trust companies on the Central Bank’s licensing and prudential requirements, on-going supervisory programmes and regulatory reporting requirements, and periodic on-site examinations.

This means we are ideally placed to advise you on corporate governance, operational guidelines, such as business continuity and the outsourcing of material functions, and reporting structures, such as the prevention of money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism. We also advise banks and trust companies on the extent to which the conduct of their affairs is in compliance with all other Bahamian legal requirements.

Securities Business

Bahamian law requires that anyone interested in carrying on a securities business in or from within The Bahamas must be licensed with the Securities Commission of The Bahamas.

We advise a diverse range of clients, including broker-dealers, investment advisers and managers, on the minimum regulatory and financial requirements to satisfy the criteria for registration with the Securities Commission of The Bahamas.

We regularly advise securities business on their continuing operational, prudential and reporting obligations to the Securities Commission. This includes advising clients on corporate governance, the outsourcing of material functions, reporting on material changes, complying with duties to clients, the marketing and offering of products and the prevention of money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism. We also advise foreign institutions engaging in the cross-border provision of securities-related services to clients in The Bahamas.

Share Issuances

Local laws require that no person is allowed to trade in a security on the person’s own account, or on behalf of any other person where the trade would be a distribution of the security in The Bahamas, unless a preliminary prospectus and a prospectus have been filed with the Securities Commission. To this end, we advise both domestic and international issuers on share issuances. We also review and amend issuers’ prospectus or other offering documents to be used in connection with a distribution of securities in The Bahamas.

Insurance Providers

We advise clients on the requirements for forming and licensing insurance and reinsurance companies, as local laws and regulations provide that only corporate bodies that are registered as insurers may carry on insurance business in The Bahamas.

The regulation, inspection and supervision of insurance providers fall within the authority of the Insurance Commission of The Bahamas. Accordingly, we advise on the minimum qualification requirements for officers and directors, the capital and surplus requirements, the requirements with respect to reserves, the requirements with respect to insurance products offered for sale, and the additional licenses and authorisations needed after approval from the Insurance Commission has been obtained.

We also advise insurance providers on sound and prudent insurance management and business practices, in addition to compliance with the provisions of the anti-money laundering legislation of The Bahamas.

Investment Fund Administrators

We advise on the requirements to hold an investment fund administrator’s license to anyone looking to carry on business as an investment fund administrator in or from The Bahamas.

Our advice includes financial requirements, qualifications of directors, the provision of a principal office, annual fees and all other requirements as prescribed by the Securities Commission of The Bahamas.

We also advise on the operations and administrative affairs of an investment fund, including the accounting, valuation or reporting services. Additionally, we advise on the extent to which the operations of an investment fund are carried out in accordance with the investment fund’s offering memorandum, constitutive documents and the local laws and regulations.

Financial and Corporate Service Providers

We advise on the licensing requirements for the provision of financial and corporate services for profit or reward in or from within The Bahamas. For the avoidance of doubt, local laws and regulations have adopted the definition of financial services as laid down by the World Trade Organization (WTO), which includes money broking, lending of all types and related services.

We also advise on the registration, management and administration of international business companies and the provision of registered agent services and registered office services for companies and partnerships. Moreover, we advise on all compliance measures for all licences, which includes matters related to due diligence, professional conduct and client confidentiality.

Financial Services Advisory

We advise on the statutes and regulations governing financial services providers, including their structure and guidance and the products and services provided.

As many of our practitioners have extensive experience in the financial services sector, we advise on loan agreements across jurisdictions, mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, investigations and financial services related litigation between companies.

We also advise on any legal, supervisory, compliance, operational and reputational risk inherent in any policy or practice of financial services providers. In so doing, we simultaneously provide recommendations of policies, procedures, systems and controls which can be implemented to eventually eradicate those risks.

Financial Products and Instruments

We advise financial institutions, bank and trust companies, broker-dealers, investment fund administrators, government ministries, insurance providers and financial and corporate service providers on all financial products and instruments which seek to be operated in or from within The Bahamas.

This includes securities underwriting and dealing, brokerage, investment funds, lending, credit, debit and other card operations, insurance, pensions and investment management activities. The range of our advice also includes any marketing and selling restrictions of financial products and instruments within The Bahamas, where applicable.

We also act as a sounding board for all financial institutions interested in developing new and innovative financial products and instruments, bearing in mind any corporate and securities law issues which may arise.