Alvaro Tomas, partner at Morgan & Morgan, explains how the Bahamas helped their group of companies grow as a financial and corporate services provider.
Tomas recalls their board of directors foresight in choosing the Bahamas in the mid-90s as they now reap the successes from that decision. Comfortable with the safety and friendly business atmosphere that the jurisdiction offers, the MMG is in the midst of relaunching their SMART fund services.
“Morgan & Morgan opened its first offices in the Bahamas in 1991 with what is now MMG (Bahamas) Ltd. as a corporate service provider. Later on, in 1996, we founded our first banking institution currently bearing the name MMG Bank & Trust Ltd., which started our financial unit´s successful path into the banking industry.
Our board of directors decided in the 1990s that the Bahamas was going to be one of our prominent jurisdictions because this sovereign country had become a well-recognized and reputable international financial center, with a modern and robust legislation, governmental supervision oriented towards facilitating business ventures and has an enviable workforce of seasoned and educated professionals. Time has proven us right. Apart from the great weather and gorgeous waters, the fact that we can fly directly several times a week to Nassau, from our headquarters located in Panama City, is also a big reason we feel comfortable with this jurisdiction.
We have seen its democratically elected governments navigate successfully through the tough times that smaller international financial centers have had to deal with given the “shame and blame” attitude of certain multinational organizations and European countries. The Bahamas has been wise and steadfast in their positions and negotiations, fully aware of the negative impact on the financial services industry as a whole a wrong decision might have. We value that at MM.
However, the question remains: Why do we offer services and products to our clients from the Bahamas? For a myriad of good reasons. The people of the Bahamas and the professionalism of its labour force is a main reason. That the Bahamian government has always been investor friendly and has created a series of incentives that make the islands a good venue for a variety of industries such as tourism, financial services, corporate services, insurance, marinas and real estate, among others. The friendly tax environment that includes no income tax, no capital gains tax, no estate tax, no withholding tax, no dividend tax, but for a Value Added Tax of 7.5% on some goods and services, are appreciated by our cost-conscious clients.
We have also seen the creativity and the willingness to fill the international financial market´s needs in the attitude and response of the regulators. What better example of this than the creation of the SMART Fund legislation. In these times of fiscal compliancy and of the international effort to exchange information, clients are happy to mitigate their tax burden. Therefore, cost efficient vehicles, that protect assets, help with estate planning and reduce the effective tax rate will always be well viewed by our clients.
We are happy to say that we envision doing business in the Bahamas for many more years and thank and congratulate the Bahamas Financial Services Board on its 20th anniversary.”