Photo above: St. Lucia Prime Minister, Dr. Kenny D. Anthony (second from left) seen with Petrus Bank CEO, Jean Francois Ruel (left) and other officials.
CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Feb. 18, 2016 (CMC) – St Lucia’s burgeoning international financial sector received a further boost on Wednesday, with the opening of Petrus Private Bank, the 15th licensed international bank operating from St Lucia.
Addressing an official opening ceremony, Prime Minister Kenny Anthony thanked the Bank’s leadership for choosing St Lucia over jurisdictions, including The Bahamas, Barbados, and Switzerland, noting their stated ambition “to become the Caribbean bank of choice for individuals who seek a financial institution that can relate to their motives, aspirations and needs.”
The Prime Minister spoke to the complex international regulatory environment that governs the offshore financial sector, and outlined the steps the government of St Lucia has taken, over the past four years, in particular “to avoid being blacklisted and to remain attractive and competitive.”
“The Financial Services Regulatory Authority, the Financial Intelligence Authority, the professional services industry, the Ministry of Finance and Central Government continue to working relentlessly and assiduously in developing St Lucia as a truly global financial centre, on par with the major international players.”
He emphasized that all who are engaged in the industry must be bold, imaginative, and innovate. According to the Prime Minister, “I believe we all accept that times have changed. I marvel every day at the rate that financial products and services are undergoing change. If we want to survive in this new environment, we will need to be bold and imaginative.
“While we are required to obey regulatory requirements, it is imperative that we do not become so consumed with our regulatory commitments, that we lose our ability to innovate and create new products for the financial marketplace.
“Innovation remains a key to our survival. We are no longer competing with our own in the region but with the entire world.”
The Prime Minister thanked the principals of the bank for making St Lucia the jurisdiction of choice.
“I am pleased to welcome Petrus Private Bank Limited to our shores. I thank its principals for choosing St Lucia as its base to conduct business. Your presence and operations will add value to our economy.
“This decision is another statement of confidence in the integrity of our country, our economy and its future. We will do our utmost to justify the faith and confidence you have placed in our country and our people.”
St Lucia is signatory to, or compliant with, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, the Financial Action Task Force, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Cooperative Regulatory Group, and the United States Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, among others.
The island’s international financial sector is governed by the international financial services laws and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority Act (FSRA) of 2011, which gave birth to the FSRA.