The nation continues to compete successfully in the two largest global industries - tourism and financial services. With a Gross Domestic Product of $6 billion, it maintains the third highest per capital income ($20,000+) among the independent states in the Western Hemisphere, following the United States and Canada.
As a recipient of the Best International Financial Centre in the Western Hemisphere awarded from the Financial Times Group publication, The Banker, The Bahamas has been acknowledged among International Financial Centers that offer banks and financial institutions the best locations and infrastructure to carry out their business and serve their clients.
The financial sector contributes over 20% to GDP, with annual expenditures in the local economy of the banking sector alone exceeding $470 million, assets at roughly $350 billion and with sizeable assets under management. There are approximately 70 insurance companies (not including brokers and agents), with assets approaching $700 million. The 720 plus Funds have assets under management totaling in excess of $205 billion. The Bahamas Ship Registry is one of the world's most prestigious and is currently ranked as the third largest ship registry in the world, with merchant ships representing some 42 million gross tons.
The Bahamas offers a full range of financial services and products including, asset management and protection, commercial banking, brokerage services, company formation and administration, information technology services, insurance and support services, investment management, fund administration, private banking, maritime registry and support services; support services (back office), and trust services.
The Bahamas has a large skilled labour pool - well educated and committed to professional development, and driven to perform. This environment is founded on the commitment by The Bahamas to the development of its human resources, demonstrated in large part by the significant portion of the National Budget allocated to education. The Government maintains a flexible immigration policy suited to the needs of international firms and international business.
A particular advantage to ongoing industry growth is the Government's commitment to development of the industry, and steps taken to position The Bahamas as a well regulated, responsible international financial centre. The Government is committed to ensuring the integrity of the financial services system and to keeping The Bahamas on the competitive edge. In The Bahamas, there is also a unique relationship between the Government and the private sector.
Just recently, Standard & Poor's (S & P) Ratings Services announced that it has revised its outlook on its long-tem sovereign credit rating on the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to positive from stable. S & P also confirmed its 'A' long and 'A-2' short-term sovereign credit ratings on The Bahamas.