Financial Services Authority
Function & Role
The Financial Services Authority was established on November 22, 2011 by an Act of Parliament, the Financial Services Authority Act, which established a single regulatory unit with the responsibility of regulating certain entities and businesses in the financial sector and provides for regulated matters.
The Financial Services Authority was created by Parliament to institute a new system to manage, direct control and supervise the international financial services industry and domestic non-bank institutions in this country.
This new entity brought together three distinct regulatory bodies namely the International Financial Services Authority (IFSA), the Co-operatives Division of the Ministry of National Mobilization, Social Development et al and the Supervisory and Regulatory Division within the Ministry of Finance. This amalgam has yielded significant benefits by streamlining functions, consolidating resources and optimizing efficiencies.
Its role is clearly defined by Financial Services Authority Act, No.33 of 2011. The business of The Authority is under the direction of a board of directors. The mandate of the FSA derives from its legal objects and purpose. Clearly defined in the Financial Services Authority Act, No. 33 of 2011, the FSA is empowered “to regulate, supervise and develop the non-bank financial services sector in St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.
The FSA is responsible to the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the administration and enforcement of those enactments specified under its governing legislation. As part of its mandate therefore, the FSA is charged with ensuring compliance with the FSA Act and other specified enactments, regulations or guidelines. It is also responsible for ensuring that each licensed financial entity is properly managed and remains financially sound. The FSA therefore has the powers to intervene into the affairs of a regulated entity for the purpose of protecting customers.
The FSA offers efficient and professional service to the IFS and non-banking financial services sectors. Incorporations of international business companies, limited liability companies and international trust registrations can be completed within one business day. All international business transactions are conducted through the services of a ‘Registered Agent & Trustee’. The Registered Agents & Trustees are licensed and regulated by the Authority under a regime set out by the Registered Agent Trustee (Licensing) Act, Chapter 105 of the Revised Laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines 2009.
The FSA also aims to be proactive in providing timely and reliable information on international initiatives which impact the financial services sector. The Authority serves as the designated Representative of the Minister of Finance on various international initiatives, including the OECD.
The FSA’s mandate is to supervise and regulate the operations of specified non-bank financial entities, and to promote stability, public awareness and public confidence in the operations of these licensed operators. The FSA adopts a risk based supervisory approach to ensure that institutions falling under its oversight are well supervised and that threats and risks are identified and addressed in a timely manner.
The FSA also utilizes internationally acceptable prudential standards to assess the condition and financial soundness of institutions which it supervises (IFRS, CAMELS, PEARLS. BASEL I and some components of BASEL II, IACS-ICPs).
The FSA is concerned with building financial stability is to ensure that institutions are well-supervised and that emerging threats and risks are identified and acted upon in a timely and effective manner. A stable financial system is key to achieving other statutory objectives of maintaining market confidence, protecting consumers and reducing financial crime.
The FSA regularly engages in the on-going monitoring of an institution’s financial and operational condition with the objective of ensuring that these institutions comply with the minimum prudential requirements stipulated by the respective legislations. These functions are carried out mainly through off-site surveillance and on-site examinations. The off-site supervision process is done through submitted regulatory reports and financial statements as well as periodic trend analysis of selected ratios.
The on-site inspection involves assessing the qualitative risks that cannot be assessed offsite. On-site assessment aims at verifying the compliance with the requisite laws and regulations. It is the cornerstone of the supervisory process and involves the evaluation of an institution’s corporate governance through interviews with management, inspecting the written policies and procedures of the institution and the degree to which those written policies and procedures are followed, evaluating whether the institution’s financial statements accurately show the profitability and capital, checking the accuracy of accounting records, evaluating the adequacy of internal controls and the audit function as well as looking at investments and the risk appetite of the company.
On-site and Offsite supervision are mutually reinforcing and are designed to rapidly identify and diagnose emerging problems in individual institutions with a view to prescribing the most efficient resolution directed towards ensuring continued public confidence in the financial system.
The FSA receives technical support and/or is a member of the following:
- ECCB and other regional and international regulators;
- Commonwealth Secretariat
- World Bank
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors, which is responsible for the overall coordination and strategic direction of the FSA, is comprised of experienced individuals in wide ranging fields of expertise, such as Finance, Accounting, Law and Insurance. The Board composition is as follows:
- Leon Snagg – Chairman
- Alma Dougan – Deputy Chair
- Stewart Haynes – Actuary & Executive Director, National Insurance Services
- Edmond Jackson – Director General, Finance and Planning
- Karen Duncan, Senior Crown Counsel, Attorney General Chambers
- Sharda Sinanan-Bollers – Executive Director, FSA
- Elritha Dick – Resident Representative, ECCB
- Hubert Dasilva – Director
- Deidre Adams – Board Secretary, Budget Officer II, Finance and Planning
The FSA is headed by the Executive Director. The day-to-day business of the administration and management, together with the supervisory duties of the FSA, fall within this portfolio.
The statutory duties of the Executive Director are outlined in the Financial Services Authority Act, The Registered Agent and Trustee Licensing Act, the International Business Companies Act, the International Banks Act, the International Trusts Act, the Mutual Funds Act, and the International Insurance Act.
The management of the FSA is comprised of the following:
- Sharda Sinanan-Bollers – Executive Director
- Augustin Powers – Deputy Executive Director
- Dionne Harry-George – Manager, Finance and Administration
- Karen Jackson – Manager, International Financial Services
- Mintrue Rose-Providence – Manager, Insurances
- Nyasha Browne – Manager, Credit Unions, Building Society and Money Remittances
Organizational Structure of the FSA
The organizational structure of the FSA consists of the Board of Directors at the top, followed by the Executive Director, then the Deputy Executive Director and the divisional managers on the fourth tier.
FSA is appropriately resourced and staffed with a cadre of skilled and trained professionals.
The functional areas of the Authority are as follows:
- Credit Unions, Money Services, Friendly Societies & Building Societies Supervision
- International Financial Services, Mutual Funds Supervision
- Domestic & International Insurance &Pension Fund Supervision
- Finance & Administration
Each technical department implement programmes and policies aimed at ensuring compliance through surveillance, supervision and inspection of regulated entities in line with regulatory requirements and the chosen model of supervision.
The departments are as depicted in the chart below:
The Legal Department of the FSA is responsible for providing relevant legal advice to the Authority and the public and the
development and maintenance of appropriate legislative and regulatory framework informed by Government policy, supervisory and enforcement work, market changes and international initiatives and best practices.