The newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of the FSA, Mr. Damien Thesée, the Deputy CEO, Ms. Zenabe Daman and other representatives of the FSA held a virtual meeting with the vice-chairperson of the Seychelles International Financial Services Association (SIFSA), Mrs. Tatiana Balabanova on the 13th May, 2021. The invitation was extended to Mrs. Balabanova to be introduced and to give her the opportunity to raise and discuss, with the new management, the key challenges currently being faced by the CSPs. SIFSA is an independent organization representing voluntary members of Corporate Service Providers and Trustees (CSPs) operating in the Seychelles.
Mr. Thesée expressed the need to transform the authority to ensure it places focus on its primary role as a regulator, whilst also ensuring that the sector continues to thrives. Whilst the Authority has been more reactive previously in regards to its regulatory mandate, it is now important that we ensure we mitigate such risks that is associated with the financial sector.
In addition, the new CEO advised that the Authority is currently engaged in reviewing certain of its financial services products, as well as working on its strategic plan, which it will engage with the Industry to share their contributions.
Some of the pertinent issues raised were in regards to the industry’s effective compliance with the ever-ending changes in the legal landscape such as amendments under the Beneficial Ownership Act and the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act. It was highlighted that members of the industry, especially the smaller CSPs, have expressed major concerns as a result of not having the adequate resources to keep up with the ever-changing requirements. This is especially important now in view that the most efficient system requires IT intervention and there is a lack of human capacity in that area.
Concerns regarding the introduction of new products was raised by Mrs. Balabanova. It was pointed out that, despite having a work plan put in place 3 years back by the FSA Products and Legislation Committee (a committee set up by the FSA comprising of private sector representatives to assist in the development of the financial services industry in the Seychelles), which included the development of new products, the Authority had been preoccupied with other priority matters such as those concerning the OECD standards, EU standard and FATF standard. The Authority acknowledged that although it is of paramount importance to change existing laws it is equally important to develop new products, and therefore agreed to allocate more resources in that regard.
Mrs. Balabanova also stated that the industry welcomes the consultation process set forth by the Authority but that it needs to be improved in terms of putting in place a more formal structure and clear processes to make it more efficient and effective for quality results.
Another area where the industry feels that the Authority can improve its efficiency is in providing timely responses to licensees regarding its position on certain legal matters.
Overall, the matters raised were well received and the new CEO reassured Mrs. Balabanova of the Authority’s continued support and engagement with the industry as they work towards the most effective solutions to meet the industry’s needs.
As part of its function as the Regulator for non-bank financial services, the FSA is committed to maintain contact and develop good relations with industry partners and stakeholders for the effective regulation and development of the sector.