21 Jul 2003

Cook Islands government sets up new offshore finance watchdog

10:19 am on 21 July 2003

The Cook Islands government has set up a new commission which will police banks, trust companies and insurance firms.

The Financial Services Commission incorporates the work of the Offshore Financial Service.

The Chair of the Financial Services Commission, Trevor Clarke, says the new body will improve supervision of the industry but will remain outside the sphere of government and politics.

He says the goal of the commission is not to gain FATF approval but to regulate and supervise the industry to internationally acceptable standards.

Mr Clarke says it is the government's responsibility to deal with the blacklist.

The Commission will have the power to impose penalties on companies that do not comply with its criteria, with the most severe penalty being the loss of a license to operate in the Cook Islands.