15 Oct 2003

The Cook Islands introduces new offshore banking regulations

5:29 pm on 15 October 2003

New regulations are to be introduced in the Cook Islands to control the operation of offshore banks.

The Financial Supervisory Commissioner, Rose-Marie Olaso, says a letter has been sent to the 16 shell banks currently operating and some have already said they won't be renewing their licenses.

She says others have indicated they will wait to see what the new requirements are before making a decision.

Ms Olaso says the regulations will be in line with international standards.

"By year end, we're planning to come up with Pacific regulations to implement the Banking Act. We will have to come up with ratios on capital, minimum capital and some prudential guidelines that will set limits on loans, a single bar limit. This involves concentration of loans to any given person, loans to officers and directors and the rest of the prudential regulations."

Rose-Marie Olaso.

The Cook Islands remains on a list of non-co-operative countries associated with money laundering although Ms Olaso says they're continuing to work on meeting the requirements to be taken off it.