The Financial Markets Association of Vanuatu:
Supporting a responsible financial services industry in the island nation
PORT VILA, VANUATU, November 13, 2020 – Vanuatu may not be easy to pinpoint on a map, but today the island nation in the Southern Pacific Ocean made a landmark commitment with the launch of the Financial Markets Association of Vanuatu (FMA Vanuatu).
This new non-profit organization, founded by six Registered Agents from the Republic of Vanuatu’s Financial Dealer License (FDL) program, is a self-regulating body for FDL holders who operate digital platforms for trading financial instruments and securities online. FMA Vanuatu’s stated mission is “to develop, implement and enforce the highest professional standards in order to protect our industry from financial crime, earn the trust of our partners and customers, and contribute to Vanuatu’s prosperity in the long term.”
The six founding Registered FDL Agents are all long-standing members of the Financial Centre Association of Vanuatu and based in the capital city of Port Vila: AJC, Barrett & Partners, Company Services Ltd., iCount, Law Partners and Moores Rowland. Together, they represent the majority of the more than 100 financial dealers currently licensed by the island nation, located 1,750 kilometres east of northern Australia.
Aligning with global standards
Established in 2016, the FDL program is supervised by the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission (VFSC) and operating within a new regulatory framework designed to align the jurisdiction with global standards, based upon the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
In addition to helping its members comply with the more stringent standards, FMA Vanuatu will develop a disciplinary committee of peers and regulators to mediate complaints and implement sanctions.
“We can’t let a few bad actors ruin our industry’s reputation,” said Martin St-Hilaire, Managing Director at AJC, one of the founding organizations. “They make it even harder for our members to attract clients and grow their business. Our new association will add a line of defense, strengthen our industry’s ability to compete and signal our commitment to being a responsible player in world financial markets.”
A voice for the industry
FMA Vanuatu will also give its members a unified voice to converse with governments and regulators, media organizations and the general public, here and abroad. Indeed, Vanuatu already has cause to voice its concerns. The European Commission recently added the nation to a watchlist, impeding its financial dealings with Union members. And this despite the fact that Vanuatu was given an all-clear in 2019 after an on-site review by the FATF.
“The financial sector is one of the few in which Vanuatu can grow its service industry,” added St-Hilaire. “FMA Vanuatu will strive to attract more foreign direct investment. It’s critical to the ongoing health of our economy and the well-being of our people. This is especially true at a time when the coronavirus has decimated our tourism industry for the foreseeable future.”
For any question please write to contact [at] fma [dot] vu
Pictured above: The founding members of FMA Vanuatu on the rooftop of our new office in Port Vila. Left to right: Roy McDonald (Company Services Limited – digitally added using photo editing software), Sharon Vuti (Moores Rowland), Margaux Carel (AJC), Martin St-Hilaire (AJC), Mathilde Auger (Law Partners), Preyanka Philip (iCount), Daniel Agius (iCount), Mark Stafford (Barrett & Partners), Jonathan Law (Law Partners).