Solicitors governing body: The Bahamas Bar Association
Financial regulator: The Central Bank of The Bahamas
IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:
The Bahamas is a tax haven, with no income or corporate tax and only a slight levy on payrolls, and its legal system is based on English common law. The Securities Commission of the Bahamas has trained employees, with help from the US Securities and Exchange Commission, in the detection of financial crimes. For all these reasons, The Bahamas is considered a good place for companies, banks, and funds to undertake financings and corporate transactions.
The jurisdiction has a flourishing offshore banking sector and a small number of sophisticated law firms specialising in banking, corporate, commercial, funds, and regulatory matters. Although the Bahamas is geographically large, encompassing over 700 islands, its professional services and sectors are highly integrated.
The country is on the threshold of regulatory changes whose ramifications are hard to exaggerate. The implementation of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) in 2018 means that The Bahamas will no longer provide financial data to partner jurisdictions upon request, as it has done under Tax Information Exchange Agreements, but will do so automatically.
One of the premier firms in the Bahamas, Graham Thompson has strengths in M&A and capital markets work.
In the M&A space, one recent highlight from the firm came from its role advising the purchasers on the acquisition of a mixed-use resort in the Bahamas.
Meanwhile, one standout deal involving capital markets that the firm handled was a notes offering by a luxury cruise company. The proceeds are being used to refinance existing debt.
Higgs & Johnson has significant expertise in the real estate, shipping and insurance industries. The firm particularly adept at M&A and financing transactions.
The firm handled a number of interesting deals over the course of the research period, but every deal from that time span still remains confidential.
The firm added Ximena Thompson as counsel from Fred Gottlieb & Co.
"Very user-friendly and commercial. Used to dealing with international work." - M&A
"The lawyers at the firm have provided and continue to provide excellent service. Their response times have been great and they meet all of our legal needs." - Regulatory
Tara Cooper Burnside
"She is an extremely competent lawyer and provides exceptional customer service, always."
Lennox Paton has high capabilities in financing and capital markets transactions.
The firm advised lenders on multiple significant financing deals during the research period, including a couple for the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC). In one standout transaction, the firm represented IIC on a to APD. APD is using the proceeds to fund the installation of a solar energy rooftop system at APD’s main building at Nassau port.
"Ten years of handling matters successfully in very complicated environments is the best way to summarize my level of satisfaction with the firm." - Investment funds, restructuring and insolvency
McKinney Bancroft & Hughes stands out for its banking, M&A and investment funds expertise.
During the research period the firm worked in a variety of industries, including energy, food and beverage and banking.
In one highlight, the firm advised Emera on its transition to a private company, the first-ever such transition for a company in the Bahamas.
"Highly efficient. Solid understanding of local environment and how to navigate regulatory issues." - Banking, regulatory
"Reliability, full and responsible service, understanding of customer needs, effective contact at any time. Proposed solutions are not only correct but also take into account the client's good professional team." - Regulatory, restructuring and insolvency
"Very well-connected and practical advice."
Gloria Forbes & Richard Lightbourn
"Richard Lightbourn and Gloria Forbes are reliable, timely and rational."
"Gia Sands is a very strong associate."
"Highly efficient and knowledgeable of local market. Very prompt in addressing issues raised."
"Openness, extensive industry knowledge, understanding of the client's needs and situation."
"A highly experienced trust lawyer within the Bahamas who has an international outlook - able to provide a practical common sense approach to issues. Highly recommended."