Following the first International Conference of Banking Supervisors held in London in 1979, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) decided that there would be a virtue in initiating a meeting of banking supervisors representing smaller overseas jurisdictions such as ourselves.
The end of the 1970s had seen considerable expansion of international loan activity with many loans being booked overseas for tax reasons. The Basel Committee member countries were concerned that the banks for which they were responsible were at risk because it was feared their subsidiaries or branches in such centres were not subject to a sufficient standard of supervision.
The Offshore Group of Banking Supervisors was subsequently formed, at the instigation of the BCBS, as an association of the relevant authorities concerned with the supervision of banks and related financial services primarily engaged in cross-border activities. The first meeting of the Group was held in Basel where representatives of a number of relevant jurisdictions met with members of the Basel Committee. The proposal to form a Group was welcomed by all concerned.
While maintaining a close working relationship with the BCBS the Group has since developed into a body representing the interests of member jurisdictions in banking supervision, AML/CFT practices, supervision of funds and securities activities, and the regulation of trust and company service providers (TCSPs).
In the mid-1990's the Group became an Observer body of the FATF. It is a member of the FSB Regional Consultative Group for Europe, and a member of the Basel Consultative Group.
Building on the significant experience of GIFCS members with licensing and regulating TCSPs, a new Standard for the Regulation of TCSPs was issued in October 2014. That Standard has now developed into a full regime embracing a Multi-Lateral Memorandum of Understanding, peer group evaluations of members’ compliance with the Standard, and meetings of colleges of supervisors to co-ordinate supervisory approaches towards TCSP groups.
In March 2011 the Group decided better to reflect the scope of its activities through a change in its name to the Group of International Finance Centre Supervisors.
Today the Group participates principally in initiatives with the BCBS, FATF, Financial Stability Board and IOSCO. Most GIFCS members are full signatories of the IOSCO MMOU, and a number participate directly in IOSCO working groups.