Following the first International Conference of Banking Supervisors held in London in 1979, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision decided that there would be virtue in initiating a meeting of banking supervisors representing smaller overseas centres 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, through which loans were booked, were not subject to a sufficient standard of supervision.
The OGBS was formed in October 1980, at the instigation of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, 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 when representatives of a number of centres 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 Basel Committee on Banking Supervision the Group has since developed into a body which has represented the interests of member jurisdictions on the whole range of banking supervision matters, AML/CFT issues, 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 attending meetings of the FATF. It is also a member of the FSB Regional Consultative Group for Europe, and a member of the Basel Consultative Group.
In 2002 the Group published a best practices paper on the Regulation of Trust and Company Service Providers. 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 assessments of members’ compliance against the Standard, and meetings of colleges of supervisors on an as-needed basis.
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, and this has been widely welcomed.
Nowadays the Group participates principally in initiatives with the FATF, Basel Committee and Financial Stability Board and IOSCO. Many members are also full signatories of the IOSCO MMOU, and a number contribute to IOSCO working groups.